“Walang manual sa pagiging magulang.” All sorts of factors come into play when you are faced with the responsibility of looking after and raising a child. There is no step-by-step procedure. So, it is all the more challenging to be a parent during a pandemic.
How do you explain the quarantine to children? How can you help them cope? These are only some of the questions you must have. So, in the “Parenting during a Pandemic” series by ABS-CBN Lifestyle, Dimples Romana, Melai Cantiveros-Francisco and Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio offered some advice to fellow momshies and popshies.
How did you explain COVID-19 to your kids?
When the enhanced community quarantine took effect, Dimples was quick to explain the situation to her son and daughter. At the time, summer was just around the corner and they expected to travel and try different activities. Instead, they were forced to stay at home. For the Kadenang Ginto star, it was crucial for her kids to understand how the quarantine protects everyone. “Kasi minsan doon napuputol ‘yung pag-iintindi ng mga bata,” she added.
Dimples’ 16-year-old daughter did not need much explaining. The challenge was explaining a pandemic to her 5-year-old son. The technique that the actress found effective was using prayers. This also prevented any panic or frustration. “Kasi mga bata ito and I also want to protect their mental health,” she said.
How do you manage your kids’ emotions?
Melai’s daughters tend to listen in on conversation. This leads to fear and nightmares. So, when explaining the situation, the Magandang Buhay host tries her best to remove any fear or anxiety. Surprisingly, her daughter is mature for her age. “Natutuwa ako dahil bata pa lang siya pero gusto na niyang makatulong,” Melai shared.
Some of the he activities that they do to stay productive is playing hide and seek. Drawing unleashes their artistic side. They also watch shows on television, instead of watching videos on social media. For the comedianne, this makes it easier to monitor what her daughters see. “Sinusuportahan ko sila sa mga gusto nilang gawin. Mag-swimming-swimming, wala naman kaming pool kasi nabutas na, sa palanggana,” she recounted. At the end of the day, they focus on enjoying their time spent together.
What advice can you give parents on helping their children cope?
“Your children will only feel what you are personally feeling,” Rica stated. It is important to create a peaceful atmosphere through example. Instead of trying to control how your kids feel, start with how your own emotions. “Sa atin din naman sila kukuha ng cue on how to react and take in things. We are the moral compass of our children and so we must remember that if the child is reacting a certain way, maybe it reflects something in you, maybe it’s your anxiety,” she added.
Although, feeling anxious and scared is only normal, especially during these times. So, the goal should be finding a balance between honesty and comfort. “Hindi naman kasalan kung matakot ka, but its what you do afterwards that’s more important,” she continued. Rica advised that this mindset applies to other scenarios as well. After the threat of COVID-19, your child will continue to face challenges in life. “We might as well make this time purposeful in learning how to handle times of stress,” she ended.