Its about a week since the Summer Vacations have begun. From April first week onwards we find different fancy pamplets along with our newspapers advertising about the latest summer camps in our locality. Earlier, every household had atleast 2 kids and summer vacation meant any building with an average of 60 flats would have atleast 30 to 40 school going kids. When we were small, we often went to Kerala, my hometown for vacations for a month and the remaining time would be spent playing from morning till night in our society. We never felt lonely or left out during these two months, we always had company.
These days in many buildings, mainly in Tier 1 cities, people have barely 1 child or do not have children at all or they themselves are single, which means that the number of flats in the society have increased but the number of children have equally reduced. Children and mainly toddlers need other children of their own age group to enjoy, we as adults even if we spend more than 15 to 16 hours with them, we cannot make them that happy as much as they would be happy playing for a few hours with the children of their age group. Yes people say that parents are the most important people in a child’s life but a toddler’s age is the right age to mingle with the world and understand the world slowly and steadily.
When we were children our usual schedule during vacations would be eat breakfast, help a little bit at home, we barely had vacation homework then but still study something new like tables or do one page of cursive writing. Around 11 am go out and meet friends and plan and re plan your schedule for the day and also bring out all the rough and waste materials from home. The afternoons, post lunch were the best part, either the plan would be to steal the mangoes from the society tree and have a mango party or to make a new item such as a Telephone using old toothpaste boxes. It was a huge task those days to collect Toothpaste boxes, ice cream sticks, they were kept as treasured possessions and anyone who collected maximum of them always had an upper hand. All the art was passed down from the elder kids to the younger ones and evenings to nights were spent in cricket and badminton and those N number of fights on who came first to occupy the place.
Today I cannot unfortunately give my child the same childhood but the maximum I can ensure is take him to a summer camp so that these same activities, which we did through out the day can be completed in a couple of hours with other children. They can have their play time and bonding sessions, which is more important, children need to feel happy in their own age group. Elders can only entertain for sometime.I hate to do it, but my kid is more happy because he gets company of his age. Unfortunately, the digital age also has his own flaws because you have to literally pay someone to get you a company, but at the end of the day…
All is well that ends well……….