During this holiday of the academic year calendar, some parents agree that parenting has become a sensitive matter.
This year’s long holiday started in July and will wrap up early September, a period which parents believe, can be difficult to an extent of ruining a child’s character if parents are not careful enough.
Children change quickly and every year is different for them but in all, they require parents to be present and enjoy this time of year with them. But being present is a challenge for many parents who cannot halt their daily chores to take care of the children.
Even when they are at home, some parents will entrust the parenting role with their maids as they feed their addiction in social media platform, movie or others.
KT Press talked with different parents who shared their strategies to keep their children’s well-being during the holidays and the challenges involved.
Martha Uwimana, a mother of four from Gasabo District, who works for an insurance company said: “My children are enough grown up. During holidays, I involve them in domestic activities.”
In the end, she said, they don’t spend whole day sleeping, watching TV, or just playing.
Eighteen years ago when her eldest child was two years old, Uwimana decided never to employ a maid any more and his decision is yielding fruits thought it was a challenge at the beginning.
“When I started it was very challenging. Now the oldest is 20 years old and the youngest is seven. They help each other, which relieves me,” Uwimana said.
“The oldest one is a boy. He cleans the house, goes to the market, banks, and other activities that need an adult. His sister, eighteen years old prepares the meal while the youngest aged 11 and 7 wash dishes. When it comes to washing clothes, we use a machine. I and their Dad also helps them sometimes when we leave work early or on weekends.”
While Uwimana does not have a maid, Mary Mukakalisa, a businesswoman and mother of four from Kigali found that she could not do without. She had to hire two maids but put in place some measures to monitor the set schedules.
“At home, I have two maids because I have little children, yet I have to work hard everyday to earn a living for my family, together with my husband,” she said.
“On holidays children want to watch TV too much which is bad for their health especially intellectually. So, we have set a schedule, and on weekends we try our best to be with them. When I am not there my husband is in charge.”
Currently, Mukakalisa is looking forward to installing cameras at home so that they are able to monitor every movement.
Another parent, a father who preferred to remain anonymous, said that parents face many challenges including relatives who come into their family during holidays.
“We tend to see more extended family members during the holidays. They may not always be aware of the rules and routines your household follows. A good approach is to be forthcoming and explain why something is or is not allowed for your child,” he said.
He further said, that during the holidays, parents should be watchful to prevent children from eating unhealthy food.
“The holidays offer easy access to unhealthy food and desserts that should not be consumed in big quantities. With younger children, it is easier to control, but for elder children who decide on their own, it becomes challenging,” he further explained.
Meanwhile, Lydia Uwamwiza, a farmer and mother of two from Gatsibo District said that the issue of parenting in rural area is less complicated than in urban areas, if you keep constant the issue of poverty in rural settlements.
“For us it is a bit easier, we have much time for our children. When they are at home we enjoy their stay, they help us with domestic activities. Both of them are teens who know how to dig. Though they study they know how to cook, and clean, when they are at home, I feel relieved,” Uwamwiza says.
All parents said that they should play a significant role in parenting of their children, they have to be there for them so that maids or other caregivers do not replace them.
Having money and being wealthy is good but having well-educated, disciplined children is paramount. Parents should learn to balance the two.