Lockdown versus Liberation? Take your pick! – Payal Jethra on parenting techniques during COVID-19
Our guest columnist this week is Payal Jethra. As a visually impaired mom to a teenage son, she has plenty to say about how to keep your children occupied during the lockdown.
“Don’t you think you’re being pretty unreasonable? What will the poor child do during all these days?”
His voice was stern and admonishing over the landline. Pinky listened and let the words fall off. Everyone is entitled to his opinion and when she chooses to share and talk to friends, she’s got to be ready to take suggestions as well. Well, you can’t expect to be hearing only what you want to hear, can you? The two friends had been discussing how children will spend time at home for weeks to come. While the mother of a 12-year-old believes that she needs to put on her thinking cap to come up with ideas to keep herself and her son positively engaged in study assignments and fun activities, the father of a 11-year-old is of the opinion that once children are allowed screen time, they sit quietly for hours on end. Pinky disagrees…. she would much rather leverage upon the togetherness time bonding with the child.
The entire nation is under lockdown. Pinky’s going to perhaps being working from home. Nishu’s school has informed that all students from classes 1 to 7 will be promoted based on their average scores. The two friends were discussing how their children would spend time at home. Pinky wants to put in time with her son getting involved in studies/activities together, while Prakash thinks differently.
Pinky has always been firm about restricting screen time. She is determined to give parenting her best shot. There are and will always be several people ready to shower children with gifts, screen time, etc but planting seeds of values, morality, emotional stability, an optimistic outlook of life are primarily the parent’s job.
Didn’t we grow up accompanying our parents to Apna Bazar, returning home with bags bigger than us and lengthy grocery bills? Why can’t children today be given such duties? Why can’t they be involved in budgeting, oor spend time with elders?
So Pinky decides to make the most of her days with her son. Let’s step into the life of this Mom son duo to share their times together. Here’s a list of ideas they’ve had so far, – the ta line being #minimisescreenmaximizelife
Parenting tips that help during lockdown
- Reading books together – I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic by Lauren Tarshis. Mom and son had a sort of a book discussion –
What do you think about this? Do you think the Titanic should be brought to the surface or left in peace? They sit side by side as he gives her a hug, “Mom, I want it to be left down where it is like a sea monument. Why fiddle with those precious thousands of artefacts?”
- Listening to FM, tweeting and interacting with RJs – hey have RJ Nights right from 10 PM to 1 AM. The 12-year-old is filled with awe! Man! We’re up until nearly morning the next day. He’s found a cassette and practices recording remixes while switching radio stations.
- Housekeeping – Sweeping, sobbing, loading and unloading the washing machine.
- What’s cooking today? – The young man experiments with cooking and discovers a love for it. He’s discovering himself, foods and flavors.
- Playing Hangman together – Hangman is all about beginning to guess the words. Proper nouns and slang words are not allowed. Mom picks up the category of animals while the young man takes his pick with day-to-day items.
- Listening to folk tales together.
- Housie via WhatsApp.
So, while Pinky does somewhat agree with Prakash that screen time cannot be totally eliminated during these times, there is certainly a way to keep children focused on positive life skills and be as participative in learning or fun times with them. Are you cuddling, cooing, partying and letting your hair down in every moment spent with your child these days?
Let’s remember- all our little ones want is their Mommy’s, just the way they are- no frills attached!
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