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Parenting in the pandemic

Parents of young children share with NT BUZZ  how
they have explained the coronavirus crisis

to their little ones and are keeping them occupied


While most of us are aware of the dangers of the deadly coronavirus, explaining the enormity of the situation in simple terms to young children and why they can’t step out of the house can be a tough task. Crankiness, boredom, and questions galore are some of the issues they have to cope with.

Schools have introduced fun ways of washing hands and have provided information on coronavirus in a much better format than us parents. But children are curious to know our take on the virus too. As kids, they ask different questions all the time. We should keep talking to them and clearing their doubts as much as we can. I keep my kid busy by teaching her to make homemade ice creams, some easy desserts, cookies, etc. She is also helping out with household chores; cleaning her shoe rack and study drawers. We have fancy dress sessions for our entertainment and play kids’ movies at home served with popcorn. As adults, we panic and are overwhelmed with everything going on around in the world. We should follow the guidelines issued by WHO but also, like our children, enjoy the little things in life.

Jyoti Saxena, Porvorim, mother of a six-year-old girl

My two daughters know about the novel coronavirus and the havoc it has wreaked. They have understood the situation and are okay with it. The first two days, however, were the most trying for them, as they wanted to go out to play and dance. However, they both like to draw and keep themselves occupied in that way in the morning. My older daughter especially is fond of books and writing small scripts so the isolation hasn’t affected her as much. The younger one is following her example. In the afternoon, they watch cartoons and, in the evenings, we take them to the courtyard and show them birds and butterflies. We then pray and a poem recital follows.

Girish Shirodkar, Bicholim, father of girls aged nine and six, and a toddler

I’ve explained the situation to my son in a very calm tone so that he isn’t scared but understands the gravity of the situation we all find ourselves in. He has handled this brilliantly and though he spends more time on gadgets now, he also helps me with chores around the house.

Jonquil Sudhir, Porvorim,
 mother of a nine-year-old boy

This lockdown was a very weird situation for my kids as they began wondering how they could be promoted to the next class without any final exams. Since my kids were aware of COVID-19 through school, I did not have much trouble explaining to them that they have to stay at home or use masks and sanitiser. My kids are happy as now they get to spend time with both their parents. We entertain them with indoor games, music, gardening, television, household chores, and food. We play carrom or cards and this makes them feel comfortable and secure.

Shraddha Gururaj Dalal,
Taleigao, mother of eight-year-old twin girls

It is my son’s birthday in a few days’ time. Long back he had told me that he wants colourful balloons for his birthday. However, the other day he told me, “Mumma, I don’t want balloons and gifts for my birthday. There is a big monster virus in the market and it’s very dangerous so we will stay at home.” If a toddler can understand this, why can’t the so-called educated adults be responsible and stay indoors?

Aarti Nayak, Margao, mother of a four-year-old boy

My son was very happy when he learned that he would get a long vacation in advance without answering his exams but was very disappointed that he was not allowed to go out and play with his friends. I explained to him that since there is a wave of germs floating in the air outside, he and his friends would fall sick. Now he and his elder sister spend their time sketching, playing carrom, and watching television. I also keep him occupied with storybooks. He even helps me in watering the plants and keeping his room neat. He is waiting for germs to clear up so that he can go out and play with his friends like before.

Neelam Dalvi, Fatorda, mother of a nine-year-old
boy and a 13-year-old girl

I’m a little lucky because my kids fit into the age group bracket where they don’t actually understand what is going on. They love the idea of being home with us. We do a lot of puzzles, art and craft. We spend the early evening in the yard playing football, tag, etc. My husband and I make a lot of activity sheets for them. It helps keep my son in touch with the concepts they study in school. We also do a lot of reading and baking in the afternoon. We’ve reserved the television for an ‘in case of emergency break this glass’ situation.

Gabriella Monte Da Silva, Bambolim, mother of a four-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl

I have explained to my daughter that there are some big germs outside and people can fall sick if they go out. She keeps repeating this to us if we ask her why she can’t go out. While it’s mostly working, sometimes she asks if the germs are gone and she can go out to play in the park. She also wants to go to the window to check if anyone is roaming outside. She engages in colouring, drawing and some school practice work activities, besides playing with her toys. We also sit with her and read books and play ludo. She does get cranky though from time to time. Also, with regards to food, she is bored of the same thing and wants variety which is now difficult to source.

Carol Saldanha, Panaji, mother of a four-year-old girl

Fortunately, my daughters didn’t have any problem with staying at home. They clearly understood the reason. Both of them seem happy playing with each other. In the mornings, they are learning things like quilling and cooking dishes. My wife is also teaching them to perform various tasks needed in day-to-day life like putting on the washing machine, cleaning prawns, grating coconut, washing utensils, mopping and sweeping. Parents can use this golden opportunity to teach kids such vital life skills and it is also a great time for family bonding. In the evenings they watch television for some time. I also play card games and read out some stories to them. We also watch some movies together.

Amey Hegde, Margao, father of girls aged five and 10

While my son and daughter play in the hall, it’s getting tough to get them to distance themselves socially. They are bored and can’t play with other children. They are catching on sleep too, but I have to be a tyrant and yell and shout because despite knowing what’s happening they are not taking it very seriously. But I’m happy that they are not panicking.

Laxman, Siolim, father of a five-year-old boy
and a nine-year-old girl

My son is coping well as he has understood that if he doesn’t follow good habits, he could fall sick and it could be fatal. We have shown him videos about the spread of the virus and shown him visually how he needs to stay at home and avoid direct contact with people.

Ashley Delaney, Saligao, father of a six-year-old boy

My kids have understood the current scenario and keep washing their hands. I have explained to them about the virus with a practical demo of pepper powder in water and what happens when they wash their hands.

Leevlyn Pereira, Saligao, mother of a six-year-old boy and a four-year-old girl

Explaining the situation to my kids has been one of the toughest things. In my son’s case, there is no problem, he is young and as long as he can play on the lawn, he is fine. My daughter though has been longing to leave the house to visit her grandmother. She also asks me a lot of questions about coronavirus like where it came from, how some people have recovered even though there is no medicine, etc. I have explained to her that those who did not listen, didn’t take care of themselves, and went out of the house – they are the ones who got it. I keep updating myself on what’s happening in the world and explain the same accordingly to her.

Alister Gomes, Siolim, father of a two-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl

 (Compiled by Anna Fernandes, Christine Machado, Danuska Da Gama and Ramandeep Kaur)

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