Archive for the 'In the News' Category

Indoor or outdoor play area?

How important would it be to you, to have an indoor and outdoor play area for your children, in the development that you live in? Well it seems that a Dubai doctor is trying to get Abu Dhabi government to introduce guidelines, that would require every new development to have these spaces. Read more at The National.

Dr Rajeshree Singhania, a neuro-development doctor in Dubai, urged the Government to recognise the value of play and introduce guidelines that would reserve space in future developments for indoor and outdoor recreation zones.“It’s an appeal to policymakers to accept the concept of play for what it is,” she said. “It is extremely important for a child’s social, physical and mental development and research has shown that free play helps with their emotional development as well.”

Developers should be obliged to include play areas in high rise buildings, in the same way that zoning laws dictate some land-use regulations, she said.

“When you plan a city there are certain laws requiring ‘X’ amounts of green areas per inhabitant. Well, I am of the opinion that all high-rise buildings should have at least some dedicated play areas so kids can have a place to go and play without going out to the roads, where there’s a lot of traffic.”

Dr Singhania is already putting the plan into practice at Dubai’s City of Arabia property project.

Children Watching TV, Good or Bad?

Do you let your baby or toddler watch TV, and just what shows are they watching?  A study in the US says that children under two should not watch any TV, and if they do, it should be educational. Read more at

The research involved children younger than 3, so TV is mostly a no-no anyway, according to the experts. But if TV is allowed, it should be of the educational variety, the researchers said.

Every hour per day that kids under 3 watched violent child-oriented entertainment their risk doubled for attention problems five years later, the study found. Even nonviolent kids’ shows like “Rugrats” and “The Flintstones” carried a still substantial risk for attention problems, though slightly lower.

On the other hand, educational shows, including “Arthur,” “Barney” and “Sesame Street” had no association with future attention problems.

Interestingly, the risks only occurred in children younger than age 3, perhaps because that is a particularly crucial period of brain development. Those results echo a different study last month that suggested TV watching has less impact on older children’s behavior than on toddlers.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television for children younger than 2 and limited TV for older children.

UAE the Intellectual Centre

I think it is nice that UAE wants to be the Intellectual Centre in the region and the world, but to do this, I believe that they need to look at the begin instead of the end of a person’s educational education.  If the UAE wants to be the centre of intellectual they need to start at birth, and through out Early Education, not just Higher Education.  The child’s building blocks of their brain starts at birth and after age seven the blocks are just about finished growing. My wish is to see more importance put on Early Education, to truly give the children of the UAE a better chance when they are in Higher Education.  This in return will truly give the UAE the title of Intellectual Centre in the region and the world.

Khaleej Times:

Speaking at the closing ceremony at Dubai Men’s College, Shaikh Nahyan said: “You (Nobel laureates and experts) brought to the festival great experience, impressive knowledge, superior intellect and a commitment to global progress. The presentations and discussions reflected your conviction that thinkers, acting alone or in concert, have the capacity and the responsibility to effect necessary progress and change.

“I am also hopeful the festival will help establish the United Arab Emirates as a major intellectual centre in the region and the world.”

A sapling was planted as part of the concluding day of the festival.

A panel discussion on the role of educators in preparing creative and responsible citizens was the highlight of the day. University heads spoke about their ideas and plans for educating the younger generation.

Crocs, kids and escalators a bad combination?

It is not something you would think about, Crocs are cute and kids love them.  So why would Crocs be dangrous for your children?  It seems like they can get caught in escalators along with your child’s toes and feet.

Read the full story at CNN.

At rail stations and shopping malls around the world, reports are popping up of people, particularly young children, getting their toes caught in escalators. The one common theme seems to be the clunky soft-soled clogs known by the name of the most popular brand, Crocs.

One of the nation’s largest subway systems — the Washington Metro — has even posted ads warning riders about wearing such shoes on its moving stairways. The ads feature a photo of a crocodile, though they don’t mention Crocs by name.

Four-year-old Rory McDermott got a Croc-clad foot caught in an escalator last month at a mall in northern Virginia. His mother managed to yank him free, but the nail on his big toe was almost completely ripped off, causing heavy bleeding.

At first, Rory’s mother had no idea what caused the boy’s foot to get caught. It was only later, when someone at the hospital remarked on Rory’s shoes, that she began to suspect theCrocs and did an Internet search.

“I came home and typed in ‘Croc’ and ‘escalator,’ and all these stories came up,” said Jodi McDermott, of Vienna, Virginia. “If I had known, those would never have been worn.”

According to reports appearing across the United States and as far away as Singapore and Japan, entrapments occur because of two of the biggest selling points of shoes like Crocs: their flexibility and grip. Some report the shoes get caught in the “teeth” at the bottom or top of the escalator, or in the crack between the steps and the side of the escalator.

The reports of serious injuries have all involved young children. Crocs are commonly worn by children as young as 2. The company introduced shoes in its smallest size, 4/5, this past spring.

Niwot, Colorado-based Crocs Inc. said it does not keep records of the reasons for customer-service calls. But the company said it is aware of “very few” problems relating to accidents involving the shoes, which are made of a soft, synthetic resin.

“Thankfully, escalator accidents like the one in Virginia are rare,” the company said in a statement.

Role model

Does your child have a role model, if so who is your child’s role models? As parents it is something to think about.  Read more about Role Models at Gulf News.

According to Dubai-based psychologist Linda Sakr, role models generally possess characteristics like a sense of obligation towards society, compassion, courage and strength. But, as someone who comes into frequent contact with young people, she says that more children are placing celebrities on a pedestal, replacing traditional role models.

“I find that boys tend to identify with David Beckham, which can be positive, as Beckham does not promote drinking alcohol as it interferes with his performance,” she said. “Girls on the other hand [are identifying] with the likes of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton [who are] not necessarily portrayed as … good [citizens].”

However, according to Linda, there is no real “mystery” surrounding the way in which children are behaving today.

“They are doing what society around them is defining as ‘cool’ and ‘in’,” she told Gulf News. “I feel that [more and more] young people are identifying with celebrities as this offers them a sense of escapism from their daily lives.”

As such, parents have to “learn to be role models in a changing world, preserving a value system that is honourable and lasting”, she said. “Our children are looking up to us to provide this leadership by example.”

Teaching kids about money

Have you thought about how you are going to teach your children about money and how to manage their money?  Well the Gulf News has an article about just that, here are some hi lights.

There is a wealth of information on how to introduce money and financial responsibility to your kids but how much and what you can actually absorb and implement at home is the trick.

For example, engaging children in financial decisions sounds like a good suggestion. But when and how far is the question.

This is actually what you should be doing. Even though it may sound complicated at the beginning, a brief discussion of how a longer or shorter repayment period of finance will affect the monthly payment can also give her/him an insight into basic finance information.

Informing them of your budget and getting them to exclude models that fall beyond it can teach them how to live within their means.

Of course, you may find out it remains your decision when it comes to such big spending items. But on the day to day spending, it won’t hurt to let them make some affordable decisions.

Grocery shopping is a good opportunity, where you can let them pick and choose. But remember not to interfere every time you see them making a wrong decision. Otherwise you’re blocking all the benefit of learning how to live with the consequences of their decisions and avoid repeating them.

Meanwhile, you need to make it clear to them if your decision isn’t money-inspired. In the case of the manipulative kid above, the father’s decision may have been based on trying to cut her hours of playing computer games rather than avoiding to pay the twenty dollars.

While such controls on spending are essential, you need also to teach your kids how to earn or value earning money and how to share their possessions.

While unpaid house chores can teach children team work and loyalty to the family, encourage them to take part in paid activities or summer jobs once they are old enough.

Additionally, share – within reason – the family financial status whether good or bad. So a bonus would mean going on a vacation or fulfilling an item of their wish list, and losing a job or unexpected expenses would give them a reference for tightening future spending.

After junk food, children fall prey to junk sleep

Does your child or teenager get enough sleep, or does electronics keep them from getting the sleep they need?

Read more at Gulf News.

UAE health experts warn that gadgets, such as television, computers and musical devices, in the bedroom distract teenagers from getting enough sleep, backed up by a UK survey on 1,000 teenagers.

The survey found that a third of the 12 to 16-year-olds slept between four to seven hours a night, suffering from ‘junk sleep’.

The average recommended sleep time for teenagers and adults is seven to eight hours, according to Dr Maxwell Kayed, clinical neurophysiologist who specialises in sleep disorders at British Medical Consulting Centre.

“The amount of sleep depends on the person, but most people need eight hours,” he said.

“(But) I think lots of kids are sleep-deprived. When they come in with headaches to our clinic, parents bring up the point that they are staying up late, surfing the internet and playing games,” he said.

He told Gulf News that sleep was very important for teenagers because it consolidated their memories and helped them organise their thoughts. It also refreshes their mind.

If a teenager is deprived of sleep, he or she becomes drowsy during the day, making them less attentive and unable to concentrate in class, which in turn will affect their studies.

Dr Kayed laid the blame of junk sleep mainly at parents’ door, saying that they did not view the issue seriously enough and disregarded the effect of electronic gadgets on their teenagers’ sleeping habits.

“They treat it as a secondary problem, rather than a primary problem. Nowadays, parents work and as long their kids are in their bedroom then they are not bothered what the kids do in it,” he said.

UAE orders withdrawal of Mattel toys

The Ministry of Economy has ordered the removal of all Mattel toys from the market.  If you have purchased a Mattel toy you can reimbursement for it.  The article does not state just how you go about this reimbursement.  The ordered withdraw comes of the heels of the major US recall of toys that have dangerous toxins like lead.  Please take a look and if you have any of these toys that my have dangerous toxins, removal them at once from your children.

Read more about the recall at Gulf News.

Abu Dhabi: The UAE Ministry of Economy on Tuesday ordered the withdrawal of Mattel toys from the market.

A senior official on Tuesday said the ministry reached an agreement with Al Shula General Trading, distributor of the Mattel toys in the UAE, committing it to withdraw the hazardous products from the market, and to reimburse the consumers who hold valid receipts.

“The distributor has agreed to withdraw all products from the UAE market, and to make a public announcement requesting buyers to come forward with their receipts for refund,” Abdullah Al Saleh, first undersecretary of the ministry, told Gulf News on Tuesday.

Mattel Inc., an American company, is the largest toy manufacturer worldwide based on revenues. Its products include Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, Barbie dolls, and board games.

This month they recalled 20 million toys produced in China because of health concerns, including the presence of poisonous lead and cancer causing substances, as well as poorly-fitted magnetic parts, with the Chinese blaming 85 per cent of the defects on the poor design.

“The toys have already been withdrawn, and the ministry told the authorities to monitor the markets and withdraw any existing products,” he added.

The ministry has also briefed the Gulf Cooperation Council general secretariat on the developments.

The distributor, which advertised the recall, has committed to continue its campaign.

“All the affected items have been removed from the market and we will refund the customers or exchange it for a product of a similar value regardless of the condition of the recalled product,” Dinu Philip, Al Shula’s marketing manager, said.

Babies not as innocent as they pretend

It seems that children learn at an early age to see just how far they can go with their parents and other adults, this is according to study at University of Portsmouth’s psychology department. Read more at

Behavioural experts have found that infants begin to lie from as young as six months. Simple fibs help to train them for more complex deceptions in later life.

Until now, psychologists had thought the developing brains were not capable of the difficult art of lying until four years old.
Infants quickly learnt that using tactics such as fake crying and pretend laughing could win them attention. By eight months, more difficult deceptions became apparent, such as concealing forbidden activities or trying to distract parents’ attention.

By the age of two, toddlers could use far more devious techniques, such as bluffing when threatened with a punishment.

Dr Reddy said: “Fake crying is one of the earliest forms of deception to emerge, and infants use it to get attention even though nothing is wrong. You can tell, as they will then pause while they wait to hear if their mother is responding, before crying again.

“It demonstrates they’re clearly able to distinguish that what they are doing will have an effect. This is essentially all adults do when they tell lies, except in adults it becomes more morally loaded.”

She added: “Later it becomes more sophisticated by saying, ‘I don’t care’ when threatened with a punishment – when they clearly do.”

Dr Reddy thinks children use early fibs to discover what kinds of lie work in certain situations, and also learn the negative consequences of lying too much.

New children’s library established in UAE

(MENAFN) A doctor at the Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalid Al Nahyan Cultural and Religious Center in Al Ain said that a children’s library has recently been established in the city, Khaleej Times reported.

He went on to say that the new library is known as Ajyal Al Mostaqbal or Future Generations library and is said to be one of the foremost projects undergone by the childern’s center in Al Ain.

It is noteworthy that that the recently established library will provide assistance to UAE children between the ages of six and sixteen and that the library currently holds hundreds of books on culture, arts, religion, and science.