|The institute organises military activities and discipline students like training soldiers. — Illustrative inmage/ Photo thanhnien.com.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Tran Tuyet Nhung, the mother of two junior high school students, is happy to recognise some changes in the behaviour of her sons in recent days.
She no longer has to raise her voice to get them to do household chores such as washing dishes or cleaning floors.
They seem less irritated and spend peaceful time with each other after returning from school.
Her sons are among the 130 students who have finished the first summer course that was organised by Viet Nam Youth Institute.
The institute organises military activities and discipline students like training soldiers.
Nhung said she decided to enroll her sons in the course so that they acquire more experiences outside their family.
She believes the course will improve children's health and turn them into good human beings.
Nhung is among the growing number of parents who want their children to learn more life skills and get rid of the pressure of learning during summer holidays.
Nguyen Minh Thu, the mother of an eight-year-old girl, said she registered her child for a gymnastics course at a sports centre in Ha Noi two weeks ago.
"My husband and I don't want our daughter to stay home all day, so we signed her up for the course, hoping that she gets a chance to enjoy her summer vacation," she said.
"In summer, my daughter learns how to swim and play the electric organ. It's a good way for her to relax after a hard school year," she added.
Despite the high costs, parents with high incomes have enrolled their children in camps held by language centres to build self-confidence and improve their English skills.
Tran Thu Thuy, the mother of a twelve-year-old boy, enrolled her son in an English course at a language centre in Ha Noi.
"My son is not good at English. He will improve his English skills at the centre as he will have a chance to communicate, sing, and play with foreign teachers," she noted, adding that she paid around VND15 million (US$688) for two weeks.
Thuy said that in the past, many parents made their children study during the three-month summer vacations because they were afraid that their children would be left behind others.
"I read a lot of articles on the internet, where psychologists advise parents to let their children enjoy the summer vacations as that is the best way to refresh their mind," she said.
Many children choose swimming as their fav-ourite course in summer. Phung Phuong Chi, a fourth-grade student, said she opted for swimming because it improves her health and releases stress accumulated over a year of hard work.
Meanwhile, the hot weather and swimming lessons have led to overcrowded swimming pools.
Nguyen Van Thanh, a employee at Thai Ha swimming pool, said the pool that charges reasonable rates was popular with adults and children.
"At peak time, bet ween 5pm and 7pm, over 300 people visit the place and parking lots are always crowded," he said.
Le Quang Tuan, deputy director of Ha Noi Children's Palace said, some 15,000 children have registered for summer classes in the palace, three times more than other months.
Nguyen Tung Lam, chairman of Ha Noi Educational Psychological Science Association, said summer vacation was the time for children to enjoy themselves and forget about learning.
He advised parents not to leave their children at home all day or force them to study. They should have some time to relax.
Experts admit that there is a lack of play area for children in regions across Viet Nam.
Ha Noi, for example, with over 664,000 children under 16, is facing this crisis. Statistics from the Viet Nam Committee of Population, Families, and Children show that some 700,000 children under the age of 16 in Ha Noi are sharing 2,200 playgrounds.
About 70 per cent of the playgrounds are deserted or are rarely used because they are in poor condition and are not equipped with entertainment facilities.
The remaining ones are not in good condition and some are in a very bad state, though they are still considered as ideal places for kids to play, according to the committee.
At a conference in Ha Noi early last month, experts noted that the capital city lacked gardens and playgrounds in residential areas.
Tran Ngoc Chinh, chairman of the Viet Nam Urban Planning and Development Association, attributed the shrinkage of parks and playgrounds in the capital to improper space management by local authorities. — VNS