The Best Thing I Can Give My Child is My Time

Summer vacations are in full swing. It is that time of the year, when kids can be just kids, doing crazy things, running on the streets, and spending hours on a favorite hobby. But, well, I may be wrong here. Gone are the days, when time is spent playing with neighbors and friends at the local park or kicking ball in an empty ground in the locality. Thanks to our busy lives and the shrinking size of families, kids have fewer companions. Not to forget the growing menace of hand held gadgets in our daily lives.

No wonder, we find summer camps of sorts in every nook and corner. Parents find it easier to pack the child’s day with structured activities, keeping them not only occupied (presumably productive) but also away from television and technology. From ballet, to piano, sketching to tennis, Bollywood dance classes to gymnastics, centres running these summer camps flourish and prosper a great deal in the two months of vacation. Not that I am against any form of learning. Such activities of music, dance, dramatics and sports surely do wonders to a child’s self-confidence. It sure is good to learn something outside of school. Much as I acknowledge this fact and also admire parents who dedicate their time ricocheting between classes, yet, I prefer spending that time with the child doing the most unstructured of activities.

I must confess though, that this decision of mine has many a times made me feel inadequate. There is this constant Fear of Missing Out, as I notice parents and kids displaying the multitude of skills picked up in just the two months.

But I constantly make an effort to remind myself that what best I can do for my child is give her my time and equip her by myself with a bit of extra skills, to help raise her confidence. I cannot over-schedule her life, not yet. Each child is different. They have their own pace to learn, develop interests and pursue passions. It pays to not push them beyond their comfort level but, allow them to discover interests on their own. It’s much needed to give the child that blank space during the vacation to dream, breathe and explore the world around. One needs to strike a balance- between free playtime and the exposure to learn something new. Learning will happen even through simple hobbies. Let them work their own stories through pots, pans or just about anything. Do things together, dance away, or just sing aloud.

As Robin Sharma the motivational speaker and author once said, “The greatest gift you can give to your child is the gift of your time. And the greatest gift you will ever give yourself is that of enjoying your child”. And vacation times are the best time to bond and build memories.

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  • shanayatales

    I completely agree with you. While these classes have their merits, what our kids need more than anything else is quality time with us, and that is a gift that we must strive to give to them and ourselves every single day. 🙂

  • Corinne Rodrigues

    In our time we were left to our own devices and I don’t think we fared too badly. But I do know that there are no longer the cousins, the backyards and the grandparents’ homes of our times. I guess you just have to follow your heart on this.

  • writershilpa

    I am so happy to read this post, Ramya! So happy to read the decision you made for your kids, to spend time with them instead of packing them away to some summer camp, or to this or that ‘class! Vacations during my childhood (or, rather, our childhood) were the best, when we would just spend the day with friends playing games, running around the streets without a care in the world, or climbing trees in the garden looking for guavas and mangoes! Those are the real vacations, not the ones where you send your kids to learn stuff that they would rather not, if you ask them!

  • Surbhi Prapanna

    I absolutely agree with your thoughts and I am also in the same phase, as the summer vacations are just around the corner here, I am planning so many things for my girls, you had really reminded most important thing that as a parent we need to learn balance out the things, kids need our time and we can teach lots of things just by spending quality time together.

  • Rachna

    Very valid points there, Ramya. I was a mum just like you — not putting my kids in summer classes and letting them do their own thing. They did join some hobby classes of their choice. But I wasn’t working full time then. Today I am and they are relatively grown up to do their own activities. I also admire mums who have the energy to rush from one class to another. I never did and wasn’t convinced that the classes did a lot of good too. Spending time with the kids was nice as well.

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