As the school year draws to a close, we’ve also reached that weather stage where we wish there was a fully air-conditioned invisible cloak we could put on, to make it from our cars to the door without melting! So I don’t blame anyone (off on school holidays or not) who says ‘I can't wait to get out of here!'; after all, we’re only adaptable up to a point...
But needs must, and some of us do choose to (or have to) brave summer in the desert. Having done so myself with a toddler in tow for several years, here are some tips to help you feel ‘cool’ (pun intended) about staying in the heat (plus, just think: by the time your friends come back in September and have to reacclimatize while dealing with jetlag, you'll be streets ahead!).
- ‘It’s oh so quiet!’
So everyone's upped and left for cooler climates - so what? ENJOY the peace and quiet. It means you can stop worrying about rush hour, bad traffic and long queues. It will take you a lot less to get from A to B and it will make for a less stressful drive. Car parks and shops will be quiet and you’ll have time to notice and explore new shops and places. Remember that ‘to-do’ list you made for when the weather got hot and the roads emptier? It’s time you start your summer adventure in Dubai!
2. Summer camps and playdates
There are plenty of places to explore and things to do with your children indoors, but if you cannot or don’t want to be their playmate all day every day (I personally need a bit of my own space and time), then one place they’re guaranteed to have lots of fun is at a summer camp. We really are spoilt for choice in finding the right one in terms of flexibility, stimulation and budget. Or if you’re lucky enough to have a couple of friends staying behind too, then taking turns in hosting playdates is also a really good option for keeping the kids social and your coffee mornings fairly up to date.
3. Stock up on fun items
Before the summer holiday starts I try to collect a few new toys, puzzles and games, arts and crafts bits and bobs (the recent sales have helped me a lot with that!) which I’m planning to introduce on a weekly or fortnightly basis to keep things fun at home. Once you get into it, you’ll actually love being creative with your child and you’d be surprised of how many activities you can come up with that will stimulate the children and tire them out.
4. Bag a summer deal
Here's another major scoring point for staycationers! There are always loads of offers available as businesses go quiet, so this is your chance to try out a few swimming pools and entertainment options that you might have and most shopping malls will provide free summer entertainment and activities for kids.
Read more: 5 Deals to save parents money on kids' entertainment over the Dubai summer
5. Transform the indoors
I know nothing beats real fresh air and lush greenery, but if you’re into home décor, you can always add a few touches that will mentally transport you outdoors (it’s what interior designers call the 'transterior' area), and it’ll be a good time to de-clutter and reorganize too. You’ll also be surprised at how willing your little ones are to go through boxes of random things they haven’t seen in a while or to give some of their old toys a good bath.
6. Ice cream outings
You have to keep cool somehow so ice cream everyday it is! And don’t stop at the typical ice cream cone - go large and hunt down all the amazing places that do ice cream on a completely different level, one day at a time! Kids will adore the hilarious novelty ice faces sculpted at Eyescream and Friends in Festival City, while you can't beat Serendipity 3 in City Walk for awesome sundaes.
7. Time your pool or beach outing
Yes, it is hot outside, but if you time it well and have early risers like mine, there are pockets of weather and unexpected breezes that make the outdoors available even if it is for one hour so you can get your daily dosage of Vitamin D. Don’t forget to send a few pics to your friends who may be complaining it’s been pouring down with rain for most of their holiday elsewhere!
8. Make new friends
There's a real camaraderie between those of us still in the UAE over summer - this is the time when you’re likely to bump into neighbours you’ve never noticed before and people will be willing to strike up conversations and offer their support to another Dubai summer hero. We’re all in it together!
9. Get ready for the new school year
You have no excuse to leave it to the last minute to buy things in preparation for the new school year. Use the down time and special offers to bag a few items and get the children excited about returning to school.
10. Attitude is everything!
Most importantly try not to complain about the weather and focus instead on all the positive aspects of spending summer in Dubai. Write down three things you’re grateful for every day and pretend you’re a tourist in Dubai, a lucky one who can return home every day! You’ll end up loving your staycation!
Whatever you're doing, your summer holidays will be what you make of them. If the most important thing is to spend time with your loved ones then it doesn’t matter if we look out the window into the blazing sun or the pouring rain.
Happy holidays everyone and safe travels!
As a mother to a spirited two-year old girl, Alina loves to write about the funny side of motherhood - even if there aren’t enough funny moments in her day.
Read more: 'My Summer Survival'