Monday, July 2nd, 2012
Summer is here, and we parents have to walk the line between filling up our kids’ days – and leaving space. Today Golnar Khosrowshahi of GoGoNews shares some guidelines she uses with her kids in summertime.
As parents, we are raising children in the era of over-programming. Our renaissance offspring are shuttled from one activity to another throughout the school year and according to a recent survey of American families from the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker, we are spending more than ever on summer activities.
On average, it costs $600 to $1,200 to keep one child busy during the summer months. While I do my best to keep up with the Joneses – because as everyone knows, fencing is a life skill – I worry that our children do not have the free time to indulge their creativity.
My children definitely enjoy a wider variety of activities than I did as a child and at their age, and are far more competent at most things than I ever was. However, I am also hyper-conscious that they need to have free time to learn how to entertain themselves.
I worry that if they don’t have this free time, that they will never learn how to rely on their own faculties to be creative and engage and educate themselves. What kind of problem solvers will they be later in life if they don’t know how to think creatively and be innovative?
While ours is not a rules driven household, I have managed to establish a few guidelines to ensure that my children have some free time during what my generation remembers as our idyllic summer holidays.
These guidelines include:
- limiting television and video game time
- equipping them with reading material on a wide range of subjects of their selection
- providing them with kits and tools that encourage them to work with their hands
- giving them some “Me” time without camps, lessons or friends
- putting them in situations to which they are not accustomed – for example, taking them to work with me and actually giving them real responsibilities
I believe that doing some or all of the above throughout the summer will at least help our children get to know themselves, and better define their interests and then, set the stage to refine their interests. This free time to be creative will allow them to steer themselves towards subjects and interests that they are passionate about.
As a parent, one of the most important takeaways I had from Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs was how vital it is for our children to find their passion and ultimately, their happiness. We parents need to make sure we allow the time for this to happen because, while fencing is a life skill, creative thinking will probably prove to be more useful in the long run.
Golnar Khosrowshahi is the founder of GoGoNews, a website that publishes up to the minute, age appropriate current events for children. She has also written for The Huffington Post and been featured in many technology and parenting related columns. You can read featured guest blog posts by her here at Red-Hot Parenting every month.