Whether we like or not, we are now living in a new world. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed—and is still changing—the way we live, and this includes the way we parent our children.

As much as possible, everyone is encouraged to stay indoors to avoid catching the virus.Children can no longer enjoy public parks and play with their friends for we are fighting an invisible enemy. With the many possible butterfly effects that it can bring about, an important question arises: How can parents raise a healthy and happy child indoors? In a conversation with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle at the Cetaphil’s Mommy Dialogues, child health advocate and pediatrician Dr. Cristal Laquindanum answers this question by giving five tips on raising a child during a pandemic.

Dr. Cristal Laquindanum

Dr. Cristal Laquindanum

  1. Feed them right

Due to implemented public health guidelines such as social distancing and scheduled market day for each household, the access to fresh and healthy food supplies every day is now a challenge. Dr. Cristal says that lactating mothers should take this as an opportunity to purely breastfeed

their babies. “In reality, it’s very hard to get access to healthy food. But it’s different for each, if it’s a newborn to six months, as much as possible, do exclusive breastfeeding. Meaning no water, no other liquids, just breastfeeding, plus, it’s free,” she says. “If it’s six months and above, you can start with your complimentary or solid food. But it doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, mongo is very cheap, but it can be a good source of protein.”
Indoor baby

She also says that guardians and parents can buy healthy canned goods. “There are a lot of relief goods that are canned. But as much as possible, get healthy canned goods like canned vegetables or even canned fruits,” she adds. “You choose between two evils. As of now it’s really hard to get access to good food, but some LGUs (local government unit) provide mobile palengke so make use of that. There’s also online delivery of fruits and vegetables.”

  1. Have a routine

Dr. Cristal says that coronavirus is not just a public health issue but also a mental health one. It causes anxiety not just to adults but also to babies and children. To combat this, she encourages parents to set a routine for the whole family.

“This is the #NewNormal. We have to be resilient, we have to adapt to this situation. Keep yourroutine. Still wake up at the same time in the morning even if your kids don’t have classes. Have your breakfast, and then go to sleep at the same time every night,” she says. “It’s detrimental to their [children] health if they go beyond their sleeping time.”

  1. Limit social media exposure

“Just take it day by day and with less exposure to social media,” the child health advocate continues. “If you feel like you’re becoming very depressed with the news, get good news from your friends, from your family members. Call them instead of just listening to all the news that you hear. That’s also one way to deal about your mental health.”


  1. Involve kids in your chores

Not everyone has the luxury of space where their children can play. But according to Dr. Cristal, it doesn’t mean that kids can no longer have and enjoy healthy play. “Healthy play doesn’t necessarily require a big space. Even if you’re just sitting down, you can tinker with toys that are already in your home,” she says. “You can put rocks inside an empty bottle and you can ask children to fill them up. You can ask children to help you cook and prepare the food—that’s already play for them if you include them in your chores. It also helps them gain independence and gain some responsibilities.”

Parents bonding with kid

  1. Talk to them

Lastly, Dr. Cristal also encourages parents to build a strong relationship with their children by conversing with them with respect—treating kids like an adult who can understand things. Aside from this she also advocates for guardians to show their love and care through touch therapy.

“You can talk to them about what’s happening. Talk to them like adults and don’t talk down on them. Explain this virus and why it’s keeping everyone here inside the home,” she says. “Touch therapy is also important. Some mothers or parents say that they don’t hug their kids often or they don’t even hold their hand. Use this time as an opportunity to assess if you’re that kind of parent. You don’t have to be showy. Just a tap on the shoulder, saying goodnight, or giving them a good night kiss will do.”

To join the next Cetaphil’s Mommy Dialogues visit @cetaphilphilippines

Source: Manila Bulletin (