A month into the extended quarantine, there’s still no certainty about when it will all finally end. But after spending a month at home in constant contact with their kids, many parents – even more keyed in to their kids’ emotional lives than usual – are wondering how to prepare their children for adjusting to life when the quarantine ends.

Fortunately, CRC’s access to expert consultants includes the Child Development and Education Specialists at the University of Asia and the Pacific’s Child Development and Education (CDE) Center .  And with help from the Staff of the Institute for Marriage and Family Development (IMFD), we were able to interview five of the CDE Center’s experts – its director Ms. Lexie Estacio, and Teachers Aubrey Madridejos, Joey Santos, Ena Guevarra, Nina Reyes, and Mel Garcia – some key questions about helping schoolkids adjust to the coming “new normal.”

In part one of our two-part interview with the staff of the University of Asia and the Pacific’s Child Development and Education (CDE) Center about several issues related to COVID- 19, including how parents can prepare their kids emotionally for the upcoming “new normal”; how parents should adjust their approach in explaining the quarantine to kids of different ages; and how parents can more freely talk to their kids about their feelings regarding the disease.  That article can be found here.

In the conclusion, we asked the CDE Center staff about knowing when one’s kids are having emotional difficulties about the quarantine, preparing schoolchildren for the transition back to school, and preparing kids if ever the family decides to make some post-quarantine adjustments to their living situation and lifestyle.  That article can be found here.

But we had one last question for the staff of the Child Development and Education (CDE) Center , and that’s “Would you have any encouraging words for parents as they struggle to keep their kids engaged, even if they’re stuck in the house all day?

They had a lot of encouraging words of encouragement for many Filipino households who have been going through a much more hands-on approach to parenting for more than a month now.  And we wanted to make sure everybody’s thoughts were represented completely.  So we’ve put their words together, with only minimal editing, on one page.

We hope you find their thoughts as encouraging as we do.

Ms. Lexie Estacio

Parents now are lucky because technology is opening many opportunities to keep their children engaged. There are many educational apps which children can learn a lot from. Through Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Facebook Messenger, children can continue communicating with their teachers and friends in school. Technology in this time of crisis serves many other purposes apart from mere entertainment. However, this must still be complemented with real conversations and activities with their children. Gluing their children to iPads that have educational apps will definitely not be enough. They must play with them as well using real toys, materials, and manipulatives. More than anything else, their presence is the most important. The quarantine is a wonderful opportunity for them to strengthen their bond with children.

Teacher Joey Santos

If there’s a good thing that we can find in this situation – it must be the blessing that we get to spend everyday with our families.

I hope you take this time to get to know your child better, learn things together, and find new hobbies you can do as a family. Enjoy each moment with them. Have as much family time as you can because these are memories that you and your child will treasure forever. Your child will truly appreciate the time and love you give.

It may be tough to find balance in your life right now but please be patient with yourself. It’s okay not to have everything figured out all at once – to not know how to deal with all the changes. Take it a day at a time, a challenge at a time and eventually, things will get better. Have faith in all the good things that await!

Teacher Aubrey Madridejos

I am happy that you’re safe and remember that I am proud of you! You get to bond with your amazing child even more. Right now, we’re all experiencing this pandemic, this “new normal” but that’s okay because we will do it together! Always remember to count those little blessings in your life and breathe. Everybody needs a breather right now – you, me, and even your child, Bond with your child, get to know them even more, play with them! It should not always be too academic :) Don’t stress yourself as your child might feel that too. Just remember that you’re doing a great job. Remember that all these good things that you do are mainly for God, and then for you and your child, and it will all pay off! You got it! ;)

Teacher Ena Guevarra

We – educators – are the second parents of your child but you are still the primary educators and we applaud you for doing a great job in educating your children, and for raising them so well! :)

Many parents have expressed their praise to teachers, but we should be the ones praising you for everything you’ve done for your children and for taking the roles of being “parents”.

This life we have right now may not be as easy for everyone, but maybe this is the perfect time to better ourselves and get to know more your children- in spending more quality time with your children through communication, fun-filled family activities, and so much more. Please be more patient and understanding because that’s what your children needs most now.

Teacher Nina Reyes

You’re doing an awesome job – and your children appreciate everything that you do! :) While it would be great to spend all our days productively (i.e. implement home-school activities, involve the children in house chores, etc.), sometimes just being around our family is enough. Be present. Spend time with them, and get to know one another more. We are all going through a difficult change, but none of us have to go through it alone.
Teacher Mel Garcia Everyone is taken aback by the pandemic. We are all adjusting to the ‘new normal’, and that is okay. We are in this together. Social distancing should not mean emotional distancing. Relish family time. Get to know your child deeper. You are doing a great job! Your empathy, patience, and a positive mindset are paying off! Hang in there. ;)

CRC would like to acknowledge the help of IMFD staffer Ms. Mikha Gatpandan and the CDE Center’s Ms. Lexie Estacio, without whom this interview would not have been possible. || CRC | Remi de Leon with Mikha Gatpandan.