Keeping Your Child Active During the Holidays
Date Posted:19 December 2019
Children go through learning loss when they are not physically and mentally active — i.e. losing the skills they learned during the school year.1
Furthermore, there are no set schedules during the holiday and you might find it challenging to redirect your child’s high energy elsewhere. The holidays are long and it can be difficult to think of fun, new ideas to spend time with the family while making sure your child retains the skills they have acquired.
But not to worry! Here are 5 ideas you can use to help plan a fun-filled summer holiday for you and your little ones:
1. Family Bonding Activities
Family bonding happens naturally when both you and your child are actively engaged in an activity. There are 4 key elements to building a good family relationship — quality time, communication, teamwork, and appreciation.2
A strong, bonded family can solve problems and resolve conflicts easily. It will make your child feel secure, loved, and confident in their life. It will give them the skills they need to build healthy relationships of their own. You will also be able to better understand your child and their personality.
These activities don’t have to be big or fancy – it can be as simple as having a meal as a family, organising family game nights, or going to the museum. Creating art and reading stories as a family can also encourage your child to get creative while spending quality time together. Listening when your child is talking and being actively engaged in the conversation will further maintain the bond.
2. Sporting and Adventure
Physical activities are important for both adults and children to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Encouraging your child to engage in some sort of physical activity from an early age will help them to stay active even in the later years of their life.
Regular exercise encourages healthy growth and development, strong muscles and bones, a well-maintained posture, and high self-esteem in children.3 Use the perfect summer weather to get your child out of the house and engage in some outdoor physical activities!
This is the best time to organise a beach day with the family. Do some water sports, go trekking, or play beach volleyball! Take your kids to Ninja Warrior School, or go for a round of mini-golf! Staying physically active will not only keep your child healthy and happy, but also allow you to bond with them.
3. Nature Experience
With easy access to child-centred entertainment online, more and more kids are spending less time outside playing in nature. This can have a huge impact on their health and development. Nature historian, Stephen Moss, said that “nature is a tool to get children to experience not just the wider world, but themselves.” Free and unstructured outdoor play stimulates and improves a variety of skills that are important in life; these include problem-solving skills, focus, self-awareness, and self-discipline.4
Children are naturally fascinated by the outdoors and nature. It will not be difficult getting your child out the door and to a local zoo or park. Try geocaching — a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting adventure with a GPS-enabled device (i.e. your smartphone) — or go camping with your family.
Let your child explore the world through their own eyes and real-life experiences instead of watching nature through a screen.
4. Help them find their Hobbies
The summer holidays are a great time to let your kid try out different activities to help them discover something that they truly enjoy doing. Hobbies are expressions of personal accomplishments and self-discovery, and can help build your child’s self-esteem. Use the free time you have during the holidays to find an activity or activities that can mature into a lifelong interest. Who knows, they might even turn it into a career!5
City councils often host free activities for children during the holidays. Check out your local city council’s website to see what is available!
You can also start at home by organising art, singing, dancing, cooking/baking activities with them. You can play with toys to see what kind of games pique their interests, and then sign them up for activities that are related to their interests.
It doesn’t really matter if any given activity sticks with your child or not, by merely participating in some of these activities, your child will develop life skills, social skills, and creativity.
5. Relaxing Days
While it is important to keep your little ones active, it is also crucial to have slow days for you and your child to relax. That’s what the holidays are for! Take a few days to slow things down and recuperate. This is the perfect time to rest and recharge before going back to the hustle and bustle of real-life.
Go for a stroll at your local park or botanical garden. Grab a couple of blankets, some popcorn, and snuggle up on the sofa for a family movie night. Take a nice, long bath, or read a book together.
With these activities, you still get to spend quality time with your child and keep them occupied without over-stimulating yourselves.
There is a need to balance between fun, high-energy activities to keep your child engaged and low-energy, relaxing activities to help both you and your child recharge. Finding that balance is a challenge that all parents deal with!
I know we’ve given you a lot of ideas and suggestions, but our key message for this summer is to take this opportunity to build and maintain a strong relationship with your child. Holidays can be stressful for parents, but this list can help inspire some ideas to plan a fun-filled summer for you and your family!
- Attard, C. (2018). Educational activities for the summer break to beat boredom and learning loss. The conversation. (Link)
- Good family relationships: how to build them. (n.d.). Raising children. (Link)
- Get active each day. (n.d.). (Link)
- Henley, J. (2010). Why our children need to get outside and engage with nature. The guardian. (Link)
- Why Kids Need Hobbies. Better Homes and Garden. (Link)