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(Opinion) Parenting in the time of COVID19

By Touseefa Maqbool

Covid-19 has brought the rapid shift in family lives all the way through the globe. We may feel overwhelmed, fearful and emotionally fragile perhaps also restless, bored and helpless with so much uncertainty, but how can we navigate this range of emotions? Remember Covid-19 is not the first calamity in the form of virus to threaten humanity and most probably it will not be the last. Allah (swt) has bestowed human beings with certain capabilities, stress-management skills that help us to stay calmer during such stressful and traumatic situations – we must not do away with such qualification of management in these pathetic times.

We are fighting the identified yet unheard of the battle and there is no clarity on how long the situation will last. So we need to utilize effective strategies to strengthen families to respond, care and protect the future of our children. At the same time we ought to acknowledge that we are not alone in this anonymous battle of suffering. Whole world is under lockdown these days. During this pandemic, let we appreciate all the good that happens to us and do not surrender our potency to tragedies. Take it in. Relish it. Live it. It’s ours.

 

But on the other side of the page we have adolescent members in our families and it is much easier said than done for us to handle them, because children are always in excited motion and call for and demand our proper guidance and utmost care. For many people, just keeping children busy and safe at home is a daunting prospect. For those living in low-income and crowded households, these challenges are exacerbated. Evidences show that violence and vulnerability increases for children during periods of school closures associated with health emergencies. As parents we can do a lot to make our children comfortable at home and build the bond stronger.

Here are some parenting tips which may be fruitful in keeping the juvenile lot busy in a healthy and productive way.

Take care of yourself; the first thing that children need to stay calm during difficult times is a parent (or caregiver) who stays calm during difficult times – know that these are the sow and reap circumstances. If you are feeling panicked or overwhelmed, do whatever you can to regulate yourself before attempting to calm your child.

Keep your kids busy as much as possible. Talk to them in a positive way about any frightening news they hear and prepare them to tackle it through a better way.

Share a fair discourse with them, continue to ask them what new things they have heard about the virus, to correct misinformation and answer their questions honestly.

Point out things that you may witness difficult to handle for them like schooling is being canceled plus fear bearing lockdown, and parents have to cope up with their professional work from home, people aren’t going outside etcetera.

Draw their attention towards the things that goes still same, like you are still having your favorite food or playing your favorite games.

For providing them attention we must keep our phones away for set periods of time and shun away other pointless tasks. Otherwise our kids may fall prey to mental and emotional commotions. 

Come up with the realistic respond to their questions and queries. If your children have questions about anything, answer them honestly. If you don’t know, it’s ok to say “I don’t know, I have to think about it”. Our little ones need us to project a calm, clear confidence. As the Kashmiri saying goes “ Kokur tachaan pout hechaan” – The hen scratches and chicken learns.
 

Kids being little balls of curiosity get bored of the same activity very quickly and are constantly looking for new challenges. So let’s spend some quality time with them, play with them, tell those short stories, and walk/run with them and role play with them using their toys.

Involve your child with your daily household chores like cooking, washing, gardening, grove tasks, cleaning. 


Engage your children actively in drawing, painting, book reading and memorizing short chapters of Quran and thought provoking games(if any) may suffice in keeping them entertained and productive learning.

Lastly, I would like to conclude with a Hadith, Ibn Abbas reported: “The Prophet (PBUH) said, there are two blessings which many people waste-Health and Free time” (Al-Bukhari 6044). 

Alhamdulillah! We are in a state of good health and having ample time to utilize it in a productive way before it is too late, let’s help each other to promote a happier, more compassionate society. Last but not least, we must come forward to help others. It should be our natural extension and we must make this the chief purpose of our life in these critical times, whether that demands support through any means. Stay home and Stay safe. 

(The author is an educator at Aarifeen School of Excellence, Delina, Baramulla)