Ah… the well-anticipated summer vacation. Three months of lazy afternoons by the pool, late nights of teen movies, and non-existent mornings from sleeping in. Oh, and three months away from education.
The summer vacation is notoriously difficult to manage. Parents are forced to entertain and teach their children. Teachers are forced to find a second job. Worst of all, children spend their summers on YouTube, Netflix, or TikTok.
In a normal year, the summer vacation is bearable. Summer camps, sports tournaments, and job opportunities easily fill the majority of it.
But in 2020, it was a bad decision to let the kids take a break.
Reason 1: Boredom, boredom, boredom
In a typical year, there are things to do during the summer. You can visit friends, play a sport, or start a summer job. But this year, children’s lives were filled with Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
Elementary students probably suffered without camps. This summer, there was no sense of adventure, no opportunity for growth. They could only sit and wait this pandemic out.
They lost a potentially vital year to grow. It was harder to interact, make new friends, or find an interest.
These kids probably thought that quarantine benefited them. Instead of a summer of tutoring or academic classes, they got to lounge and play video games.
What they don't realize is that middle school is the best time to learn. With the abundance of time, they could’ve taken up a new skill, like web development. In the big picture, those “boring” camps they planned would’ve drastically lessened their high school stress.
The quarantine impacted each grade level differently. Freshmen and sophomores would’ve had an unparalleled opportunity to do some self-improvement, while the incoming juniors and seniors stressed out about college preparations.
As an incoming sophomore, I took the opportunity of quarantine to start writing. But, it took me a month to realize that I’d been wasting away, consuming media at unhealthy levels. I was lucky. Others never realized their missed opportunity.
The upperclassmen had to adapt. Gone were the job opportunities, internships, and standardized test tutors. Their independence had been expedited. They were forced to stay accountable for the SAT or ACT while having to scour for work or experiences.
Reason 2: Mom! I need food!
The three-month-long cooking pot of families only worsened with the quarantine. Parents are already distraught in a typical summer. Now, they’re expected to work their jobs while simultaneously holding responsibility for their kids.
These were probably the biggest headaches for the parents. It’s impossible to expect a seven-year-old to live on their own.
Parents had to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner for these kids. They had to dress them, play with them, and watch them. At this age, these kids can easily get into trouble.
With no camps, the only attention they were getting was from their parents. As a result, parents were forced to suspend their other duties. They had to play with dolls, build LEGO sets, and make DIY projects.
They required less supervision, but diligent parents were still very attentive. These children can last hours without interruption playing games or FaceTime-ing friends. That doesn’t mean they should, however.
Parents had to force their children to be productive. When all you’re doing is sitting around the house, it’s easy for the middle schoolers to slack off.
Aren’t high school students basically adults? Isn’t it time for them to become entirely self-sufficient?
As a high schooler myself, I know that I could probably live on my own for a couple of days. After the first week, however, I’d be stumped by the issues that plagued our house — dirty floors, unwashed dishes, and leaking pipes.
Although parents didn’t have to use their eagle eye for these kids, this was an opportunity for parents to take a hands-off approach. In the end, they were still distracted by the teenage antics of these kids.
Yes, I understand that summer vacation isn’t all bad. There are undeniable benefits to them. Still, opting for a long break in the midst of a near-standstill isn’t the best choice.
In a perfect world, I would have called a three-week-long break. This way, kids can refresh, teachers can plan, and parents could relax for longer. In the end, the most dangerous enemy for parents is boredom.