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Finding a balance while staying at home with toddlers

Finding a balance while staying at home with toddlers

Appeal to continue implementing Social Distancing amid COVID-19 pandemic installed at a door in the Streatham area in Britain on Saturday (April 11, 2020). ANTARA/REUTERS/Hannah Mckay/wsj.

That way, I know what we can do during the day at certain hours and which skill we wanted to exercise, much like they do in school with their curriculum. I research credible sources, such as websites and books, to (find) what activities can be done a
There appears to be some variance in the way people are practicing physical distancing and complying with social restrictions in the face of an invisible enemy — the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some are choosing to relish their time at home by going on a quest to find inner peace through meditation and yoga, while others are trying to shoo away stress by taking on new skills such as baking or painting.

Go-getters are taking online classes, which, more and more establishments and institutions are providing these days, or using the time to catch up with friends and families via video calls.

But, these are all options for those who are in a position to choose them in the weeks-long physical distancing period.

For some others, however, the options are not as wide.

This group includes parents, especially mothers and fathers to young children, aged under five — an age when children’s curiosity and eagerness to explore is at an all-time high.

Being stuck at home has given Indonesian pop star Raisa Andriana some extra time with her family, including her one-year old daughter. The unfortunate circumstances have given her the luxury to spend time with her loved ones, she said.

“My daughter is one years old, I spend 100 percent of my time with my family now, being the real housewife. It is a luxury. I am grateful that I can spend time with my daughter,” she stated.

Staying at home, she said, is her way of not just abiding by the government’s appeal to stem the spread of the virus, but also protecting herself and her family, she pointed out.

For 26-year-old mother Cindya Harsya, although the extra time with her almost two-year-old son is precious, thinking up activities for their toddler keeps her and her husband on their feet.

In the first couple of weeks, Harsya said she would follow the changes in schedules, while at the same time figure out activities for her child to keep him entertained, while keeping screen time to a minimum.

“By the second week (of isolation), I made a list of activities that are simple to do. I have divided them into categories, for example, between censorial, motor, and cognitive activities,” she told ANTARA.

Such activities have been incorporated into her son’s daily schedule. They have been planned and thought-out to mimic the activities her son normally does in his early childhood education program.

“That way, I know what we can do during the day at certain hours and which skill we wanted to exercise, much like they do in school with their curriculum. I research credible sources, such as websites and books, to (find) what activities can be done at home and are beneficial for the child,” she said.

Harsya said she opts for simple activities that do not take too long to prepare and adapts them to the available resources and space, as well as her son's interest.

Although on a normal day, she spends the majority of her time working from home, she said that creating a schedule for the time spent in isolation is still important in order to ensure her child is kept busy throughout the day and to maintain some sense of normalcy and routine in this condition.

Harsya has a message for parents staying at home with toddlers in the middle of the global coronavirus pandemic.

“It is of utmost importance to keep yourself sane during everyday life, and in these special circumstance,” she said, adding that being creative with the available resources can also be one of the ways parents can enjoy their routine with their children at home, without draining their energy.

“Make sure to read valid and credible sources when you are researching for what activities to do, so you can make sure that you are not only spending time, but actually making the most of it, and making it beneficial for the kids,” she advised.

She asked parents to look into resources she had accessed herself, including Sekolahku.com, credible YouTube and other social media accounts, as well as parenting books.

What expert says

Certified Energy Psychology Practitioner Ferry Fibriandani, who is also the founder of Remedi Indonesia, said children may experience some negative emotions during such uncertain times and it is beneficial to create a positive atmosphere.

It is also good for parents to limit screen time and carry out activities that lower cortisol hormones, such as physical exercise, he advised.

“As for mothers, I suggest (they) still have some ‘me time’,” he said.

Taking care of children, teaching them, and preparing their meals and snacks tirelessly can lead to parents feeling over-productive and overwhelmed, which is why Fibriandani recommends some alone and downtime for parents who have young children in the house. 

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