- Parker Barry
During our one-hour long conversation, one of the first things that Alex Soojung-Kim Pang revealed to me is that he lives in Silicon Valley, “the epicenter of helicopter parents and over-scheduled kids.” Pang — the parent of two teenagers — shares some of his tips for weaving rest into your summer vacation.
- 1. Take rest seriously. We tend to think that rest is something we’ll get to when we’re done with everything else. In today’s world, there’s no bottom of the to-do list. There are always more things that clamor for our attention. Recognize the importance of rest and be proactive and ruthless about making it a part of your summer.
- 2. Don’t over-schedule your days. We are often over-ambitious about what we’re going to do in a single day. Ease up on your plans by putting only one to two substantive things per day on your calendar. This will allow for plenty of time for wandering around and will model good behavior about rest for your children. By not worrying so much about doing so much, you open the door to have more meaningful and memorable times.
- 3. Go for quality over quantity. When you have free time in your day, it allows for discoveries that you can’t program or plan in advance. The times that are most memorable to families are not the picture-perfect shot at the top of the Eiffel Tower but the quotidian or ordinary moments that come with togetherness.
- 4. Keep blank spaces in your kid (and family) calendar. Parents should be unapologetic and confident of the virtue of giving kids plenty of free time during the summer so that it’s not all taken up by Snapchat or video games or easy means of self-distraction. Instead, present kids with the challenge of figuring out what to do. Though this can be a logistical challenge, it can also be psychologically valuable.
- 5. Let your child be bored! Being bored is not like being sick. We should treat boredom differently than we treat a fever or a fatal disease. First of all, boredom won’t kill you. Second, in the course of dealing with boredom, children will explore and discover new things. Finally, they will discover that boredom is a state of mind that they can control; a skill that they improve over time, just like walking, speaking or being polite.
Sandhya Nankani is a writer, educator, mom and founder of Literary Safari, which produces kids’ educational media. Her award-winning game HangArt was featured by Common Sense Media on its “Best EdTech of 2016” list, and her app Grandma’s Great Gourd has been featured in USA Today. She is also one of the founding members of the Kids’ Inclusive and Diverse Media Action Project.