How to have fun and productive holidays.

The summer vacation is here. Parents and children, however, see the long holidays differently. The youngsters have gone through the grind of examinations and they need a well-deserved break. They want to unwind, sleep late into the morning, be lazy and keep away from books.

For parents, the summer break may be less welcome. Having children unattended at home makes them tense. They make logistical arrangements to work around the problem. Grandparents are summoned or the children go to the grandparents. Some parents decide to work from home. Others send their children to new-age summer camps.

But in many families, television and computer take on the role of babysitters. Parents should resist the temptation of leaving children with electronics gadgets for long. Do not give them a free run with the TV, computer, smartphone and video games. Many see these as an easy way out to keep children out of trouble. But they can be addictive and counterproductive in the long run. So, instead of looking at the vacation as a headache, start seeing it as an opportunity — to spend more time with the child in a relaxed fashion, without the “do this, do that” routines. Leave the child to wallow in laziness. After a couple of weeks, the child will feel bored with being lazy, and there opportunity strikes. “A new skill a vacation” can be the motto of the new generation.

Students, irrespective of their age group, can use this time to learn new skills. Cycling, swimming, skating, sculpting, drawing, dancing, stitching, cooking, you can try all these things. You can learn music — vocal or instrumental, the options are many. You can try out a few sports. You may learn to do crosswords or Sudoku. You can learn yoga. Or start a fitness regime of jogging and exercising. Get into martial arts such as karate or judo. Some of these may not be suitable for you. But there is always something that suits you, something that you have not tried out yet.

You can think of learning a new language. Try something unrelated to your academics. If you do not learn your mother tongue in school, try learning that. If you have not opted for Sanskrit at school, try that out. It may be a foreign language, sign language or Braille. If you live in a city like Bangalore and does not know Kannada, try that out. You can decide to spend your time for a non-governmental organisation working with the underprivileged. You definitely will have a wealth of skills to take home from these sojourns.

There is so much you can do. There are so many things that you can learn. But when you get into these, keeping one important thing in mind. It is your vacation. Enjoy it. Do not overload yourself. Don’t take up too many things. You can’t do all these in a lifetime, leave alone a vacation. Pick one or two and do those well. Maybe, you can try something else during the next vacation. Whatever you do, it will have a positive rub-off on what you do at school or college. Some of these things that you try out may help you identify your passion and even in deciding your future career.