Amid the spike in Covid cases, work from home has become default mode and schools have shifted online. But it looks like this set up has caused more stress than relief to most parents in Singapore.
In an online survey conducted by theAsianparent, parents shared their biggest concern and most voters unanimously stated that ‘childcare management’ keeps them up all night.
What Are Parents Most Concerned About?
Screengrab: Instagram / theAsianparent
The poll categorically asked mums ‘what are parents most concerned’ and the options included: childcare management, daily services, job security, and mental health.
But the clear winner was childcare management with 153 cotes. This was followed by mental health, access to daily services, and job security, respectively.
The responses were poignant and a clear reflection of the current situation in Singapore.
As you know, with the Covid variant that is attacking children more than adults, their safety has become a prime concern to parents and authorities, alike. However, this also means that children will now be spending more time schooling from home. This is concerning for working parents who are now also juggling their work, from home.
To drive the point home, these are the major factors that have made childcare management an issue for Singapore parents.
1. Schools shifting to home-based learning
From May 19, all schools started full home-based learning until May 28, the end of the term. The decision was taken by the Singapore government after a sharp spike in coronavirus cases in the community.
With the intention to carry on uninterrupted learning during the HBL period, schools have promised to extend all the requisite support to the students and their parents.
But, this also means that the onus to make kids study and attend their classes on time is also on the parents. So if you are a working parent, you not only have to juggle between work and chores, but also supervise your child.
2. Kids becoming more susceptible to the new variant
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For months, Singapore was reporting nearly zero or single-digit infections. But, the scenario is not the same today as there are rising unlinked cases and a growth of new clusters. The government warned recently that the new coronavirus variants, such as the one first detected in India, were affecting more children.
While the government has introduced a slew of measures, including approving vaccination for children aged 12-15 years, but the onus on their safety is still on parents.
This means, you will have to supervise that they follow Covid guidelines, wear a mask and wash their hands regularly.
3. Unavailability of additional help
Amid the rise in community cases and unlinked infections, you may be sceptical of hiring a maid to help you with your work.
Alternatively, if your plan was for your kid’s grandparents to come over during the June holidays, this may not materialise (for many) as well.
This means that most of you are managing everything on your own.
4. Keeping the kids engaged
Your kids will be spending a lot of time indoors and a huge challenge is to keep them engaged. The more bored they are, the more they may interrupt you, barging into office calls and meetings.
In order to save yourself from such embarrassing incidents, you will have to work towards keeping them engaged.
5. Devoting time to kids
Amid this hustle to complete everything, be it the office deadlines, making lunch or getting your child ready for his online classes, you realise that you are not able to devote quality time to your kids. This often leads to ‘parent guilt.’
The silver lining however, is that you are not alone. Most parents are going through the same journey. But of you need a little help to get started, here are a few things you can try to manage your kids at home.
6 Tips To Manage Your Child At-home
Image courtesy: Depositphoto
Structure their day
Providing a structure to their schedule not only benefits the child, but also gives you enough time to finish your work and chores. You can set an hour-by-hour schedule for them, especially if they are young.
This way you account for their entire day, and help them follow the same routine as they would, if they were in school.
Give them breaks
We all need breaks to refresh our mind and kids are no different. In your effort to set a schedule, don’t forget to give them small breaks throughout the day. If they are preschoolers, a nap time might also have to be added to it.
Online social time with grandparents
In the world of social distancing (again), meeting our loved ones physically is almost a distant dream. While you make your kid’s schedule, make sure to include social time with friends and also grandparents. This will allow them to stay connected with family.
Answer questions about pandemic honestly
You can’t avoid the topic of the pandemic with them. At a time when people are losing their near and dear ones, they may get frightened by any news they hear. Talk to them about it.
Explain to them that the only way they can stay safe is by following basic hygiene rules religiously, and maintaining social distancing, and staying home.
Acknowledge your child’s feelings
Being at home at the time can naturally dampen your and your child’s mood. But as the responsible one, you need to take a very calm approach. Shower them with love and never dismiss their feeling if they confide in you.
Instead, acknowledge their feelings and show them that you are there for them.
Learn to discipline with love
When you are stressed and upset, it is natural for you to lose your temper with your kids. But remember to not use corporal punishment. Instead, explain to them that why such behaviour is unacceptable and the next time they repeat it, they will lose their privileges.
Sometimes children misbehave because they are bored or don’t know any better. You need to therefore, channelise their latent energy in the right direction.
Yes, parenting and that too in the middle of the pandemic can be a maddening experience. But remember, while you worry about child and their growth, don’t ignore your mental health and wellbeing. It is only when you are happy, your child will be able to enjoy a stress-free environment, too.