Seemanthini: Due to the Corona lock down, schools are shut, and children are at home. One finds several memes and news articles to acknowledge and support overwhelmed parents. But what about the children? How are they feeling? I got curious and asked my 10-year-old son. What he shared was eye opening, giving me much to think about.
Seemanthini’s son: I have been home for almost 10 days with my mother, father and younger sister.
When I first heard about a virus spreading sickness in the world, I felt very scared. Are we going to fall sick and die? What will happen if Ma or Dad get sick? Then Dad sat us down and explained how the virus worked, who was at risk, the precautions we all needed to take. Ma shared how she was a little scared too. She and dad were reading the news regularly to be aware of what’s happening. She said that I could ask as many questions as I needed to feel safe and reassured. That helped me feel calm.
I was thrilled about schools being shut. We were going to be at home with Ma and Dad for a whole month! I think we are lucky that our parents work from home. I wonder who will look after the children whose parents need to go to the office?
A few days back, I heard about how cities were shutting down. I wonder what that meant ...anyways schools were shut. If the shops also shut, how do people buy things? There are still people on the streets, will people just stop moving around… my head swims with questions all the time!!
The other day Ma and Dad were laughing over a joke they read on the internet about parents losing their sanity because kids were home. I didn't find it funny. Apparently, social media has lots of jokes and articles about this. I find that really mean. I understand that parents have more to do with us at home, but I feel sad that it is being made out to be such a difficulty to stay at home with children. I’ve always heard parents longing for more time with family. So, now that they have the chance, why are they cribbing about it?
Yes, parents have to manage their work, take care of us and also help us with our holiday schoolwork. But they don't have to drop or pick us from school or the various classes! Plus, we can spread out doing the schoolwork as it doesn’t have to be submitted the next day.
In fact, we children should be the ones complaining! We cannot go to play in the park. We cannot meet our friends or have them over. We didn’t get a chance to say bye to our friends in school and finish the games we left for the next day. My garden project in school is undone as is my weaving project- something I was so keen on finishing. I miss the space we have in school to run around. I miss playing football every evening. Our extracurricular classes have been cancelled as well. This makes me feel irritated, bored and a bit cranky at times. Then my sister and I end up fighting or arguing! Ma reminds us that we only are each other’s playmates now for some time. So, we are learning to fight less with each other.
Ma suggested that we could do new stuff like baking, cooking, sewing together. She calls these 'life skills'. Hmmm, I’m not sure if I want to do that. I just want to play with my friends and do computer games. But I can't meet my friends for a while. It could be dangerous as some of them live with their grandparents and we don’t want them getting sick.
I enjoy that we sit down as a family every morning and plan for the day- physical activities (woohoo!), study worksheets sent by the school, screen time, play time and life skills. We each pick activities we will do and make our personal timetable for the day. Ma or Dad help us with the activities, so we have a nice balance of work and fun. I didn't realize there was so much work to be done around the house! My favourite activity is dancing together as a family every evening. My sister loves it too!
After dinner, we play board games, or we talk. Sometimes we talk about how not to get irritated with each other and how to show our irritation in an acceptable manner- without fighting. Some nights we all tell each other jokes and ask riddles and have a good laugh. Am I enjoying my time at home? Yes, very much! Do I miss my friends? Also, yes, very much!
Seemanthini: Whoa! I really didn’t imagine there were so many thoughts running through the little head of my 10-year-old and probably all the other little ones too! These little human beings are grappling with this situation too, just like us. I am worried and anxious as to how this situation is going to turn out but seeing their cheerful faces and hearing their laughter gives me a lot of hope.
Author: Seemanthini Iyer is a certified parent educator with Parenting Matters, an organization which empowers parents to build deeper connections in families.