Worry about your children adjusting back to UAE life after a summer overseas? Here are our top tips to help you and your child settle back into UAE life quickly…
1. Booking flights
It is never easy to say goodbye to the summer and settle back into UAE life, but alas, all good things must come to an end. When travelling back home, give you and your family a week to settle back into a routine. Spend a few days unpacking and relaxing, but quickly reestablish bedtimes and mealtimes. Remind children the joys of being back home by arranging play-dates or spending quality time with them.
If it is a long journey, it is easier to take a night flight. If you have a long day flight, carefully plan your child’s nap so it falls in the middle of the journey. This will break the journey up for both parent and child. If possible, plan to arrive back into Dubai in the daytime. This makes it easier to get over the jetlag.
2. Saying Goodbye
It is harder for adults to say goodbye than children. For children, they have a whole new adventure of the plane ride and arriving home to occupy their thoughts. Keep goodbyes cheerful. Acknowledge their feelings of sadness and together decide on actions to make the goodbye easier. Make or buy something little as a keepsake of the trip. Take pictures of happy moments and relive those memories on the plane. Talk to your child about going home excitedly. Having something to look forward to makes saying goodbye easier for both parent and adult. This will help you all settle back into UAE life.
3. The Flight.
The flight is the hardest part. Pack little activities to entertain them through the flight. After take off, spend some time recounting the trip. Initiate conversations with these questions – What did you enjoy the most? What could we have done to make it better? Did any part of the journey make you feel unhappy? How do you plan on staying in touch? Pack pencils and paper to recount the trip in pictures or words. Other essentials of a long flight home can include snack, travel games, stickers, iPad with their favorite games and iPad chargers. Introduce one activity at a time. Pack all medicines needed, bottles, and pacifiers and if possible take an extra pair of clothing.
4. Getting Unpacked
Being home has the advantage of unused, clean clothes waiting to be worn, and toys idly waiting for their keepers. Children will happily occupy themselves with these. Keep essentials like pajamas, pacifiers, bottles, or towels in one suitcase to be opened quickly upon arrival.
5. Getting over jetlag quickly
The good thing is that children bounce back quicker from jetlag than adults. If time permits, let the body clock be a rough guide for the first few days back. Spend as much time outdoors as possible and keep afternoon siestas short. Once you have unpacked and have had a day or two of rest, begin to follow your daily routine. Put children to sleep earlier, and everyday move bedtime earlier until you get to the correct bedtime. Consistency is key.
6. Settling back into UAE life
The fastest way to settle back into UAE is to simply start living. It is advisable to have all essentials of school ready before your trip so you don’t have to begin scrambling for those after a fun holiday. Unpack quickly and dive in. Iron uniforms, shop for stationary for school, and arrange a play date or two. Most importantly, talk excitedly about the new school year and how much fun is to be had. Try not to focus on the early starts and snack boxes. It is harder for adults than it is for children. Use this time to recall fun memories of the summer, keep in touch with newly met relatives and enjoy the last bits of summer before the alarm sets off the school year.
7. Remembering the summer
Sadness is reality of life and it is important to embrace the melancholy a child might feel after a trip. Listen actively to how your child is feeling, without correcting their sadness into happiness. Paraphrase their thoughts – “You feel sad because you can no longer play with your cousins”. “You wish you were not in Dubai because you are feeling hot”. Once you affirm their emotions, ask your child how they would like to move forward. “Is there anything in Dubai that brings you happiness?”, “Is there anything we can do to remember these times fondly?”, “How can you ensure you keep in touch with the friends and family you met in the summer?” Staying in touch via email or Skype, making a memory book of photos and souvenirs and fondly reminiscing about the summer makes theses memories special.
8. Looking after ourselves
As mentioned previously, saying goodbye, the flight home and settling into UAE life and routines are much harder on the parent than it is for the child. As adults we completely comprehend who and what we are leaving behind. Use similar strategies for yourself as you do for your child. Plan coffee dates with friends, talk about your trip, indulge in private grumbles about early wake ups and school runs. Most importantly, positively be open with your children about your travel blues and together you will muddle through it.
If your child is still struggling to settle back into UAE life there may be an underlying issue. Please click here if you would like a FREE child development coaching consultation.