With kids at home, life of parents is not easy!

Harry Walia. Updated: 4/1/2020 10:31:33 AM Front Page

JAMMU: As the realities of being locked down in houses for three weeks is setting in, some parents are finding it difficult to survive and even thrive, as their options to keep their little ones busy and entertained are fizzling out.
“The announcement of lockdown in view of coronavirus pandemic meant children won’t be going to school. It left me panicking about how on earth am I going to make sure they are learning and not just running around the place the whole day!” says Anu of Greater Kailash.
Ahome maker, Anu, then found a few online learning tools, tutorials, and freely available books on internet in a hope that her two girls, aged 10 and 14 years, would spend the lockdown period learning something.
“Some of the parents are asking the government to not give any summer vacations to the children. It would be a better option to save their academic year,” she says adding that the schools are commencing online assignments and learning material for the kids.
Further, to Anu’s relief, her mother-in-law is showing family photo albums to the kids and telling them the stories of their father, which keeps them entertained.
“My daughters are old enough to help me with deep cleaning of the house. I have asked them to clean and arrangetheir own things,” she states.
Bhawna of Trikuta Nagar says that it was easy to stay sane when the children spent a few hours at school.
“My son is too small to understand that neither he nor we can go out amidst this deadly virus scare. He keeps demanding things like toys and games, chips and chocolates, or resort to crying and getting angry. I had stocked for him all that I could, but I am afraid it won’t last until the end of lockdown,” she mentions.
She adds that her son’s curiosity about every tiny thing is difficult to handle these days and that even the internet has run out of options to help her.
Ankush of Canal Road is having tough time dealing with his younger brother, who according to him is seeking his attention all the time.
“I have stuff to do, since for me, lockdown period is not holiday. It is work from home. But with a younger brother in tow, it is a challenge.And I am being asked to behave like an elder sibling. Huh.”he says.
He adds that he gives his brother animated movies to watch on his laptop, suggests cartoons to watch on television, books to read, different types of games to play – on mobile, laptop and physical (indoor), in a bid to keep him busy and away.
“Only if it was sufficient enough. The minute he is free, he comes to me and asks to start fighting, boxing, karate and what not! 21 days is a long long time,” he sighs.
Their mother mentions that lockdown has increased the chances of sibling fights.
“My sons are at often at loggerheads over things like who will eat what, who will do what work, and so on. And at present, because both are at home – irritated, not able to go out and play or eat, they are fighting more,” she says.
Kusum of Gangyal remarks that children need something ‘different’ be it in food, in games, or in activities, and what is that ‘different’, even they don’t know.
“Bas kuch alag chahiye,” she says, adding that she has startedwatching cooking videos on the internet and tried to make new dishes because food can’t be brought or ordered from the market now.
“No more burgers and pizzas. Only home made food. Let’s see how far they can survive this,” she says.
Also, she is trying to engage her kids in activities like art and craft, gardening, basic cooking, and stitching.
“But first you need their consent, if they will do a particular activity or not. And then, also clean the mess! If the idea of any activity looks boring to them, they will not do. Then the quest for another idea begins.” she mentions.
“All this we have to do while we look after other family members who are also home. Did we forget to point out the limited resources we have!” say the mothers.
Meanwhile, the daunting task is for the parents, who are part of essential services and exempted from lockdown, including the government officials.
A Government official, not wishing to reveal his identity, says that he and his wife both are government employees and working during the lockdown too, and their problem is who’ll lookafter their little daughter and son at home.
“Earlier, while coming to the office, I used to leave our daughter at her dadi’s place.My wife used to pick our son after his school, and leave him too at dadi’s place. We brought them back in the evening. Now since there are restrictions on movement, it has become difficult for us to travel along with them to my mother’s, and also we can’t keep them at home, where there is no one to attend them,” he says.
Sujata, a nurse, has called over her mother to look after her daughter while she’s away for duty at hospital.
“When I am sure that my daughter is getting food on time, I can concentrate better on my job,” she says.

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