Children of all ages are happy these days. Exams are over, results have been announced and hopefully all of you have passed with flying colours. After appearing for your final exams in the sweltering summer heat and the hard work you all put in throughout your academic year, you all deserve respite from the tedious school regime the annual summer vacation provides.
Friends, just like you, your parents also look forward with anticipation towards these relaxing months. For mums, vacation means no pulling out sleepy children from their beds to get them ready in time for school, no pressing uniforms daily (and sometimes washing them too) and no packing lunch boxes and filling water bottles. In the evenings also, they have more time for themselves, as they do not have to help the children in finishing their homework and assignments, as well as making sure that they have dinner on time and do not stay up late
For dads also these months are a respite from dropping grumpy children at their respective schools, helping them out in subjects they find difficult and catering to their endless requirements for school projects.
Friends, have you ever noticed how quickly the charm of the much-awaited months wears off for your parents? Hardly a fortnight into the holidays and you find your mothers at their wits’ end, complaining about the extra workload they have to bear. With no strict routine to follow, you all get lazier than usual and create a mess in every corner of your home. Late breakfasts have to be served and in these hot summer days, that is an extra burden on your poor mother.
Fathers are also vexed as they find the house noisy late into the nights and have to settle the arguments between siblings on nearly a daily basis. The television remote, which was theirs’ solely to flip through their favourite channels late into the night, is often nowhere to be found. It also has to be shared with the kids, who want to watch programmes of their choice (even if daddy misses the news or his favourite ‘talk show’).
This frustration is definitely not one-sided. A couple of weeks into the vacation and children feel frustrated and complain that their parents are getting irritable and they are being scolded unnecessarily. Friends, what you fail to realise is that your parents are not on vacation like you! They have to carry on their normal life with their day to day responsibilities, both at home and at work.
In the intense heat of these summer months, parents are simply drained out of energy. The change in your routine proves to be an extra stress for them. With all the free time you have at hand, you unintentionally create problems for your parents, which you can easily resolve with only a little consideration for them.
This year, let’s join heads to think of some simple steps to make this vacation as enjoyable and relaxing for your parents as they are for you. Here are some tips which will keep you happy and your parents stress-free during these holidays.
Set a mutually acceptable time-table
The most common complain mothers have during holidays is that the children stay up late and then get up late in the mornings, sometimes even around noon. For them, this means serving late breakfast and making beds high past noon, as well as clearing up the mess you created during the wee hours of the nights you stayed up.
Sleeping an hour or two later than your school days routine may be acceptable to your parents, but if you stay up the whole night you are not being fair to them.
As soon as holidays begin, discuss with your mum a mutually acceptable time for getting up. Help mummy with breakfast and opt for a simple breakfast you can manage yourself instead of vexing your mums with demands for an intricate meal. Fruits, a bowl of cereal, bread slices with butter, jam or your favourite spread with a glass of milk can be a simple menu for your breakfast which you can have without any help.
Vacation gives you more leisure hours than your usual routine. You have every right to enjoy this free time according to your wish, but try to be considerate to your parents too. Helping mum in her daily chores, clearing up your room, setting and clearing the table at mealtimes, are small gestures from you which will make your mum more than thankful.
You can polish daddy’s shoes, help in washing the car or just give him a good foot massage when he comes home from a tiring and hot day at work.
Help your parents in the yearly summer cleaning. Assist your mum in clearing extra clothes which you won’t wear anymore from your wardrobe, clear your drawers, study table and shoes/toys racks of the things you can easily give away. Your dad may need your help to sort out and file important documents, bills etc, a task, which he never finds time to do.
Your efforts will make your parents happy and also de-clutter your home. The best benefit will go to the needy persons who will find your extra stuff a luxury they cannot afford.
Do not be rowdy
Children usually stay up late and tend to be noisy when left on their own. When you are choosing activities for your late night sprints, chose those which will not cause disturbance for your parents.
During the hours you stay up, if you are watching your favourite show on television, be careful to keep the volume down. If you are playing a board game, such as ‘Ludo’, ‘Carrom’ or ‘Monopoly’, make sure that you are not making a lot of noise. It’s natural for siblings to argue and sometimes quarrel, but try to settle your differences amicably instead of running to mum and dad on trivial issues.
If your parents do not sleep soundly at night, they will not be fresh to start their daily chores. Remember that their day will start on the usual hour, and they will already be stressed out when you wake up. This will bring on scolding sessions, which neither you nor your parents will enjoy. So instead of sulking around on the reprimands you get on a routine basis, try to understand the reasons of your parents’ moodiness and quick temper.
Do things together
Vacation should bring enjoyment for your parents too. After all, they toil around the year to make your academic year a success. There can be many activities which you can enjoy with your parents as well as make your vacation creative.
Hunt for DIY’s (do it yourself) projects on the internet. Choose the ones which are cost-effective and in which you can use some things already at home. Involve mum and dad in these projects, they will really enjoy this activity and you will also end up finishing it better.
When I was a schoolgirl, summer vacation was the time when Ammi used to teach me and my sisters new stitches of hand embroidery, an activity which we thoroughly enjoyed. Learning to stitch on missing buttons and simple mending steps will make you feel more co-operative towards your mum.
Your dad can teach you cycling and if you are lucky enough to have a garden, you can learn gardening tips from him. Mum would really love it if you help her in planting herbs and flowers in small pots. Paint the pots in bright colours, place them on your entrance and help her in watering them as per their requirement.
After dinner is over, you can play a game of Scrabble, Ludo or any other board games your parents enjoy. Picnics, a visit to the zoo or an evening at the beach or a park, are some activities which you can enjoy with your parents. They will feel refreshed and relaxed after the outing as we all need a change from our day to day routine.
Surprise your parents with a day-off!
Friends have you ever thought of giving a complete day off to your parents? Plan a Sunday in which you serve them a simple breakfast in bed, make your own beds and clear up the house for them. You can give your mother a respite from the kitchen and assure her that you will be happy enough to finish the left-over food in the refrigerator.
You can insist that they go on an outing on their own. If you can manage to stay back with your siblings at home (and your parents are comfortable with it), you can do so. Otherwise, plan to spend the day with your grandparents, while your parents have a full day to spend the way they like, indulging in an outing or activity they enjoy, something which will be a luxury for them.
Friends, life is not as easy for your parents as you think it is. They have to fight on many fronts to keep you happy, safe and comfortable. This summer holidays, in addition to your own activities, give them time to relax and rejuvenate to face the tough routine of the year ahead. Let this vacation be different, so that mum and dad look forward to the next vacation too!
Published in Dawn, Young World, July 7th, 2018