CM Arvind Kejriwal and Dy CM Manish Sisodia address session on ‘Parenting in the Time of Corona’


  • CM Kejriwal and Dy CM Manish Sisodia answer questions posed by children and parents on COVID-19
  • Parents need to be sensitive about this situation and monitor what their children are exposed to in these times: Dy CM Manish Sisodia
  • Understanding the gravity of the situation and explaining this to the children is crucial for the parents: CM Arvind Kejriwal
  • Parents should set an example for their children by those in need around us: CM Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Dy CM and Education Minister Manish Sisodia on Saturday conducted a live interactive session on ‘Parenting in the Time of Corona’ addressing Delhi’s 44 lakh children and their parents. They were joined by the Director of Education Mr. Vinay Bhushan and CEO of Meraki Foundation Mr. Seemant Dhadwal. CM Kejriwal and Dy CM Manish Sisodia took questions on COVID-19 and its gravity, and urged parents to take a positive approach and explain to their children sensitively about the gravity of the situation.

Initiating the session, Dy CM and Education Minister Manish Sisodia said, “If we talk about Delhi, 44 lakh students are studying in Delhi schools including MCD, private and government schools. As a result of the lockdown, children are at home. It is very important to understand how to sail through these tough times. The aim is to effectively utilize our time at homes during the isolation, and that is why we are holding this discussion on “Parenting in the Time of corona.”

Introducing the session to the audience, CM Arvind Kejriwal said, “We had to close down schools for the last 15-20 days, due to the extraordinary situation that has arisen worldwide. The only way that we can save ourselves from the virus is by following social distancing norms, staying away from other people and ceasing contact with others. Considering the gravity of the situation and to ensure good health of you and your children, we had to shut down schools 15-20 days back.”

CM Arvind Kejriwal said, “Children are energetic, they want to go out and play, but all their activities have stopped because of the lockdown. I can understand that they must be having questions on Coronavirus and the lockdown. Following our announcement yesterday on ‘Parenting in the times of Corona’ broadcast, we have got interesting questions from the parents and children,” said the CM.

Quoting a question from a parent on the COVID-19, CM Arvind Kejriwal said, “A 5-year-old girl has asked her mother, if we were all are going to die. Children are innocent, and it is natural for them to have all these questions. We will try to address these questions that children have and those that parents have as well. We will also extend this program further and conduct this session on a regular basis with various experts. Our motive is to change this time of crisis into an opportunity. Everyone is so busy in their lives that we do not get time to sit and have a conversation with our children, even in summer vacations during school when parents are usually working all the time. This is the time when everybody is at home, and parents and children can spend quality time with each other. I hope that by the end of this program parents will be able to know how to constructively engage their children in activities and conversations during these times of the lockdown.”

Mr Vinay Bhushan said, “Children are asking questions on the reasons for the lockdown, and then posing questions on why they can not go out to play and meet their friends. Parents are unable to understand how to answer these questions. I would like Hon’ble CM Arvind Kejriwal to say something on this.”

CM Arvind Kejriwal said, “Parents must be explaining to their children about Coronavirus, and how dangerous this new virus is. The parents should explain to their children that this virus is contagious and spreads through direct contact. The first way through which the virus can enter if a person coughs or sneezes on you if you are standing close to him. The second way is somebody covering their mouth and nose with their hands while coughing and sneezing and touching some surface, and then touching that surface and touching your face and mouth again. In crowded places, that can happen very easily. It is important for the children to know that this virus is contagious and transfers from close contact with an infected person. We have to break the chain by quarantining a person who is infected because that single person can infect many other people. It is easier to make elder children follow all these precautions and norms, but difficult to make younger children in between 5-8 years follow the norms.”
CEO of Meraki Foundation, Seemant Dhadwal said, “This is an unprecedented situation. We have not seen anything like this before. Parents are also a bit anxious and stressed because their everyday routine has also changed. Children are not able to do what they like doing, they are unable to go out to the park or meet their friends. We have to engage children in that age group in such a way that they are able to interact with their friends via technology. We can make a pretend park inside our homes for the children to play.”

Manish Sisodia said, “Parents also need to be sensitive about this whole situation and monitor the kind of news their young kids are exposed to. Since we are bombarded by news reports of deaths due to COVID-19, it is also highly essential for the parents to protect their kids from developing a great fear around this situation. It is very crucial at this stage for the parents to carefully deal with the kids so that they are not pushed into depression because of the sad news from around the world.”

QUESTIONS


  1. How do we ensure that parents cope up with the changing situations and then make their children do the same?
    CM Arvind Kejriwal:
    This is a very crucial question, children are asking why they can not go out if they are not infected. In this case, they should be explained the character of the virus, under which the contagious nature of the virus can not be detected until 14 days. And there is no way for anyone to know who is infected and who is not. So, everyone should avoid going out to not be the carriers of any disease which can infect your family as well.
  2. Why were people panic buying or hoarding?
    CM Arvind Kejriwal: It is a tough time for all. When the lockdown was announced the people of the country got scared and they rushed to nearby stores and bought many items together. It was not necessary but it happened because people were scared. The central government and the Delhi government have ensured that every essential item will be available in all the shops of Delhi. Vegetables, milk, Medicines, ration, grocery items will be available. No one needs to do any panic buying.
  3. How can we sensitize our children regarding the crisis faced by the poor of our country due to the lockdown?
    CM Arvind Kejriwal
    : After the lockdown was announced we have seen that the poor people of our country are the worst sufferers. The government is working hard to provide them with all the basic facilities but the work of the government cannot be enough if the whole society does not work together. The government is distributing food at various centers across Delhi. But I will request that if you have money then you should stand with the poor, ensure that no person will go hungry in your area. I will also request the parents not to cut any salary from the domestic help or drivers. If possible, please give them some advance money. The parents should discuss the situation with the children and also tell them how as a society we can stand with these needy people. Discussing such issues will also help the children to learn better values of life.
  4. How can we save our children from the negativity which is being spread through social media and other media platforms regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic?
    Mr. Seemant Dhadwal
    : Here the main important point is the distribution of time. There should be a limited time where the children will be allowed to use social media and other media platforms, the parents should ensure that. The parents should also do various activities at their home where the children can take part. The parents should also have one-to-one discussions with the children. The parents should ensure that the children can express whatever they feel and in such tough times anger should be under control so that The children do not get scared.

    It is very important that the children stay out of any kind of negativity at this time. If the parents do not ensure that then the children will suffer from depression, therefore, it is important to have a healthy atmosphere at every house where the parents and children will talk to each other openly about every issue.
  5. How can children get over boredom?
    Mr. Seemant Dhadwal: The parents should maintain a schedule for the children which will have a mix of everything. It is important to talk to the children that no one is getting to do what they like to do, therefore, an environment should be created at home which the children can enjoy.

    Mr. Vinay Bhushan: This time the children should take part in creative work such as painting or writing or any other creative work they love to do. Creativity is the best way to heal boredom.
  6. Will the summer break of the schools be canceled?
    Mr. Vinay Bhushan: There is no such decision yet to cancel the summer vacation of the students. But it is also true that we have missed the time where preparatory classes were supposed to happen but we have not taken any decision to cancel the summer vacation.

    Dy CM: This is a very extraordinary time, the fact is that the summer break is important for the students because that time the weather becomes very unfavorable for the children to attain school, but at the same time we have missed the period for the preparatory classes. I will request the parents, citizens, and experts to give us suggestions on what can be done.
  7. Many children are missing happiness classes. What can they do?
    Dy CM: I am glad to know that the children are missing the happiness classes. I will request the parents to discuss with the children about the happiness classes. It is the time when the parents can learn the meditation techniques from the children and also at their individual houses they can practice the activities of the happiness classes.
  8. How can parents involve the children in various activities?
    Mr. Vinay Bhushan: We have already given various activities to the children from the schools based on their classes. The parents should discuss and help the children in those activities and keep a record. After the normal classes start the teachers will go through those activities and include them in the internal assessment.
  9. What will happen to the results of class 9 and 11?
    Mr. Vinay Bhushan: The children of class 9 and 11 should fear to give any more examinations. In both these classes, one or two exams are pending but we decided to make the result by doing an average of the marks they have gotten in the already given papers. As soon as the schools reopen within 2-3 days we will announce the result because we need to include the marks of the internal assessments too.
  10. Why private schools are taking fees for the months when classes are not taking place?
    CM Arvind Kejriwal: It has two aspects one is that some families are facing an economic crisis due to the lockdown, therefore, they are facing difficulty paying the fees. The second aspect is that private schools depend on the fees to pay the salary of the teachers and others. This is a tough situation because if the schools do not get fees then the families of the teachers will face difficulties. I will request the experts to give us suggestions on how we can solve such issues.

    Dy CM: We empathize with the crisis but it has various aspects as described by the CM and if you have any suggestion then please send it to use. The Delhi government in the last 5 years has curbed the arbitrary fee hikes of the private schools but this is an extraordinary time.
  11. Can the children eat outside food?
    CM Arvind Kejriwal: It is recommended that children must avoid outside food.

Concluding the session, Dy CM Manish Sisodia said, “It is a difficult time for all of us, and it is for us to take it as an opportunity to utilize it to the fullest extent. It gives us the opportunity to sit with our family members and spend quality time with them today. Coronavirus has brought a huge challenge for the entire human race, nations across the world are trying to tackle this menace. Our healthcare systems are trying to fight the virus and also fathoming the fact that if this disease spreads further, how are we going to contain it or stop it. That is why practicing isolation and social distancing is the need of the hour. We all are parents and we do understand that it’s difficult to cope with these times when you have young kids at home. But we have to try to turn this around as an opportunity. Kids always complained that their parents couldn’t give them time and vice versa, but because of this negative factor, it has still given us an opportunity to sit and talk at our homes. So take care of yourself, and take care of your family.”

CM Arvind Kejriwal concluded the session by saying, “It is difficult to control the children. They are always curious to know about everything. In this case, it is important for us to engage with them and answer their questions directly. This is a crisis, but it can be changed into an opportunity by sitting and having a meaningful conversation with the family. The circumstances are difficult, and I hope it will transition into something favorable. I want to congratulate the team for organizing this program.”