In Summary

GET BUSY. The school holidays are upon us. The thought of weeks of children hanging around the house looking for something to do, requires parents to be very resourceful. highlights tips to keep the young ones busy .

This is the time of the year most school going children have their longest holiday. What to occupy most of them is a question most parents could be puzzled with. Children being idle in their holiday can be messy as some could end up in bad groups especially those living in urban areas.
For holidays to be free from any kind of problems, parents have to keep their children active. Some parents share what activities can help a parent keep their children busy during this holiday.

Travelling is fun and worth experiencing. Henry Nsubuga, Makerere University’s director of counselling centre and a father of four, believes that this can help children’s minds remain active which in the long run would help them avoid any kind of misfortune during the holiday. He advises parents to first establish the safety and precautions for any place. “Some places may not be child friendly for example, some game parks do not allow children below 10 years,” he says.

Paint and mold
Not every child can paint and Sarah Mwaka, a mother of two, says a parent should first gauge a child’s interest. “Some children might want to draw but not add colour to their work. So, first hand them crayons and ask them to colour a favourite character,” Mwaka says. If they pay attention and do as instructed, that could be a hook and you know that they enjoy paining.
Molding too can help train a child into being creative. A parent however has to come up with precautionary measures if their children are to mold. One of them, according to Mwaka, includes getting a particular space at home for them to mold from, making sure that the gazetted place is free from objects likely to harm them.

Do some music
Parents can also take their children to music school. This can help them gain skills like singing and playing instruments. However, a parent can also buy an instrument or two and let the children learn playing it from home with their siblings or friends. Emmanuel Ssentaba, a music instructor at Holiday Music School explains that if one cannot afford music school, they can hire a music instructor to help the child learn from home.

Cooking and baking
Once a week, plan a cooking or baking day. Involve the children in the process from the beginning, let them choose from a selection of recipes that you have ingredients for. If the child can read, get them to read from the recipe book. Step by step, help them to work through the instructions. Avoid the temptation of doing it yourself.

Visit the local library regularly. In some libraries you can get movies and music. Make a day out of it. Do some reading while you are there instead of getting some books and heading home. “Give your children a love of books — it is one of the best gifts you can give them,” says Peter Kangaho, a father of two.

Visit friends and family
Henry Nsubuga, a father of two, recommends taking children to visit their relatives who are not in the neighbourhood or even arrange a play dat at friend’s house. This, Nsubuga says will make their bonding skills better. “However, do it in moderation because some families have activities set out for particular days,” Nsubuga says. Or else you will be treated as an inconvenience.

In this era of do it yourself, most parents have made backyard gardens at home.You can get the children to take part by say, scooping the soil or tearing the seed packs as you show them how to plant. “My four-year-old has a new routine of watering the flower bed twice a day. She wakes up and dashes for her gumboots, picks the watering can (a small old jerrycan with multiple holes) which she fills with water before going to bed and hums while enjoying her thing,” say Martha Byenkya, a mother of two. I keenly supervise her and make sure she does not end up with injuries. She believes gardening is suitable for children below 14 years.

Go with them to children’s events
Today, there a number of children events ranging from marathons to drama productions. This, he says, can help children make new friends and get fit.
With all that activity planned, make sure you plan some days where you just relax, watch some movies, read some books, and take it easy.

Organise play dates
Plan some play dates and invite friends over. While they spend time with their friends it may give you the opportunity to get some work done and perhaps even connect with other parents. Plus…the invite may be returned someday.