The coronavirus pandemic that has led to the worldwide lockdown, has definitely played a great role in changing our family life. With people at home every single day, stuck with work and worry, it does get difficult to manage life, especially when there are children at home too.
No one had prepared us for this but perhaps that’s why we have learnt valuable lessons for a lifetime during this period. Since children are now in the safety of their homes the entire day, parents, while juggling between house work, office work and all other work in general, are getting a lot of time to spend with them. The good thing is that this has put a lot of focus on parenting and more importantly, on building relationship with their children. But spending 24 hours with a child can be challenging since they are full of energy, doubts and curiosity and get bored soon too.
Parents all over the world are trying to keep their children engaged in fun activities and are also inculcating good habits in them.
Talking to a few parents, we find out how they have managed to handle their children during the lockdown.
Schedules are important
Akshita Jain, a US resident currently in India, says that as soon as she realised that the country was going in a complete lockdown phase, she knew she had to maintain their pre-lockdown schedule, not only to get things done but also to treat every day as a normal day. “My son being home now, I had to see that he did not miss out on his school routine even though the school was shut, by drawing up a schedule. He is still taking his lessons, reading, writing, painting, playing the piano and so much more. Had the schedule been missing, he would have found it difficult to cope up,” says Jain.
She points out that this has definitely helped her entire family to hold the fort and more importantly, has increased the importance of getting things done at the right time so that there are no compromises. “My son, Prem is a teenager. In this age group, youngsters seem to pick up on the energies that surround them. As parents, we have realised that we have to keep ourselves happy and motivated to get through the day. The minute we show that we are agitated and start putting restrictions, children start resenting it. So it is important to deal with things with under- standing and compassion when it comes to children,” says Jain.
Keeping the spirit high
The way adults think of the pandemic is vastly different from the way a child looks at it. Same is the case with Vrishali Singh’s son, Ranveer. Singh explains that for him, it’s more like ‘people need to stay home so that the virus gets washed out’. “Being an introvert, he always enjoyed his time at home. However, when it is an indefinite lockdown, things can go haywire, more so with children. So we had to adapt to the new normal in ways suitable not only for adults but even for kids,” she says. The Denmark-based mother says that she started engaging him in more virtual activities so that he could be busy and away from the hard-hitting reality of the crisis. “You never know how a child will react to a crisis. So, I knew I had to keep his spirits high,” she says. She explains that they put up positive notes, did fun activities like baking, painting,dancing and karaoke together to give him a sense of normalcy. As parents, they have even eased certain restrictions on him like waking up early for school, so that he can get enough sleep and has energy to stay active through the day.
The parents have also taken up a practical route of explaining the meaning of compassion to him by indulging in activities like feeding birds daily. “Since we now have our meals together, communicating has become easy and we’re able to understand and address his concerns from time to time,” she points out.
A balancing act
For Delhi-based Bornali Ghosh, who has two children at home, working from home is a bit challenging. “As parents, we thought that we would get to spend a lot of time with our kids but what we also realised was that children themselves have a packed schedule— school work, activities, quizzes and the time they want to play,” she says.
Even if these seem to be small things to do, for the kids, they form a major part of their lives. So through the ongoing lockdown, as parents, they’ve understood that it is important to let kids have their space and time. “Of course, there are times when they need our help, and it is important to make ourselves available to help them deal with certain things. It gives them a sense of confidence which is important,” says Ghosh.
While her son keeps himself busy with a lot of school work, he even creates quizzes and tests for his parents, and her daughter, who is small, has been introduced to the concept of fruits and vegetables. Ghosh says that since both her kids are in different age groups, they have realised that they need to bond well with both. So when the couple is not working, they make sure to have meals together, play with the kids and talk, even though the little one has very limited vocabulary.