How UAE parents are gearing up for back-to-school buzz after winter break

As the new term starts from January 2, families are preparing for early mornings and readjusting household routines


Nandini Sircar

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Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Published: Mon 1 Jan 2024, 4:43 PM

Last updated: Mon 1 Jan 2024, 9:26 PM

As the festive cheer and New Year celebrations subside, parents in the UAE are gearing up for a different kind of excitement – the return of their children to school.

After a three-week term break, students are set to resume their academic year on Tuesday, January 2. Private schools in the country shut for the winter holidays from December 11, 2023.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, parents reiterated that a routine change is required now, which includes adjusting bedtime, making necessary school supplies available, getting winter clothing ready, and organising transportation.

Waking up early

French expat Christine Quartier La Tente, the mother of a 12-year-old, said, "Reopening of school means mobilising the entire house for us since we live a little far away from the central city in Danube 2. We go back to the early mornings again. My daughter Daria leaves home at 6.25am daily, so she is not stuck in traffic and is in school by 7.30am. My help wakes up very early, at around 4.30am, because she chooses to give Daria freshly cooked meals in her snack and lunch boxes.

"It's like an entire brigade back at work," she added. She highlights that it also means a change of routine for adults. "I also go back to my former schedule. I pick her up in the afternoon."

Christine Quartier La Tente with Daria
Christine Quartier La Tente with Daria

Readjusting the routine

Christine explained that her daughter has been selected for Gov Games, focusing on parkour—a sport she's dedicated herself to for several years.

"So, she will start that training from tomorrow, and it will be thrice a week. The training will be held one day in Al Quoz, once in JVC, and on weekends at Umm Sequim, with the championship being held in March. So, once that begins, I will also have to drive her around because, as a parent, I must support her in whatever she likes doing."

Daria is equally excited to return to school after the long break. Christine said, "She is looking forward to going back to school. As soon as she starts school, she will have assessments. So, children will be busy and on their toes, and so shall we."

Natalia with her son
Natalia with her son

American expat in Dubai, Natalia Miranda, said apart from getting the uniform ready, there are other tasks at hand.

"Suddenly, I feel today I have a lot of work as school resumes tomorrow. I had forgotten my son's iPad password in the past three weeks. So, fixing that took up a lot of time today."

She added, "Thinking of what to give in the snack and lunch boxes is another task. Meal planning for school involves considering the nutritional requirements and preferences of the child. Otherwise, the box comes back as it is. It will take a while for everyone to return to the groove again."

Organising drop-offs and pick-ups

Arijit's son Aakash
Arijit's son Aakash

Parents explain coordinating the drop-offs and pick-ups poses another responsibility.

Arijit Nandi said, "Since we arrange travel with a neighbour whose children attend the same school as my son, sorting out the schedule becomes essential. My son signed up for an additional programme called the Junior Dukes, which has a range of challenges for primary-aged children, some of which he thought of completing during the holiday. So, he'll be finishing that today."

The father of the seven-year-old said, "We've asked him to get his school bag ready, and I saw him sharpening his pencils and getting the pencil case ready."

Parents are also getting winter-ready as temperatures have dropped significantly since the schools closed.

He added, "My wife got all the woollen uniforms like jackets and long pants from the cupboard and is ready for Tuesday. She has also been trying to regularise his sleep pattern over the last few days, as from tomorrow onwards, everyone will start waking up by 6am again."


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