Kenia Kaze is an 11 year old pupil. She usually spends her holidays with the maid as her parents have to be away at work most of the time. Her greatest wish is to spend the holiday with her grandparents as a way of changing the environment and experiencing another life.
She says with her grandmother, she always feels safe because she teaches her how a girl should behave and encourages her to read hard in order to excel in life.
When schools break off, children yearn to have the best holidays by visiting relatives, among other options. And indeed, some parents think this is a good alternative, but don’t pose to ask how safe this option is for their child. Education Times’ Joan Mbabazi seeks answers to this dilemma.
Peace Mbabazi, a mother of one, says she wouldn’t allow her child spend the holiday away from home because this would deny her a chance to discipline them or even know her child’s likes and dislikes.
She says when her child is at school, she doesn’t get much time with him because she leaves early for work and then comes back when he is sleeping.
Mbabazi explains that holidays are the best for her to bond more with her son, and therefore she prefers he stays home so she can even monitor his behaviour.
She says children should enjoy parenthood in holidays since they spend much of their time with teachers and househelps.
However, Mbabazi says it is important for children to go visiting for some few days in order for them to learn new things from their relatives.
For Albert Kalisa, a resident of Kanombe, Kigali, spending some time with relatives, especially in the village, helps children to learn how to do house work, associating with friends from other schools and backgrounds, as well as comparing notes on what they have studied.
“However, teenagers spending a long holiday from home might not be a good ideal especially while staying with relatives that are not strict because children can get spoilt due to much freedom,” he says.
Kalisa adds that little children should not go away from home for holidays since they might miss out on parental care as they are not yet ready to face certain challenges independently outside home.
Steven Nsengiyumva, an 18-year-old student, says one’s safety depends on who you visit.
“If you are sure that your uncle or auntie cares about you and whenever you visit them they treat you like their own, then it is okay to visit because you will have all the care. Also, spending some time away from home is interesting since you get to meet your cousins and relatives you have spent long without hearing from which creates a stronger relationship between families,” he says.
For Teta Sania Nkuranga, a pupil at St.Vincent Palloti Primary School Masaka, staying home with your parents for holidays is the best option because they give you more freedom.
“Parents are more accommodating, unlike some relatives who will want to dictate when to watch TV, or even how much or what to eat,” she says.
Nkuranga also says spending holidays with relatives in the village is so educative because one learns many new activities which he does not do at home such as digging and cooking.
She says she also enjoys her grandmother’s stories through which she gets to learn how to behave and the history of Rwanda.
“The fact that we have a maid at home does not give me the guts to do house work. But when I visit relatives I make sure that I mop, wash utensils even before they tell me to do so and the more I spend my holidays away from home, the more I am groomed into a more responsible person,” says Teta Christa Mumporeze, a Primary Five pupil.
Jacqueline Iribagiza, a counselor and teacher, says if the child was brought up well they will continue doing what is right even when no one is watching over them.
“Parents should always brief their children before they go to visit because it would help them know exactly what to do and this would save them from getting embarrassed because of their children’s behavior,” she says.
Iribagiza adds that it is advisable for parents to keep their responsibility by calling their children even when they are away from home in order to know how they are fairing.
“However, if a parent notices that their child has learnt bad habits after visiting certain places, it is better to restrict them to their homes,” she says.