| Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Parenting tips

Dubai is peppered with parks that provide welcome pockets of green serenity from the mayhem of the city. We pick the best.

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• Talk to your kids about what they really like to do Consider activities they take an interest in watching or reading about. If your daughter is glued to the TV every time competitive ice skating comes on, it’s likely she’ll enjoy trying out the sport herself.

• Watch your children When do they seem most fulfilled? They don’t have to be deliriously happy every second to find a truly sense of achievement, but if they lack eagerness and seem reluctant to participate, listen.

• Expose your kids to a variety of options before choosing How will your son know how much he loves blo-karting if he doesn’t know it exists?

• Remind your children that your love for them and approval of them isn’t connected to their performance in sports or the arts The fear of disappointing their parents has driven many kids to feel depressed or stressed, often to their detriment.

• Remember that success doesn’t always equate to happiness Five minutes at any Dubai nightclub will prove that sometimes the people who dance the worst love it the most. Ditto for those who sing in the shower.

• Allow for plenty of unstructured play time as long as the kids are happy and safe, they can go nuts and you can get dinner on the table undisturbed.

• Allow your children to be responsible for the choices they make Extracurricular activities provide those teachable moments that require kids to keep up with equipment, manage their time, and stick with practice sessions.


• Live through your kids Don’t push them to get involved in all the activities you wished you could do when you were a kid. If you still harbour dreams of becoming a prima ballerina, enroll in your own class, but don’t force your kids to become the person you never were.

• Try to fill every single time slot on your calendar More and more experts agree that children need at least some time every day to relax with no expectations placed on them.

• Confuse a kid’s agreement to participate in a particular activity with his desire to actually do it Most children – especially during the preteen years – are eager to please and may try to gain your approval by getting involved in what they think you want them to like rather than what they actually like.

• Make any financial commitments Not until you and your child feel reasonably sure that they want to pursue the activity for a period of time. Before buying expensive equipment or paying for a series of classes, give your child some time to try it out and see if they like it. Make sure they understand what challenges they may face as she continues to learn.

• Let your kid give up too soon Trial and error will be a necessary evil, but if you let your child quit the minute the going gets tough he’ll never learn the joy that comes with accomplishment or overcoming difficulties to achieve a goal. Those activities can provide an easy way for you to teach them about delayed gratification.

• Choose an activity simply because a friend is doing it or it’s convenient for you Loyalties come and go between kids, especially young ones, and you don’t want your kid committed to an activity on the sole basis of what may turn out to be a fleeting relationship.

• Judge yourself by your kids’ successes and failures Even if your kid doesn’t turn out to be a child protégé, you’re still a good parent. Your unrealistic expectations may suck the joy right out of an activity your child might have enjoyed if you’d given him the space to succeed or fail naturally.

By Karen Iley
Time Out Dubai,

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