It’s important that children don’t do schoolwork these holidays

2018-07-12 06:00

THE second term is over — parents, pupils and teachers are looking forward to some much-needed time-out! Alarm clocks, packed lunches, homework, and school-day routines are put aside for a few days, or so they should be. Unfortunately, for so many parents and pupils, the second term brings with it the less-anticipated school report and in so many cases, ensuing panic.

Whether your child is in Grade one or Grade 12, whether your child is struggling or an achiever, I highly recommend that schoolwork takes a vacation with your family this July. Here’s why:

• OUR CHILDREN ARE UNDER SO MUCH PRESSURE

Let’s look at the pressures of modern schooling. Pupils are bombarded, non-stop, with tasks, assignments, homework, tests and exams.

On top of this, they have sporting and other cultural activities that keep them busy — often until late into the afternoons and even on weekends. Grade 12 pupils have had the added pressure of upcoming trial exams. It is just go, go go with no time for rest.

• OUR CHILDREN ARE EXHAUSTED

It is so easy to fall into the “need-to-do-more, need-to-work-harder” trap at this time of the year.

It is a trap because the idea of adding more pressure, more stress and more work to pupils who are already exhausted is completely counter-productive.

• OUR CHILDREN ARE BURNT OUT

Consider the symptoms of burn-out in children: unusual aggression, tearfulness, fatigue, anxiety, panic attacks, apathy, rebelliousness, depression, low self-esteem, recurring infections and illnesses, impaired concentration and anti-social behaviours.

Our children are not Duracell bunnies whose batteries can be replaced whenever they run out of energy or burn out. A burnt-out child cannot learn effectively, and even less so, with added schoolwork.

• OUR CHILDREN NEED TO REST AND RELAX

As South Africans, we love to braai on warm summer evenings. We are experts at building the perfect fire. We all know that adding piles of charcoal or wood onto the fire without allowing it to breathe and grow would be counter-
intuitive.

The same can be said for our children. They need space to breathe, to relax and to engage in activities that make them happy, that are uplifting, fun and exciting.

Consider the rewards of a happy, relaxed and rested child.

The brain can breathe.

The mind has space to take in information more effectively. Pupils will have more energy and experience an improved ability to concentrate and retain new information.

Taking a complete break these holidays can only have a positive effect on your child. Just imagine what a rested, relaxed and happier child can achieve in the third term. — HuffPost SA.

• Cindy Glass is the owner and co-founder of Step Up Education Centres.

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