Story by Ann Wambui
We have all experienced this change of lifestyle since novel coronavirus became part of our daily lives resulting to the enforcement of complete as well as partial lockdowns in affected countries as a way to mitigate the spread and contraction of Covid-19 virus. So far, over 187 countries worldwide have reported cases, while Kenya had its first case on March 12, 2020.
Governments have directed its citizens to stay at home, observe social distancing and practicing high-level of hygiene at all times which includes thoroughly washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or using hand sanitizers. Staying at home is not an option for millions of breadwinners in many households all over the country and this has been a challenge because there are a lot of risks being around groups of people.
However, this quarantine period comes with its positive effect if you view from a dynamic point of view. Parents are always out working hard to put a meal on the table for their children but often miss out on spending quality time with them. Children have been home since President Uhuru Kenyatta directed all learners to stay at home without leaving out boarders in the equation. And because all members are at home at the same time, there is a part of us that misses the connection we had with the outside world and our gadgets become our console for a sense of belonging to that environment.
But at what point do you put a pause? According to a study on parent-child interaction at fast food restaurants by Dr. Jenny S. Radesky, she found that more than 70 percent of adults used their phones during meals. And other studies have also shown that spending too much time on the phone has contributed to parents missing out on children’s response towards their surroundings. A study published in Paediatric research journal showed that parents who sued their phones during family activities led to kids showing frustration, hyperactivity, whining and sulking.
Many families rarely have meals together especially the last meal of the day and this period of isolation should be the ideal time families can maximize and have everyone at the table share food without phones, laptops or tablets. Story-telling is another way to have everyone be present and enjoy meal-time. I would not be lying if I say there are children who don’t even know how their parents met nor anything much about their respective lives. More so, roundtable sharing brings out the value of listening to others and being respectful of other’s opinions. And one important lesson that you can encourage your children to uphold at all times when they are seated with friends or when around people in general.
A day can be full of so many activities but getting home to your loved ones doesn’t have to be a headache or a time to dread but rather a time to look forward to a period of peace and calmness being with the most important people in our lives. The kids need your time and attention just as much as they need to be told they are loved.