Some summer vacations stretch endlessly with kids sleeping late and wandering around finding interesting things to do. Others seem to be more strictly scheduled than the school year. What is the goal?
Goal? For summer vacation? Am I nuts? Maybe. But why wait until they are long grown to help our kids use blocks of unstructured time to explore new ideas and activities.
There’s the “phew! I can be lazy” approach to vacation and that certainly has some value. But teaching our kids to be life-long learners begins with letting them know that they can choose to learn about things that aren’t in anybody’s lesson plan.
Why not help them by asking what they’d like to learn about in the next few weeks; often people want to accomplish something, but they don’t know how to start or what to do next.
Start by helping them get a good, clear picture of what it is they want to accomplish. Are they going to build or read or write something? Plan a trip? Improve a skill?
They can develop that picture by making a picture or vision board or writing about it. Different methods work for different people. Next of course, is starting to look at the steps that they would need to take to achieve their goal and to figure out what comes first — another great discussion!
Then comes the hard part for most parents — ask about and support the effort without taking over and ‘taking it away’ from them. If you can do that, you will have given your kids a wonderful gift — the ability to decide about and create something on their own. How’s that for confidence and self-esteem???