I don’t really remember how I felt as a child during the summer holidays. I know my Mum always tried to fit in fun activities to keep us entertained and we would have a holiday but as a young child, those memories of how I felt have all gone. So, as a first time Mum this is my first experience of having a child off school, well pre-school, for the holidays. I had visions of fun, days out, the beach and it being like when he was 1 and 2 when we spent all of our time together. What I didn’t bank on was how much he has changed. It’s funny how we don’t notice those changes quite so much as when they are babies but underneath they are constantly growing and developing and with the introduction of pre-school he has become a new little person.
So, it turns out that I can’t really provide for him the way I used to be able to. I can’t stimulate his mind the way the amazing staff do at pre-school, I can’t create educational activities and have them take over our day, I still have housework and errands to do plus I work from home. This little lad craved the stimulation he is used to having, he needed the socialisation from his peers and he just could not adjust to being at home with me 7 days a week with no set routine.
Ok, so now I am making myself sound awful… I promise we did do fun things but he still wanted or, in fact, needed more, so what I am trying to get across is that I can no longer give him the hours of mental stimulation that he needs. Which leads me onto the title question, is it time to reduce the summer holidays?
I have seen countless Facebook statuses from other parents stating that their kids are bored, that the siblings are fighting, that said parents are losing the will and that the strain has been far too much. Was it always like this? Unfortunately, I haven’t got my Mum around to ask. OR are children just so much more intelligent today that it is now time for things to change?
We practically push them to excel from the day they are born. We sign up for baby classes, we teach them as we are advised and we begin to enrol them in swimming/gymnastics/dance lessons as soon as they are old enough. Those who begin nursery at a young age will also follow a curriculum and then pre-school even more so. My days of play school (as it was known back then) involved just that… play! We would play games, paint, dress up and have milk at break time. I do not remember having a structure to the day or being ‘properly’ taught. It is obvious that in the er x amount of years that have passed the system has had to change which has led to 3 year-olds having set lessons in order for them to be prepared for school at 4/5. I have no issue with this. It is a well-known fact that with each generation comes more intelligence and we need education to progress as we do. BUT how have the school years not moved in line with this progress?
I have had 5 weeks of strops, moaning, complaining and Jake asking me whether he has pre-school that day. It has taken until this last week for him to finally settle into being at home and enjoying relaxing. It has not been the holidays I was expecting… more on that here!
Watching my little guy become so frustrated with being at home has been heartbreaking. I have done as much as I possibly could with him including days out, swimming, soft play and arts and crafts but it is clear that he is now at the point in his life where he needs so much more. Each time I collect him from pre-school he is wiped. He is dirty, worn out but smiling. They do a fantastic job and I can see how much he has bloomed since being there. It has almost been a shame that the holidays came. I knew 6 weeks would be too long for him because he found the Easter holidays a strain. Some children just need their routine, they like to know what they are doing each day and they love being with a big group of other children. So, with all of this in mind is it not time to reduce the 6 weeks to perhaps 4 weeks? Let them have that break and allow holidays but get them back to what they love and to the stimulation they need much sooner?
Jake went back today and the excitement was overwhelming for him. I am glad he loves his pre-school because it means that I made the right choice and I am glad he is now happy to be back but I wonder if each year he will be quite as frustrated as this summer?
What are your thoughts on this? How have your summer holidays been?