Preethi Vickram is a committed educator, an exponent of ‘learning through ‘play’, a passionate parenting coach, a change catalyst, a leadership mentor, an IIMB NSRCEL alumnus, and a brand champion with a sincere desire to make that catalytic difference in the lives of children and consequently, the world at large. She has more than two decades of experience in the education sector, both domestically and internationally. She has successfully set up educational institutions in India, enabled by the right mixture of her business acumen and understanding of curriculums being an educationist.
Summer vacations are a tough time for both parents and children. Parents are often left wondering how they can utilise this time to continue the process of learning for their children. Children on the other hand have pent-up energy that needs to be expended. With lockdowns and subsequent closure of a lot of activities, it is a challenge to keep the children busy and engaged in learning.
Rather than trying to force-fit activities with an end goal of keeping the children busy, parents would be better served in trying and furthering the actual learning of children. An important thing to keep in mind is the stage of development the child is in. A 14-year-old developmental stage would be very different from an 8-year-old.
When we look at Erik Erikson’s stages of Psychosocial development, 12 to 18 yrs is when the teenagers are in Stage 5: Identity vs. confusion. It is critical during this period to develop a strong sense of self. “Who am I?”, “What do I want to work as?”, “How do I fit into society?” Throw into all this confusion the question of “What’s happening to my body?” and you’ll probably get what the adolescents are going through. On their journey to the self, most adolescents will explore different roles and ideas. Students of that age should try and utilise the summer vacation to strengthen their sense of self. They can also take up internships, volunteer for a cause, or tutor other students. Also, at this age, developing a sense of earning and spending from their own hard-earned money will hold them in good stead for the future.
For the younger ones, they are in Stage 4: Industry vs. Inferiority, where their circle of influence has widened and they have a lot more friends, and are conscious about how they affect their world. They need to feel useful and get a sense of belongingness. Involving them in day-to-day chores is a good idea. Helping them develop initiative and letting them make their own choices is critical. It’s advisable to let the children take control of their schedules. This is also a good opportunity to help students build up their discipline. Letting them do activities like gardening, taking care of a pet, learning a new skill demands that they set up a daily routine and follow it.