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Kids stuck at home this summer? Here's how to keep them busy

Gaurav Achipalya / KT intern./Dubai
Filed on July 17, 2016 | Last updated on July 17, 2016 at 06.45 am
Its important to help kids plan their day and keep them occupied doing the right things.
It's important to help kids plan their day and keep them occupied doing the right things.

(File photo used for illustrative purpose)

Dr Arif Khan, consultant pediatric neurologist and epileptologist and head of children's services at the American Centre for psychiatry and neurology, said excessive use of technology isn't the right way to keep kids occupied.

The rising temperatures and humidity levels have been making headlines yet again this summer in the UAE. As schools remain closed for summer vacations during this time of the year, children find themselves with a lot of free time. It is important to help them plan their day well and keeping them occupied doing the right things.

Dr Arif Khan, consultant pediatric neurologist and epileptologist and head of children's services at the American Centre for psychiatry and neurology, said excessive use of technology isn't the right way to keep kids occupied.

Listed below are five tips to help parents keep their children physically and mentally healthy this summer and find the right balance between entertainment and creative engagement.

> Structure the day or week with activities: Create a schedule each day so your child knows what to expect. For example, 9 to 10am: Bike riding or dog walk to the park. This type of structure works particularly well with children who have a lot of energy. By creating plenty of activities in advance, you will reduce distractions, impulses, boredom, and ultimately depression and accidents.

> Encourage children to keep track of their activity: For children who spend several hours in front of a computer or TV screen, activity trackers might be the motivator they need to get moving. Activity trackers such as iBitz or the TupeloLife offer an 8-week after school programme where children can track of their steps and learn about the importance of being active every day.

> Keep children active and take advantage of summer camps: With so many different summer camps available for children during the school holidays, enrolling your child in a camp based on their preference, skills and interest is an option that can be very rewarding. Summer camps can help children build self-confidence and self-esteem by removing the kind of academic, athletic and social competition that shapes their lives in school. Summer camps also provide a stable routine and environment that is usually different from the daily routine that children are used to. You can choose a camp that's focused on a sport or a special interest one that covers a broad spectrum of activities, including arts and crafts, social aspects and team games, encouraging children to socialise

>Exercise their minds and get involved: Introducing children to creative activities that they might not necessarily have the time to do during the school year can be equally rewarding. From reading to cooking, here are some activities that can be explored by children and parents:

>Engage in Kitchen fun: From baking a cake to flipping a pizza, kitchen activities can teach your child the nutritional aspects of health and what goes into making a well-balanced meal

> Set up free play games: Set up games that kids and adults can play together, such as monopoly or scrabble. These type of games challenge and spark a child's imagination

> Organise family activity days: Families that can't afford to send their children to summer camps can opt for family indoor and outdoor activities. Family activity days can be both fun and engaging for the entire household. Deciding how much money to spend, or what resources to use and helping your child research events and activities that are of interest, can provide a sense of responsibility and can keep a child both engaged and entertained. Some activities include karaoke nights, or fishing trips, arts and craft workshops and a trip to the museum, among others

>Set a bedtime: Setting a bedtime will help keep your child on a consistent schedule and ensure proper rest. Lack of sleep can have a negative effect on a child's learning, as well as their ability to grasp and understand things during the day. A child can become quite fidgety, hyperactive and can also resort to excessive eating if they chronically lack sleep leading to obesity, social isolation and other healthcare issues.

gaurav@khaleejtimes.com


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