Parents in the UAE have been engaging in practical ideas to keep their children busy during the summer months while working to strengthen their bond with their little ones.

While setting realistic expectations are important for everyone, bonding with one's offspring is also a process and journey that continues to be learnt over time, they say.

When it comes to nurturing their children, parents know best what works for their kids as they strive to detox them from digital devices, focusing on real-life social interactions.

Filipino expat Ben Lebig, who has a 12-year-old daughter, says: "My daughter Izabella is a voracious reader. She is also in the process of writing her second book. She has already published her first one. But even for writing her book she needs to be on the internet at least for some time. We cannot cut her off from that completely."

"Otherwise, in the evenings as a family, we go out to the beach for a walk, go swimming together and to the park late at night. Her outdoor time is well scheduled. She has karate three times a week and recently won the Toastmasters competition. We try to keep her productively busy while spending quality family time."

Malaysian expat Adilatul makes sure that the household chores are well divided so that her children understand the value of hard work and responsibility.

"We pretty much do everything together including the house chores, groceries and shopping," says the mother of two teenage children. "We as a family have a lot of interest in sports so we watched the Euro Cup and are now watching the Olympics together. Every day, we sleep late watching drama, the current one is 'The Good Doctor.' Normally, my kids don't have time to watch television, so the holiday is the perfect time for it."

"My son got his driving license a few weeks ago and now every day we go out driving around Abu Dhabi so that he can get used to driving. They also like to do Legos and have already finished five."

Some families are also going on long-awaited staycations after completing their vaccinations.

Indian expat Puja Gandhi, whose children are nine and 11, says: "Online schooling during the pandemic has had the kids hooked onto their computer screens for the entire academic year. As a family we were eagerly awaiting the summer vacations to reconnect and focus on spending quality time together."

"We have been engaging in many non-screen indoor activities like cooking, painting, reading and playing board games along with outdoor fun activities like going for beach picnics, desert drives and adventure parks. Though we are not travelling outside the UAE, we are looking forward to our staycation to relax and rejuvenate."

Schools assign holiday projects as family activities

Meanwhile, schools have created Summer Enrichment Programmes that include a range of interesting projects that combine learning with enjoyment.

Sangita Chima, Principal, Amity School Dubai, says: "Summer should be a time of fun and joy for children. This year under the theme 'Summore Fun,' we created daily tasks such as online puzzles, arts and crafts, educational apps, DIY family activities and more for students of all grades. These types of easy tasks are great for developing students' minds and ensuring that they stay connected to learning in some way or form."

According to her, "a number of our students have been using the 'I Start Arabic' application, a new initiative aimed to help children learn to read, speak and understand Arabic. Picking up such skills and techniques over summer can indirectly influence a student's overall academic growth and skill development," she added.

Educationists explain that along with some fun, holiday homework also gives purposeful engagement to students and helps parents maintain a study routine for their children.

Abhilasha Singh, Principal of Shining Star International, Abu Dhabi, notes: "Student engagement and maintaining a routine during holidays is important. For Asian curriculum schools, it is challenging as we already have the first term out of our way. Without a good fun-loving holiday homework, our children come back to school totally washed out of previous knowledge."

"We make holiday assignments interesting and not something which encourages rote or copy-pasting from Google. One interesting aspect of holiday homework this summer is 'Service Learning' for middle school and internship for our senior students. I am looking forward to being back in school to see the project reports."



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