Take the time to disconnect from everything else this school holiday and tune into a simple activity with your kids to show them you are as committed to them as work and other responsibilities. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

What if your child could learn how to actively engage in a variety of activities that do not include a tech-device and be happy with their choices? 

When we talk about surviving, we are talking about you, the parent, but when we think about thriving, we are all about seeing your child be the biggest winner. 

Enter Nomoboki, the mascot of No More Bored Kids, a company whose mission it is to empower busy parents to help their fabulous kids be the best versions of themselves. Nomoboki is passionate about inspiring engaged, active and happy kids and has compiled these top ten tips to help you achieve this.

NOMOBOKI’S TOP TEN TIPS TO THRIVE

Tip #1: Define Thrive

A word like thrive will hold a different meaning to you than it does to the next parent and even more than that, it will hold a different meaning for each unique child. Get started by reflecting on what it would mean for your child to thrive over the school break. Will they learn new skills, spend more time outdoors, improve a specific subject knowledge, spend less time with technology or maybe become more independent or get along better with their sibling. Start with a clear picture of what you are hoping to achieve by defining your thrive.  

Tip #2: Select a theme

Select a one-word theme to inspire your child to thrive. Examples of possible themes for children are kindness, teamwork, confidence, creativity or learning. A theme can be used in conversation as a reminder to your child of the expectations for the school break, as a way to get your child to participate and take action, to encourage discussion and to inspire desired behaviours in your child. 

Tip #3: Work for your WIFM

What’s in it for me (WIFM) is going to be the obvious thought running through your child’s mind when you ask them to start something that happens to sound a lot like work. So when developing your system, think about the rewards they could earn by demonstrating the theme and completing activities. Be clear on how actions will be measured and converted into rewards. 

Rewards may be daily incentives such as technology time, they could be experience incentives eg going roller-skating with friends or they could be longer-term incentives such as a holiday or maybe a game for their PS4. The WIFM is what will inspire your child to take action, and as they take consistent action, they are on the path to developing good habits and changing behaviours. 

Tip #4: Establish the structure

The lack of structure is often a key reason for failure. Make it easy for your child to take the daily actions by creating a structure or framework within which they can track their performance, monitor their results and earn their rewards. This structure will also form the basis for deeper conversations with your child.

Tip #5: Provide the resources

Ensure your child has access to the resources to complete their activities. As part of your daily reflections (tip #6), discuss the activities they plan to undertake the next day as well as how/where they can access the resources to complete those activities. Lack of certain resources is a great opportunity to have them brainstorm and find creative ways to complete their tasks. 

Tip#6: Daily reflections

Spend a few quality minutes together at the end of each day. Discuss the activities completed by your child. Ask them questions to get them talking about their experiences, likes and dislikes from the day’s activities. Measure their activities against planned activities and take the opportunity to praise effort made. 

Tip#7: Be present

Even the best plan will fail without you. You are the key to how your child will thrive over this school break. When it is time for your daily reflections or to complete an activity with your child (eg playing a board game), show them how important this process is and how important they are by disconnecting from everything else. And yes, that includes social media and email. Switch everything off and commit to being present and in the moment when you are with your child.

Tip #8: Stay the course 

Nothing worth achieving is quick and easy, and that goes for engaging your child over the school break too. You have an opportunity to develop and grow your child in ways that will serve them forever, and while there will be days that are stressful and frustrating, stay the course. 

Find support wherever you can, be it in social media groups of like-minded parents, get a few of your friends on board, share the load with your spouse or partner, do whatever it takes to stay the course, and you are guaranteed to see your child thrive over the school break. 

Tip #9: Celebrate and reward success

Get excited with your child, they are learning how to work for rewards, they are developing new skills, they are embedding new behaviours and they deserve to celebrate and enjoy their success. 

This is not about congratulating your child for doing what is expected of them, but rather about celebrating new habits, consistent action, positive attitude and focusing on the skills and behaviours they are developing. Tip#3 was about setting up the reward framework, and here it’s about delivering on that promise to your child.

Tip #10: Set the context

And finally, if your little person is accustomed to a holiday break of survival, then shifting gears into a space of thriving is going to take a bit convincing. Once you have figured out how to implement the above tips, then it’s time to sit down and set the context with your child. 

This discussion should paint a clear picture of what a thriving school break will look and feel like. Discuss the benefits that your child will enjoy and that you will experience as a family. Cover all of the points in the above 9 tips, listen to your child and work together to co-create the way forward. 

Find out more at www.nomoboki.com.

* Usha Maharaj CA(SA)is founder of No More Bored Kids