Once again, it is that time of the year when our children return home for the long holidays following a year of study, revision, tests and end of year exams.
Our role as parents or guardians is to make their holidays special and worthwhile. First and foremost, we should welcome them home graciously and show them that East or West, home is best. In addition to allowing them to have fun, we should also spare some time to have frank and constructive discussions with them regarding their academic performance and conduct at school.
I therefore expect parents to personally and properly read their children’s school reports putting special emphasis on the class teachers’ comments and the grades.
The report is the best way of establishing how best, parents can help their children during holidays. Those whose performance has improved should be rewarded and encouraged to keep it up. Those whose performance has declined should not be whipped or demoralized in any way. They should be counseled and be given an opportunity to explain why they declined and how they want to be helped.
To some parents, holidays should provide an opening for them to take their children for religious studies or short courses like computer classes etc.
Parents should also use the holiday breaks to introduce their children to the family businesses, teach and engage them in domestic work, go to places of worship and other family gathering with the children, and let them conduct themselves in a descent and mature way when it comes to dressing, talking, eating and relating with others especially neighbours.
However, since it is their resting period, children should be given time to play and explore, on condition that they engage in morally upright games and activities.
Prophet Muhammad PBUH always treated children with compassion, but he also emphasized the significance of child discipline in many sayings.
“A father cannot give his child a better gift than good discipline” (Tirmidhi, Birr, 33).
According to a Turkish Muslim writer Osman Nuri Topbas;
“If we want perfect children, let us first attempt to be perfect parents”
He says, children grow up by imitating their parents in every aspect of their lives. Imitation, learning from examples, is the essential; characteristic of children. This is why parents must display exemplary behaviours for their children to imitate; more so during holidays when the children are at home.
It should also be the business of parents to monitor not only the movements of their children during holidays, but also their health and their revision. Parents should also remember to feed their children well and to pray for them.
Amidst all the above, parents should not rest when it comes to looking for school fees and other school requirements for their children.
Education is the best investment that parents can ever give to their children; therefore the struggle to raise school fees is a worthwhile struggle. For those parents who may not raise all the fees at once, it is advisable for them to talk to school administrators before the term opens and agree on more flexible terms of payment.
Parents should consider child education as a crucial duty in their lives and, just as parents dedicate time on a regular basis for other activities like donations, fitness clubs, vocations etc., they should also dedicate regular periods and resources for the education of their children.
To all children who are at home for holidays, I say, happy holidays and be good girls and boys.
May the Almighty Allah protect you and reward you abundantly.