Kids don’t always know what’s best for them (even though they always think they do); so, as a good parent, it’s your job to guide them and help them make the most of their gap year. This doesn’t mean you should force your child to do something they don’t want to, but simply introduce them to different options. This time of year is time for considering new things, thoughts and decisions, so I’d like to share some of my experience with you on how you can help your child use their gap year wisely.
Taking a whole year off means your child will have plenty of free time, and what better way to use that time than to improve themselves. For example, my brother has always wanted to learn German, but he could never find the time with all the studying and sports activities. So, he used the opportunity to sign up for German classes at the beginning of his gap year. He is still working on his vocabulary, but he is pretty happy with the progress he’s made since he already knows enough to get by. The thing that matters is that he spent his time doing something useful, and you should motivate your child to do the same. It doesn’t have to be a new language; they can work on their skills or pursue their hobbies, as long as it’s something that they enjoy doing and that might come in handy one day.
If your child hasn’t yet decided what career path they want to follow or which college they want to go to, they can spend the time doing some research, resting, and figuring out what they want to do next. Try not to put too much pressure on them – it’s better to take the time off and unwind a bit than to enroll in college they don’t really like just because they don’t want to waste time. I know how much I “bugged” myself to study, to think about my grades, not to play around… I admit, I probably did need a small break from all that, and your child might too.
Perhaps your child wants to see the world and travel a bit, and why not? Traveling can help them regain energy, and they can also make some new friends. Now, I know what you’re thinking, no mom wants their child to go far away and party with some strangers, but there are many safe and fun trips they can choose. When my friends told me about these schoolies for 2019, I was also a bit skeptical at first. However, when I read about all the activities they offer and saw how nice the accommodation is, I felt like it would be a shame not to go. And I didn’t regret my decision – I had the time of my life, and I looked really refreshed when I returned.
Kids always want something; whether it’s a new car, a laptop, or a purse – so this might be a good time for your child to learn how to earn money on their own. It doesn’t have to be some serious full-time job, as long as it teaches them responsibility and teamwork. Having a job would give them something to add to their CV, and they would gain some work experience, which is really invaluable today. Plus, once they see how good it feels to have their own money, they will definitely become more motivated to work on themselves so they could find an even better job in the future.+
Taking a year off is not the end of the world. On the contrary, it can be the best thing your child could do at that moment, as long as they use that time wisely. Talk with your child about what they want to do, help them make the right decisions, and they will definitely be on the right track.