This summer, let kids learn the art of doing nothing

Summer is here and the livin’ ain’t easy for many children. Holidays are here and there are naturally a plethora of camps and classes mushrooming everywhere. There are a number of activities that are on offer; sharpen your skating skills; take the plunge into the pool and learn swimming; cycling, cricket, tennis and all other sports.

Sport aside, there are arts and crafts classes, and dancing is big on the summer activity schedule, too, given the multitude of dance shows on TV and the explosion in popularity of dance.

Those of the salt-and-pepper generation may envy the number of summer activities and avenues that kids have these days. Yet, in this whirlwind of keeping busy, it is important to realise that holidays are also a time to keep time to chill out instead of simply losing oneself in the whirl of classes and learning.

Many parents are pushing their children into too many activities. One sees this as aspirational, rather than rational. There is also an element of one-upmanship with parents who are trying to, in some aspects, outdo the other or at least keep up with the Joneses when it comes to kids and camps. There is a strong sense of competitiveness and a feeling that if that child is doing three classes, mine must do four.

This is not to diss the number of choices children have today. Or to tell parents that they should not send their children for any activity in the holidays. Vacations are a time to pursue interests away from the classroom and, of course, learn a hobby or skill. Yet, it is also a time to enjoy and have some simple outdoorsy fun. At times, one sees children as young as three or four traipsing to some class, or a number of classes, which they can hardly comprehend.

Parents need to introspect on the reason for sending the child to the class. Why not let the perennially busy kids of today, learn the fine art of doing nothing. That’s what holidays are for.

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