Winter break in UAE: How to keep kids engaged


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Dubai - Guardians are wary of children spending their winter break by remaining glued to TV sets at home.

By Nandini Sircar

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Published: Sun 13 Dec 2020, 6:10 PM

Last updated: Mon 14 Dec 2020, 7:14 AM

Parents in the UAE are brainstorming family-orientated activities and getting innovative to keep their children busy.

They are doing so as the three-week winter vacations started from Sunday amid the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.

Guardians are wary of children spending their winter break by remaining glued to TV sets at home.

They are pulling out all stops to sign up children for various online and onsite classes that range from honing their academic skills to music to sports.

Khaleej Times spoke to a cross-section of parents, who are filled with admiration, as they discover the internet of things (IoT), which has gained more prominence because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The virtual world has opened up a gamut of opportunities for children of all age groups that promise to be both physically and mentally stimulating, much to the delight of parents.

Zoya Shaikh, an Abu Dhabi resident, said: "Usually, we travel during school’s winter break every year. However, this year is an exception because of the Covid-19 outbreak, as a lot of holiday destinations have not reopened because of the contagion. Travelling under the circumstances is a risky proposition. I have enroled my daughter (7) for online piano classes, as she is fond of the musical instrument. It’ll keep her occupied. I have also chalked out a daily timetable for her during the morning while I get through to my household chores.”

Live sessions, video demonstrations and online learning activities have been designed to keep the children gainfully engaged during the winter break.

Iram Rizvi, a mother of two children, who are 14 and 10 years, respectively, said: “Online learning opportunity options are one of the positive outcomes of the Covid-19 outbreak. I had been wanting to enroll my kids in the speech and communications classes at The Hive for ages. However, I couldn’t work out the logistics since we live in Gardens and The Hive is headquartered in Bur Dubai. Now, that The Hive has gone online, that I have managed to enroll my kids.”

Shukri Deria, an American national and a Dubai resident, said a routine would help keep the momentum going among children.

“It’s important to cultivate sustainable habits among them, one such habit being studying daily. My kids will be engaged in various activities during the day and during afternoons. They will continue with their daily Holy Quran classes, along with mathematics and Arabic, which they usually have.”

Kids immerse in non-screen activities

Many parents wanted their children to immerse in non-screen activities, as Covid-19-induced online classes were quite tedious for the better part of the year.

Zeba Khan, a mother, said, “I intend to enroll my son (6) in winter camps such as football or skating. He is full of nervous energy. He gets restless when there is no physical activity. Channelising kids’ energies in a constructive manner is the key.”

“I am a working mother and my young son (4) can’t sit for online classes all by himself. I’ve asked his nanny to make him engage in outdoor activities such as playing in our home’s backyard or even allowing him to lounge in the inflatable pool in the afternoon for a while, as kids love water. Colouring and craft work will also keep him busy. On weekends, he will be my baking companion. I shall also teach him elementary mathematics in a playful manner. I want to minimise his screen time”, Valeriya Svalova, a Russian national and a Dubai resident, conveyed.

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