Keep busy in summer

It was the first time that Claire refused to go to school. She got up  with a stuffy nose and complained about her tummy ache. “O.K.,” we said. She stayed home and enjoyed playing with me. We tried all games that I could imagine : puppet show, painting, writing, Lego, pretending, Playdough… I was exhausted.

The next day, she turned out better but remained reluctant to attend school. Her dad sent me a message: “You daughter refused to get off the car in the parking, so I took her to my office.” It was a wonderful day for Claire but a terrible one for her daddy. “I had no time to work!” sighed he.

The third day, she cried when we pushed her into the car. “No school, no school!” shouted she, as if we were so mean to her.

Almost everyone loves summer, which should be a playful and relaxing period. But I recently realized that kids would not agree with it. They may become very excited to go to the beach, even dream the Disneyland. But most of  the time, they think it’s boring. “it’s boring!” Claire commented on her school day, which surprised me.

Compared with various activities they took in the school year, summer is indeed boring. Her preschool is open to children whose parents need to work.However, most of their teachers take vacations and rotate for the day care. There are several activities, e.g. water play and crafts, but kids spend more time by themselves. At the preschool age, they are easy to be bored without being organized.

“But we paid a lot money for school,” Claire’s dad wanted to be serious, “School is fun and you should keep learning.” To a 4 year-old, reasoning is useless. All she thinks is playing joyfully. All she needs is not time to wonder, nor to stay with her swing, but time to discover new things.

At home, she asked me to be her teacher, who is on vacation now. We repeated the routine school day she had before summer camp : sing a morning song, story time, playing outside, snack time, gym time, art time, games, lunch, dance, writing, counting, etc. “Can we have a valentine’s day in this week? ” me asked she.

“Summer Camp is boring,” asserted she,”it’s silly.” We are disappointed with this situation, wondering if other camps would be a more interesting adventure. I searched information but most of thematic camps are offered to older children and last only for two weeks. We are already lucky to have a preschool which offers flexible hours.

As grownups, we allow ourselves to be lazy and slow in summer. Being busy is so tiring all the year around. We deserve a period with empty head. But kids works another way. They enjoy being busy all the time.

“You should go to school, be good, and then we can go Disneyland.” Sadly, we began to use the last strategy to cheer her up in the morning. Maybe it’s time to have vacation, to change, to satisfy her curiosity.

I heard a lot about “summer slide” for children. In China, summer is a very busy period for kids, especially in big cities. They need to attend different summer schools for maths, English and all kinds of art skill. If they stay at home with TV, they lose not only knowledge but also the studying habit and their curiosity  of learning. School can hopefully keep them busy, while the busy TV at home can only make them inactive.