Holidays bring excitement for majority of students because it feels like breaking loose from the bondage of months of studying. And for many, they leave school filled with a lot of plans. Some are excited about watching their favourite TV series, getting to explore social media and going on outing with friends. Some have even planned to enjoy long hours of uninterrupted sleep. Unfortunately, a good number of students are also likely to engage in dangerous activities such as smoking, engaging in risky sexual behaviour, and abusing alcohol, among others.
However, there are plenty of productive ways one can spend this long holiday that can be fun, relaxing, and helpful for their education or career as well. As a student, you may be wondering how to make all this free time fruitful. Here below are a few tips from experts and educators to help you.
Spend time with your family
Gisele Kanyana, a positive parenting activist and founder Urungano Arts Centre, says there is nothing more important than family. As soon as the holiday comes, parents and children should be excited to spend enough time together as a family.
Taking the opportunity to appreciate everyone who cares and loves you is what really matters around this time of the year, she says.
“Take time to chat and bond. Through these conversations parents can learn what has been going on in the lives of their children on the other side. They get to understand their concerns and weaknesses in certain courses and seek together how they can feel the gaps. No matter how tight the schedules of parents can get, they must endeavor to create space for their children. These conversations can happen over lunch, during outdoor exercising or when going for visits,” Kanyana advises.
She adds that long holidays are a great opportunity to check on loved ones. “Especially for those who study in boarding schools, and are dearly missed by their relatives and friends; now is the right time to spend quality time together. “
Engage in sports
Jean claude Bikorimana, a children sports trainer, says holidays are a good opportunity to get moving. Parents should engage their children on daily exercise routine to help them stay fit and detox their bodies for more reproductive learning outcome ahead.
“Some children are talented in sport (football, basketball, athletes, volleyball). They can use the holiday to get in touch with the local academies to get professional training preparing them to be future professionals,” he says.
Explore the great outdoors
Bizimana notes that a holiday can also be an opportunity to get to know new places. Therefore, he says, holidaymakers can take an opportunity to know their country.
“The family may organise a picnic trip at chosen places. It can be the country side, museums, national parks, or water shores, among others. Not only will they get to have fun but also learn new things that will improve their intellectual capacity,” he says.
Involve kids in daily chores
Cecile Nyirambabazi , a mother of five and resident of Masaka Sector in Kigali, notes that learning about different chores should be part of holiday activities to make children understand and be familiar with daily tasks. Through this, children also get to learn new skills that can be useful in one way or another as they grow to become responsible adults.
“As a farmer I take my older children to work with me in the field. They can help in watering plants, weeding and harvesting. The younger ones are left behind to do household tasks. Though they may not enjoy it I know it will be rewarding in the long term as they are trained not to be selective and to value hard work,” she says.
Find a job
Solange Mbabazi, a handicraft maker, advises students to look for job opportunities.
For instance, she says, they can get a casual job in shopping malls or super markets, while those in the countryside can find jobs on construction sites, mining or any other activity.
“Don’t worry too much about what the job will pay. No matter how much you earn it will be useful in the forthcoming school term. You may even surprise your parents by paying the school dues. That job can also be a new learning experience that will enrich your training towards your dream career,” she says.
Internship and voluntary work
Mbabazi adds that those who may find it difficult to get a paying job can ask for an internship placement or seek to offer to do voluntary work in companies related to their dream career. “The best learning experience might just come in the form of an unpaid job or internship. These give you a real-life feel of the specific roles or companies you want to do or work with after school. You’ll also gain the necessary skills and contacts in your field of interest.”
Read a new book
According to book authors and publishers, the long holidays can really make a difference to children’s reading habits. They advise students to take a visit to the nearest book shop or library to buy or borrow a book to read in their pass time.
“Parents should encourage their children to read as many books as possible to boost their reading culture. For very young children parents can read to them age-appropriate books, while for those who can read you can read together as family and discuss the contents of the books covered. Not only will this improve the child’s reading and writing skills but also sharpen their memory and thinking capacities,” says Fiston Mudacumura children’s book publisher.
Learn a new skill, unleash your potential
Steven Mihigo, a teacher at Le Bon Berger Nursery and Primary School in Kigali, says holiday is a perfect time for one to learn something new. It could be photography swimming, cooking, drawing, public speaking, or positive thinking, to name but a few, he says.
“Depending on your area of interest or preferred hobby take time to explore ways to fill the gaps you have. You never know where the new skill you learn will take you in the future. For some people well-nourished hobbies grow up to become the highly paying professional careers,” he says.
Spare time for revision
Mihigo says the holiday is not exclusively meant for extra school activities.
He says, the brains act just like muscles, and need regular exercise to keep working at their best.
“Doing low level study throughout the break allows students to keep their brain active and helps stay accustomed to working on concepts, meaning when they return to school, they’ll be able to pick up where they left off with ease.
“Now is also their chance to extend their knowledge in the subjects they’re truly interested in. Students educating themselves outside of the core subjects they learn at school is a fantastic way to train themselves about new and bigger contexts,” he adds.
Mihigo also suggests that holidays can be utilised to focus on some harder concepts and topics to get ready to confidently face the next school year. Parents should remember to make the kids understand the value of holiday revision rather than making it the usual nagging session.
Parents should know that their children are on holiday just like their mates. So, it’s essential to encourage them to enjoy time outdoors socialising with friends, as well as taking time to engage in group study. Besides, the study session can be followed by a movie or two and some other fun activities to keep them occupied.