Writing in Attain, the magazine of the Independent Association of Prep Schools, Fred de Falbe, head of St Richard's prep school in Herefordshire, said parents should give target-oriented tasks a rest and let their kids engage in activities that promote 'directed purposefulness' for fun.
Mr de Falbe said: "Holidays are not a time to meet targets or complete tasks unless self-motivated."
Instead, he suggested: "Give the broken Hoover or DVD player to your seven year-old to dismantle, rather than take it straight to the dump.
"You will need to give help with those factory-tightened screws (so you are, once again, involved) but after that it is an exploration – but not aimless."
He also called on parents to be flexible in their approach to learning.
He said: "There may be some of you thinking that, in this competitive world, these suggestions are too fanciful and children simply must be developing skills all the time – holidays should not stop this.
"Well, learning takes many forms and some of the best schooling is done when children are having fun."
He said parents should also focus on giving kids more confidence by playing games.
Mr de Falbe said Quick-Scrabble, a new take on the traditional board game, 'can be the entry point to leafing through the dictionary, sourcing ridiculous or unlikely words'.He said games like Rummikub, Articulate, Pictionary or Apples to Apples offer'"unparalleled opportunities to play with words and ideas, develop self-expression and confidence'.
He added: "Confidence also comes from developing the resilience and resourcefulness that children find in taking charge of their own time."
Mr de Falbe also said parents should get their children involved in the household chores because they can too be 'fun'.
He suggested projects like writing out the lyrics of a song, cooking as a family or painting a wall in their bedroom.
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