Parenting in the time of pandemic | #parenting

Turkey, after days of strict anti-coronavirus restrictions, is gradually reopening and returning to normal.

The measures that included curfews as well as lockdowns, brought several changes in everyone’s lifestyle, especially parents and children. While the little ones had more time at home and could not go outdoors as often as before; mothers and fathers too had to adapt to the “new normal.”

Ahead of the June 1 Global Day of Parents, Anadolu Agency spoke with parents in the Turkish capital of Ankara about their worries, fears, how they dealt with the pandemic as parents, and what do they expect once it is over.

For Hasret Aydemir, 38, the biggest concern was that her five-year-old son, Aras Emir, will have to stay away from nature due to restrictions. But, she made alternate arrangements.

“We ensured that our son stays healthy … ventilated our house more frequently, and started growing vegetables in our house,” she said. “I can say that our son has grown as a self-confident boy.”

Huseyin Aydemir, Hasret’s husband, said they reduced the use of technology in front of their child and read a lot about the virus to protect the family.

“We tried to provide a regular and fun learning environment to Aras … once the pandemic ends we will socialize as much as we can by attending book clubs, taking dance lessons, sending our son to football and piano courses, going to restaurants, cafes, and all other activities we can think of,” he said.

“We accepted this process with both its pros and cons, loved the life even at its worst and dealt with the epidemic by reading whatever we could find. The world becomes more beautiful when you read.”

– Less social interaction

Sevil Sonel, 32, said she worries for her over 2-year-old son’s social development.

“The pandemic has changed our lives … We haven’t been in crowded places for a long time, and this eventually affects how my son perceives the world,” she said. “We are yearning for freedom as a family. We missed going on a vacation with other family members, and spending long hours with our loved ones.”

She said that once the pandemic is over, she will take her son to a music concert, and dance and sing in excitement.

Sevil’s husband said besides the social interaction, they were always worried about their son’s health.

“We tried to create an extra hygienic environment for our son by applying COVID-19 precautions and keeping our social distance with other people,” said Bahri Sonel.

“We’ve missed spending time with nature, picnicking,” he said, adding that he wants to meet and spend time with friends and family, and attend cultural activities once everything is back to normal.

– ‘Our girl would lose touch with her peers’

Sevgi Koseren, 34, said she was uneasy with the fact that Maya, her six-year-old daughter, has been away from school for so long.

“Losing contact with peers affects you negatively,” she said.

Kaan Koseren agreed with his wife. “We were worried that our daughter would grow an antisocial personality, and would have breakdowns in her relationships as she could not go out home most of the time.”

Besides, both the parents were extra careful about cleanliness and tried explaining to their daughter what coronavirus is, and how one can avoid getting infected.

Like others, Kaan also wants to take the family on vacations as soon as possible. “I want to take my wife and daughter on holiday abroad, to movies and, of course, to Besiktas [Turkish football team] matches,” he said.

Sevgi added: “The thing we’ve missed the most is traveling. So, traveling, going to cinema, and picnicking come first in our to-do list for the post-pandemic period.”

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