In our affluent society, school holidays are now synonymous with holidays abroad or expensive outings right here in Singapore (there’s a reason we’re consistently ranked as one of the world’s most expensive cities to live in).
However, not having deep pockets isn’t a reason for you and your child to miss out on the fun during the school break. Fortunately, despite tight budgets, there are still a myriad of things you can do during the holidays to have fun together as a family.
Before you start making plans on where to go and what to do, stop and re-assess the concept of having school holidays — what is it, why do we have it, and what should you be hoping to accomplish with it?
While the answers might seem obvious, they are often overlooked. The main purpose of holidays is to provide students with a much needed pause before embarking on the challenges for the new academic year. Make this December a time to rest and recharge as you spend quality time together.
“Make this December a time to rest and recharge as you spend quality time together.”
Here are some wallet-friendly ideas:
1. Hold a movie marathon
Screen time is usually limited during the school year, especially during the exam period. Once the school break begins, find some family-friendly movies that everyone can enjoy, and screen them in the comfort of your own home! Bring out your favourite snacks, pillows and blankets, and make a memorable night of it.
2. Have a board game tournament
If the only games your kids have been playing are on a screen, bring out the board games for some healthy family fun. This activity also serves as a great way to practise and reinforce positive behaviours with your child, such as turn-taking and good sportsmanship.
3. Get sporty
When the weather permits, get outdoors as much as possible. Research has shown that spending time in nature can help to relieve stress, improve eyesight and even sharpen memory and creativity.
Take your children to the park and play a simple game of frisbee or football. Plan a picnic at the Botanic Gardens, coupled with roller-blading or scooting. Head to Marina Barrage to catch the sunrise and fly kites, or have a day out at Pulau Ubin. The sunshine and exercise will benefit the whole family and guarantee a good night’s sleep for the kids!
4. Give back to the community
In the spirit of the season, encourage your child to think of others who are less fortunate than themselves. Try this simple exercise for a month — each time you go grocery shopping, ask your child to pick out one item that might help a needy family, such as a bag of rice or canned goods which are less perishable. After each grocery trip, place the items in a box at home. In a few weeks, once the box is full, donate its contents to a needy family or community home in your neighbourhood. Helping others in a real and tangible way won’t cost you a lot, but it will teach your child a priceless lesson in generosity and giving.
“Helping others in a real and tangible way won’t cost you a lot, but it will teach your child a priceless lesson in generosity and giving.”
5. Treat your child to a one-on-one date
Spending distraction-free time with your child is a good way to learn more about them, understand their hopes and even fears. If your child is receptive, this would also be a good time to take stock of the year that has passed, and help your young one set goals for the year ahead.
Whatever you do, be sure to intentionally build in some time to laugh, talk, and dream together. It’s also good to remember that in family life, sometimes the best things tend to happen when you aren't expecting it! So be flexible and stay open, even when you’ve made your plans. Let them tell you what they'd like to do and focus on having a great time together.
© 2018 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.
This article was first published on MindChamps and republished with permission.