Five cost-free ways to manage the kids this summer

Five cost-free ways to manage the kids this summer
26 June 2013

Let’s face it, for most parents here, summer is tough – usually because the kids have got cabin fever, and the only way for you to break the bickering cycle is to take them to a mall – which of course, means spending some money. Right? Wrong. Here are five fail-safe ways to help you get through the hot hols with your sanity and your wallet intact.


Kids love routine. It’s a fact, and very often the reason why they behave themselves so much better at school than they do at home. Make sure their days at home have a strict routine too, from the time they get up (get dressed and brush teeth – no slobbing around in their pyjamas for 10 weeks) to the time they go to bed (around the usual o’clock on a school day). If you have no excursions planned for the day, make sure they have plenty to do from Lego time and art in the mornings to helping with lunch and having storytime in the afternoon. Obviously, too many ‘at home’ days would drive anyone crazy, but if you plan your time well, three a week with a busy ‘activity day’ in between each one, works well.

Talk to other parents

Get in touch with the other parents in your child’s year group at school and find out how many of them are around for the summer – and when. A recent poll by Time Out Dubai showed that 50% of the respondents would be keeping their families in the UAE over the summer. Email each other and put together a timetable of playdates. If you can schedule two a week, your holidays will look better already.

Share the burden

Summer camps can be really expensive – especially if only one parent in the household is working. Volunteer to do a minicamp at your house in the mornings for three/five days. The following week, another mum can take over and so on. If you plan it well with enough parents involved, you could get away with just two mini-camps for the entire duration. If your kids are still driving you nuts, book them into a paid camp for just one or two days a week as a back-up. That shouldn’t break the bank.

Swim, swim swim!

It’s one of the very best exercises around, it's perfect when it's hot, and most kids here love the water. Plus even if you don’t have access to a pool on your compound, you probably have a good friend who does, and will be happy to share it with you. Make it part of their routine to take a swim every morning. Not only will it exercise them well, it will also exhaust the naughtiness out of them too. Better still, invite friends along to join them to make it more fun.  

Limit screen time

It’s easy to let the electronic babysitter take over from you for a while, but be warned that excessive use of computers, iPads and TV’s will probably make your kids more hyper-active and emotionally challenging once you get around to switching them off again. While many experts don’t believe that television and the like cause bad behaviour, we’re not convinced. There is a huge body of parental anecdotal evidence to suggest otherwise. Switch off the TV for a week and limit the iPad to one 20 minute session per day, and you’ll see the difference. 

How are you planning on surviving summer with the kids? 


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