Help for Expats with Children in Abu Dhabi
If you moved or plan on moving to Abu Dhabi, you'll be pleased to know that the large expat community there is well catered for when it comes to raising children.
There are numerous organisations, facilities and institutions that provide invaluable support, as well as the chance to socialise with other parents and children, some provided by the government, some by businesses and some by the community itself. Here are a few of the best.
Abu Dhabi Mums
This voluntary membership organisation has over 600 members from 70 different countries and is open to all parents. They lay on various activities ranging from infant massage and rhythm and song groups for pre-school children, through to a pony club during the school holidays.
The groups meet at various locations around Abu Dhabi and membership costs AED 150 per family per annum. They’re also in permanent need of volunteers to help run the organisation.
There are more than a hundred nursery schools in Abu Dhabi, with curriculums based on UK (30), US (29), Arabic (32), French (4) and Indian (7) models. Children as young as 1 month old are taken by some schools and services are offered for up to 5 days per week.
Nursery fees range from around AED 10,000 per year to around AED 70,000 per year for the highly regarded Montessori nurseries.
Source: Flickr | Thomas Galvez
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This is a tricky problem to solve in Abu Dhabi since the hiring of part time ‘maids’ is technically against the law. You’ll need to rely on word of mouth to find and hire unofficial babysitters. Parents groups are good places to ask around and it’s worth checking the notice board at your local nursery school to see if any of the staff are offering their services on the side.
With year round warm weather, swimming pools and parks aplenty and a large community of expat children, Abu Dhabi should keep even the most active kids occupied most of the time. But no matter where you are in the world, school holidays are a constant battle against boredom. Here are some diversions that should help fill the gaps:
Located on Yas Island this waterpark is open year round from 10am to 6pm and has tons of rides and attractions to keep the young ones happy. Just remember to keep topping up the sunscreen.
Source: Flickr | Sarah_Ackerman
Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort
The UAE’s biggest zoo is roughly a two hour drive away in Al Ain. It’s definitely worth making the trip at least once: there are 197 species of wildlife including lions and hippos, all in spacious enclosures. Opening hours vary throughout the year so be sure to check before making the trip.
Mall Fun Zones
Many of Abu Dhabi’s malls lay on ‘Fun Zones’ which , for a fee, will keep the tykes occupied long enough for mum and dad to enjoy a quiet coffee. The best are found at Khalidiyah Mall, Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi Mall and Al Wahda Mall which offers Strike Zone - a kind of laser quest with rubber bullets.