By Dickson Tumuramye
OPINION| Time seems to go so fast these days. Recently, children were going back to school and we were running up and down looking for school fees. Now it’s time to visit them, an opportunity where a child, parents, siblings and friends get time to interact, and check on each other. This is a time a parent should always look forward to have good moments with their child(ren) at school.
As we all always plan to visit our children at school and think through what we should take for them, let us also plan to involve them in what best they would like to have for that day. After all, the day is for your child and you want to make him/her happy and share good moments in that very short moment.
It would not be good to take a lot of things which you think are good for him/her according to your own judgement. I know mothers are the best on thinking about good things to take for their children. But it becomes embarrassing to pack lots of things after putting together all your effort and your child isn’t happy. It is like planning a surprise for a best friend but only to surprise yourself! What a disappointment?
Before you think of heading to the supermarket to shop for your child or to rush into the kitchen to prepare that very good meal, don’t take long bothering yourself on what you should take this time. Just give your child a call and ask him/her, my sweetheart what should I bring for you this time if you can. Let your child make a choice for him/herself. If it’s beyond your budget, discuss about it and guide the child to plan within what you can afford.
This will save you from taking what your child doesn’t like. If the school doesn’t allow children to have phones, then plan together during the holiday before the child goes back to school or during the first visit on what you should take at the next VD. Don’t always plan alone for your child(ren). They should be stakeholders as well in their affairs.
Last term my friends visited their girl at school. The mother had prepared very good stuff. At the time of eating, the child requested the parents that they should eat from the car. The parents didn’t understand why the child preferred that instead of laying down a mat and eat in a relaxed and chilling environment.
When they wanted to bid farewell to their child, they thought they would surprise her with good packed food and juice which would be for dinner. The daughter asked mummy if it was the same as what they had for lunch or what she always packs, and indeed it was the usual one. The child didn’t mince any word but to tell her parents, “my roommates will laugh at me, Mummy take it back. What I had for lunch was enough.” Upon probing, they were able to discover that the daughter would have preferred simple but a unique package. This time it was not a lot of pilau, bread, chicken, the child said at least pizza of UGX 5,000= is enough.
We must appreciate that in life, we all go through peer influence once in awhile. No child loves to be bullied at school. Before you judge your child not to be understanding, proud, etc, know that they also would like to fit in “class”. This is the reason you should promote very open and unconditional discussion with your children and talk about such issues. Teach your child to always be free with you and share freely either what they prefer, go through or to talk with you about anything, anytime, anywhere.
Boost your child’s esteem before her/his friends. By the way, you can use the same budget every term but do things differently and this will show your child that you care and are a creative parent. Which child does not like such a parent?
The writer is a child advocate, Kampala.