By: Zara Maqbool
Bless my three beautiful children, but God knows it feels like being hit by a hurricane the day the summers started. How? Let me elaborate. For starters their wonderful body clocks to date refuse to sleep beyond 7:00 am whereas during school year waking them up was quite a task. So sleep destroyed, you end up feeding their tummies early morning and then the day officially starts with a question that gets repeated endlessly during the day, “ What do we do?” In this scorching heat outdoors play is out which leaves us parents to using our creative juices to engage them in door.
To be honest enrolling them in a summer school, which has become quiet, expensive is not an option for me. Especially after paying our amazing private school fees worth two hundred thousand plus for the entire summers, I did not have the heart to pay more for a month at least. Also I wanted a break from the duty of picking and dropping the kids especially during Ramadan.
So then what choices are left to entertain these little humans. Encouraging reading that doesn’t last more than an hour, or arts and craft, a few board games and yes I help them kill two hours max and then again ‘The Question’ pops up, “ what now?”
Taking out the time for their sleeping, eating and trips to the loo, as a parent I have to keep my kids engaged somehow for at least six hours every day especially when I want to minimize screen time. Although by the end of the day when I am ready to pull my hair out, I do send a silent prayer for Steve Jobs for inventing the Ipad as total peace prevails the house when they are on their tablets and the angelic looking kids are all busy and happy. And I try my best to lock away the mommy guilt for not coming up with a better solution.
I strongly feel that there isn’t any city in Pakistan that offers enough options for kids especially when it comes to indoor places. We have outdoor parks that are affordable for all but then the weather isn’t conducive for any outdoor activity in summers. When it comes to indoor options there is an option of cinema, a few bowling places and gaming arcades. Again the issue is that these places are expensive and not something that you can take your kids your kids to more than once a month. We also have our exclusive clubs that offer the same services that are more affordable but then only members can avail the services and the non-members cant. So if you are not a member you have to come up with other options.
Many families travel in summers to places where there is a lot to do for children but then the question remains the same. Staying in Pakistan why isn’t there enough public facilities for children. Why don’t we have exclusive children libraries? Why don’t we have indoor parks that would not charge crazy fees? Why can’t we run summer camps that are out there to empower the children rather than financially pressurize the parents further more? Most of them once again just provide us the opportunity to out do each other and becomes a rat race.
Nadia Shabbir Khan based in Singapore says, “There are many indoor play areas, summer camps, indoor and outdoor activities, swimming, cycling tracks here.” My other friend based in places like US talk about much more options like science museums, libraries, space centers and so on which have interactive activities, that as a parent its easier to plan the day with children.
So with this limited choice, it’s up to us to manage the summer storm that hits us every day without outside intervention.