From how to keep fear at bay among children to concerns regarding shortening of summer vacation, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, along with a panel from the government, addressed concerns of children and parents in a half-hour-long online session on Saturday afternoon.
Calling the online session ‘Parenting in the Time of Coronavirus’, Kejriwal, Education Minister Manish Sisodia, Director of Education Binay Bhushan and education professional Seemant Dadwal fielded questions which were sent to them in advance.
“All schools in Delhi have been closed for the last 15-20 days. This is an extraordinary situation… We have some 44 lakh children studying in schools across Delhi who are now confined to their homes. I know that children have a lot of energy and now all their activities have stopped. They also must be having a lot of questions on their minds… We have received very interesting questions. A parent said that her five-year-old daughter asked if we’re all going to die. Parents must be trying to answer and we will also try to answer their questions,” said Kejriwal.
While emphasising that parents should try to explain to children why they cannot go out at this time by telling them how the virus spreads, Sisodia said this should be done without scaring them, especially younger children.
“It is an unprecedented situation. Parents are also anxious. Children are not being able to do the things they enjoy, like going to a park or meeting their friends. Perhaps parents can enable them to spend some time with their friends through technology or use charts to create a park-like setting in the house,” added Dadwal.
One of the questions addressed was on how to sensitise children to the current plight of labourers who have lost income and been displaced because of the lockdown.
“The Delhi government has taken steps to provide food for the labourers… I also ask that parents take responsibility that no poor person near your locality goes hungry. It will teach the children good values. Do not cut pay of any worker in your homes or workplaces at this time. It will be a good influence on the children, and teach them their responsibility to society,” said Kejriwal.
Among school-related queries were if the summer vacation will be shortened. Bhushan said currently, there is no intention to do so because of the hot weather conditions at that time, but added that he can’t give a conclusive answer at the moment.
Kejriwal said that more such sessions will be conducted soon with more experts on the panel.
The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights, in partnership with NGO COVID Response, has also set up a central helpline to provide counselling to children and their parents. The helpline will be operational from 10 am to 7 pm through the week till April 30.
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