It’s easy to get caught up in the logistics of everyday life; sometimes the day feels more like a checklist of hourly tasks rather than a series of fun and meaningful interactions with my loved ones. As I lay in bed at each night I find myself wondering where the fun was, if I connected with my children or spouse, or was there even much consciousness about anything we did? As much as mothers want to make every moment with their kids count, it’s difficult to always have the time, clarity, or focus needed to be present all the time. This is especially true if you are juggling more than one child and they are all vying for your attention or need help (with everything) at some point (all the time!).
That’s why I’m a firm believer in mommy and child “dates.” Being very deliberate about carving out time to spend with each child individually is very important in making your child feel loved and secure. In fact, when my kids are exhibiting behavior problems, I immediately try to spend alone time together and find that it usually works wonders to get us re-aligned with one another. This doesn’t mean my child’s behavior miraculously changes overnight, but our re-connection helps me react in a more positive and calm manner, which is what helps them get back on track.
So if you’d like to start mommy and child dates, here are a few suggestions. But first, the rules:
In an ideal world, I would have a date with each child at least once a week. But, I find that creating unrealistic goals for my family and myself is a sure way to fail at something so I prefer to aim for a monthly mandatory date and try to fit in another date whenever the opportunity arises. So first set your own realistic goals based on your family’s lifestyle.
- Only one child at a time, this is about individual and full attention
- No other adults…really, I have to stress that this is just about the two of you
- The activity must require mother and child interaction (i.e., no cinema dates or dropping them off somewhere while you get your nails done)
- No gadgets! This includes phones and cameras. Yes, the date still exists even if you don’t Instagram it.
So where in Abu Dhabi can moms take their kids for these mama/kid dates?
Art Beat: For those of you who love to bond while doing something artistic, Art Beat is the perfect spot to do just that. Choose from activities that include ceramic, canvas, glass, porcelain, fabric painting, decoupage (my favorite), and clay modelling.
- Location: Muroor Rd. (4th St) and Al Dhafra st. (25th St)
- Phone: 02 444 5135
- Prices: start from AED 10
Hello Kitty Spa or Mimi Spa (located in Anahata Spa): For something a bit more indulgent for little girls and which will appeal to a slightly older child, try the mini massages, or the chocolate fondue wrap or scrub at Mimi Spa. And FYI, if you’re looking for a child friendly hairdo for a special event, Mimi Spa offers a variety of braids and styling. Call ahead to make sure the services you want are age appropriate for your children.
- Mimi Spa Location: GPS Coordinates: 54 34 52 E – 24 25 22 N; Khalifa City A
- Phone: 02 557 7722
- Email: email@example.com
- Hello Kitty Spa Location: Level 2M, House of Fraser, World Trade Center
- Phone: 02 447 5210
- Price: Kitty Combo mani and pedi, AED 110
Little World Discovery Center: This may not strike you as the most natural place to have a date with your child, but in my experience younger kids love to play with their parents and Little World is a great place to do this – just avoid the jungle gym for as long as possible! You can do a little art together, make up a play, or pretend play in the real world areas.
- Location: Nation Towers Galleria, Corniche
- Phone: 02 681 8824
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ice Skating/Bowling at Zayed Sports City: I can think of no better place to spend the summer months than at the ice rink. Ice skating is a great activity to teach your child to take risks and to learn a new skill together. Sessions are 90 minutes, and they start and end at specific times so make sure you arrive at the beginning of a session to make full use of the time. If you’re a little on the cautious side, don’t worry because you can rent helmets. As for bowling, be aware that the bowling alley may be loud and full of teenagers. This could be a great opportunity to talk about what it means to be a teenager and discuss how you as a family will be during your child’s teenage years.
- Abu Dhabi Ice Rink: Suitable from 4+ years. An ice marshall will help for 5 minutes to teach beginners how to skate and safety helmets available at an extra charge of AED 10. Skate rentals are AED 45 for 90 minutes. Timings differ on a daily basis, so make sure you call beforehand. Ask about their Disco Sessions!
- Location: Zayed Sports City
- Phone: 02 403 4333
- Khalifa International Bowling Center: Suitable from 6+ years
- Location: Zayed Sports City
- Phone: 02 403 4648
The Reading Tree: The Reading Tree has several reading programs aimed at young children, and both the Jammie Jam Thursdays and Rise & Shine programs are designed to be inclusive of parents. For kids who love books, reading and stories, this is a great activity to do with them. Register to get updates.
Have any recommendations for other mother and child date spots in Abu Dhabi? Why not leave your suggestions in the comments!