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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Being Baba: How to deal with the coronavirus scare when you have a baby

How do you practice social distancing in a country of over a billion people and how do you keep your babies safe?

Updated: March 18, 2020 5:38:55 pm
coronavirus, parenting tips Coronavirus outbreak: Do not go out unless you really have to (Source: mihirjoshimusic/Instagram)

By Mihir Joshi

What is the one thing on everyone’s mind today? Say it with me on the count of three. One…two…three…CORONAVIRUS!

If you said something else, I’m truly surprised. So yes, in a sea of articles and writeups about coronavirus, let me add my thoughts here. As parents, most of us are already quite paranoid about things that can go wrong with our kids. We always want the best for them and want to ensure that no matter where they go, they stay safe, healthy and happy. Right?

Now there are enough things you hear from elders, friends, family, other parents, WhatsApp forwards, newspapers, television and the internet that possibly bother you or even scare you at the best of times. But then when you’ve got a global pandemic going on things just get out of hand. You get bombarded with information…or more precisely, you get bombarded with a ton of misinformation.

So the first thing I want to tell all of you is to stop reading every single forwarded message. In times like these, it is imperative to look only at official and authentic sources. If you must read what you get on WhatsApp or what you see on Facebook, please spend a minute and google it before you panic and change everything about your life to suit the latest forward.

Read| Amid the coronavirus crisis, these parents are finding humour

Honestly, if I read another “Forwarded as received” from an intelligent, educated family member I’m going to pick up the phone and scream at them. As educated adults, is it not your responsibility to verify information before you blindly pass it along? The other thing you need to stop passing along are songs being made on the coronavirus. I’m a singer and I get that singers are making the most of their downtime by capitalising on the big thing that everyone is talking about but come on guys! Some of these songs are really really bad. That said, the Corona Virus Remix by Cardi B and DJ iMarkkeyz is fire! Google it or check out @iMarkkeyz on twitter. It is an earworm that will be with you all day!

Jokes apart, I would rather have a corny but accurate song about washing hands and social distancing than wrong information telling me how garlic can kill the coronavirus or how holding my breath for 10 seconds will indicate if I have it. Just two of the many gems floating around.

There are some myths that have been formally busted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that you could look up. Get informed. And spread good information. Nothing is more important than a calm steady mind when everyone around you is panicking.

coronavirus, parenting tips Do not plan playdates at home or go to restaurants and malls. (Source: mihirjoshimusic/Instagram)

I’m sure that by now you have read a lot about washing hands, social distancing and flattening the curve but like most resilient Indians we probably think that all of this is a bit much. How do you practice social distancing in a country of over a billion people and how do you keep your babies safe?

Read| Precautions against coronavirus for children going to school, parties or tuition

First up, keep them at home. Neil has been going to Montessori for over two months now, but just like everything else, they’ve also shut down so the chance of exposure is reduced.

Do not go out unless you really have to. And if you do, maintain a safe distance (six feet is recommended) from others. And when you get back home, wash your hands with soap or a sanitiser. There are enough videos floating around that show you how best to do it. A good liquid soap is enough. You do not necessarily need a sanitiser.

Just because schools are shut and you’re working from home…do not plan playdates at home or go to restaurants and malls. Stay at home. The whole idea is to keep yourself away from people. The only way we can reduce the possibility of infection is if we stay away from people. I turned 39 on Sunday and we celebrated that at home too! Honestly though, this was my first birthday with my son capable of moving on his own and the joy of spending time with just him, my parents and my wife was unparalleled.

Find a hobby that you can indulge in with your babies. You will be spending a lot of time with them. See how you can make the most out of it. Make memories, teach them something new, have fun, but at home.

For me, being Baba during such a time has been truly special. I’m trying to enjoy every minute home with my baby boy and wife. I hope you see the inadvertent positive side of getting to spend more time with your babies too.

Most importantly, stay safe and stay informed. See you all next month!

(The writer is a singer-his debut album Mumbai Blues won the GIMA Award for Best Rock Album in 2015-hosts his own talk show-The MJ Show and does live Hindi commentary for WWE. Follow him on twitter @mihirjoshimusic)

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