We were having lunch one time when my youngest daughter unexpectedly said, “I’m tired of this.” “Tired of what?,” I asked. She said, “of this. Staying at home, not seeing my friends. I miss going to the grocery, Timezone, buying stuff, I miss everything.”
Flashback to March 2020 and my kids didn’t complain about staying at home. In fact, they loved it. They don’t mind being locked inside the house, which they inherited from their homebody dad. Fast forward today and we’re still stuck in the same – or probably worse – situation. Kids are not allowed to go out and movement is restricted because of the continuously increasing number of Covid cases.
While this pandemic is taking a toll on adults, it’s also affecting our kids. Despite the ease in restrictions before ECQ 3.0, our family still chose to delay all forms of leisure travel. We didn’t allow the kids to go out to minimize their risk and exposure.
That being said, what are the challenges kids these days are facing and how are we coping as a family?
CHALLENGE NO. 1: ONLINE CLASSES
This is, by far, the biggest challenge the kids are facing during lockdown. Yes, I tutor the kids and they have designated spaces for studying but we weren’t prepared for Online Distance Learning.
Apart from being their learning coach, which is a challenge since I also work, learning and retention has been an issue. Kids could get easily distracted because they’re at home and access to Internet is easier unlike when they were inside the classroom. I had to check on the kids from time-to-time to make sure that all the tabs are school-related.
How we’re coping: Instilling discipline early on is crucial. It also helped that the kids have an established study schedule, so they know what to do by 2:00pm. Reward system works, which means finish everything now and they can watch a movie in Netflix or play video games after. I constantly remind that even if they are holding classes at home, they still have to take their schooling seriously.
CHALLENGE NO. 2: LACK OF SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
My kids are in grade school, which means they are used to having other kids around them. After class, I would often find my girls playing with their classmates while waiting. They enjoy attending birthday parties and love being around their friends.
All of these were gone because of the pandemic. All of a sudden, kids were confined in a screen and would normally attend birthday parties virtually. Sadly, as much as they miss their friends, they understood that Covid is real and we need to keep them protected.
How we’re coping: Online communication tools like Viber and Google Meet are helpful in allowing kids to keep in touch with their friends. Of course, nothing beats being physically around but tools like help ease their longing to be around other people. Scheduling virtual playdates or enrolling kids in different classes do help as well.
It’s also important that they understand why they have to stay at home. We explain to the girls the consequences if we go out and schedule playdates with their classmates. In the meantime, patience is a must.
CHALLENGE NO. 3: CHANGES IN THEIR USUAL SCHEDULE
Pre-pandemic, our girls’ schedule is strictly enforced. This allowed us to accomplish the tasks they need to do and make sure that they get enough sleep. After all, they need to be up by 5:00am everyday and get ready for school.
Since the lockdown, kids have been sleeping later than usual. There’s no pressure to be up early since class starts at 8:00am with minimal preparation. Kids are also more relaxed since classes are half-day, which means they have plenty of time to finish what needs to be done.
How we’re coping: Tbh, we’re still struggling in this area. Kids are still adjusting but slowly, we are getting our old, pre-Covid schedule back. I prepare dinner early so we can eat early and the kids can sleep early, too. Removing gadgets at least two hours before bedtime also help. We all have to be disciplined to be able to go back to our old schedule.
CHALLENGE NO. 4: GADGETS ALL DAY
All parents will agree with me when I say that gadget use has doubled (or even tripled!) during the lockdown. What else can they do, especially now that outdoor activities are restricted? Plus, kids are taking online classes so yes, that means they have to be in front of their gadgets.
How we’re coping: One word – schedule. The girls know that as soon as they’re done with dinner, they can no longer use their gadgets. Also, we impose a time where gadgets are not allowed, usually during mealtimes and health breaks (they need to rest their eyes!), which leads me to my next point.
CHALLENGE NO. 5: BOREDOM
How many times did you hear the statement, “Mom, I’m bored”? I’m sure, more than a thousand! They went through all of their toys and still say they have nothing else to do. Just like you, I am also constantly looking for ways to keep the kids amused sans gadgets since March 2020.
How we’re coping: Pandemic gave us an opportunity to explore something new. The kids and I started baking bread and cooking together. We played board games, did pretend play, organized our things, made merienda for our “picnics,” and imposed Reading Time. They also help us with chores by assigning them their respective tasks. If they insist on watching something, we do it as a family. We took it as chance to try something new and get to know the kids even better.
CHALLENGE NO. 6: NO TRAVEL
April 2020 was supposed to be our family trip to Japan. For the following year, we’re supposed to go to Korea because the youngest is a huge fan of BTS. Apart from overseas trips, I already scheduled museum trips and local travel plans for the summer. Obviously, none of these plans panned out.
How we’re coping: Traveling is an opportunity for the kids to not just explore but also make them more aware of their surroundings. Since we can’t go out because of the pandemic, virtual tours of various museums around the world became our best friend. We’ve been into travel shows and books that showcase different places not just in the Philippines but also around the world.
Sure, nothing beats being in the actual place but these will do – for now.
Mommas, we’re all struggling during this pandemic, including our kids. Take this opportunity to spend time with them and reach out to them. Use this time to fill their Memory Box so when they look back, theirs will be filled with good and happy memories.
DON’T FORGET TO SHARE:
Ayi is a stay-at-home mom of two. When her kids are in their best state, she keeps up with chores, work, and ensuring that her sanity is intact. Join her as she navigates through this rollercoaster ride called motherhood.