How well-equipped is this city for those raising infants/toddlers? Specifically, are there public places to change diapers, maintained playgrounds, etc?
Bahrain does not have a great number of parks to take children; however, there are large amusement parks and many soft play areas for them. All clubs have swimming pools and offer swimming lessons for children. Most shopping malls and amusement areas have diaper-changing facilities and play areas.
Where can I get a list of reliable childcare providers/nannies?
There are no agencies for childcare providers or nannies, but most expats find these through word of mouth.
Discuss any safety issues for children in this city.
Bahrain is relatively safe for children; no major hazards come to mind.
What are the most popular kid-friendly attractions in the area?
Magic Island located at Seef Mall and Kids World at Budaiya/Janabiyah are the most popular activities for younger children. They have soft play areas for young children and various play stations with different games and obstacles for children of different ages. Kids World also offers a birthday party facility for children, which includes catering.
What are the most popular activities for kids after school or on weekends?
Many schools hold after-school activities, such as drama, languages, art, computer and technology and sporting activities. Children in Bahrain also tend to be actively involved in horse riding, scouting and girl guides. On weekends, the cinema is very popular with a lot of teenagers. Sleepovers and pool parties are also very popular. Sailing lessons are available for children at the Bahrain Yacht Club and races are frequently held on the weekends.
What's it like to be a teenager in this city? Are there any particular challenges I should be aware of as a parent?
There aren't many major challenges for teenagers in Bahrain. The biggest would be keeping them occupied during the hot season, as it is a little hot to partake in outdoor activities.
Are there any organizations/social groups in the area that cater exclusively to young people ages 12-17?
Not specifically, but there are local guide and scout organizations that cater to children of varying ages. There are three sections to Girl Guides in Bahrain; for example: Rainbow = 5-7 years old, Brownies = 7-10 years old and Girl Guides = 10-14 years old. Each of these divisions holds classes for 1-2 hours each week at various locations. Please contact Crown Bahrain for further details.
I want my child to get the most out of our stay in this country. Are there any specific opportunities to teach young people about the local culture?
Expat children are very fortunate that Bahraini families do integrate into the international schools, therefore they do get the opportunity to make friends with local children and learn about their culture.
There are language institutes where Arabic can be studied. Bahrain has a very extensive history and there are plenty of wonderful books available at the local book stores.
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