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Parenting Matters: A practice vacation
Spring break is over so was it worthwhile? Think about it. You had a practice vacation to let you know what it is going to be like when summer is here and your children are home for an extended period of time. So think about whether this last week was a good one, a worthwhile one, and one that you and your child benefitted from.
Did you let your child spend most of his free time watching television? This regular baby sitter for many parents can be a fall back plan for too many parents. He may learn something by doing just watching television or just playing with games on the computer, but not as much as he learns by being actively involved in other things. Think about recommendations from pediatricians and health professionals that say two hours of screen time each day should be the maximum.
If you read a book together each day about something he enjoys, his life is better. If you took him to the library to find a book he would enjoy, you added to his life. If you talked with her about what you were doing and she learned new words or new way to do something, her life is better. If he heard a story from his grandfather about what school was like when he was little, he learned something. If she helped you clean up the yard and felt good about what she did, that too is a lesson. Even if either of them ran around the track a certain number of times and they felt good about that it improved their lives just a bit more.
Fill the vacant hours of your child’s life with things that make for a good life. You can go a museum or the marina. Even a trip to tribal center of one of our local Native American tribes would be a great learning experience. The important thing is to provide rich learning in your child’s life or to help him provide the learning. Maybe the lesson he needs is how to be a good friend so maybe he should have someone new come over to play.
The goal is not for you to simply entertain your child during each vacation. The goal is to make sure that your child’s vacations are filled with the experiences that encourage growth.
Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and director of Parenting Matters Foundation. Reach Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 681-2250.