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How to parent during curfew: Jordanian mothers get creative in times of uncertainty

By Maria Weldali - Mar 26,2020 - Last updated at Mar 26,2020

A young student in Amman studies from home via the Ministry of Education's distance-learning programme (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — As schools, nurseries and kindergartens have closed their doors across the Kingdom due to the rapid coronavirus outbreak, parents have resorted to creativity to nurture their children's imaginations during this unprecedented situation.

Sarah Hussein, mother to a four-year-old boy, told The Jordan Times on Thursday that she has created a reward chart to reinforce good behavior, reduce anxiety and develop her son’s psychological capacities.

When her son cleans up his toys, eats healthy and practices key skills using printable sheets, she puts a star sticker on the chart.

"I believe it is very important for a mother to talk to her child about the coronavirus as well as about any other disease," Hussein said, noting the importance of teaching children to practice healthy habits and wash their hands often, while helping them to make sense of the current situation.

Parents “need to talk with their children in an explicit manner”, she added, stressing that “new and upcoming generations are… the ones growing up in this modern world”.

Um Adam, a working Jordanian mother of three, told The Jordan Times on Thursday that, since children are aware of their parents' reactions and facial expressions, it is “extremely important” to be calm, maintain a normal routine, offer comfort and provide children with factual information and “real expectations” about the coronavirus and how it is changing daily life.

"The thing that I noticed during the quarantine period is that my one-year-old baby boy is not getting enough sleep, and I believe it's due to the change in his sleeping routine,” she said.

She added that she has instituted television, video game and bedtime rules for her 9-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter so that she can enjoy her extra time with her family.

Um Hashem, a Jordanian mother of two, said that she and her five-year-old daughter read stories and use educational apps geared towards developing her daughter's skills, in addition to cooking together.

"Coronavirus is a common issue in Jordan and the world, therefore all parents should discuss this topic with their children, depending on their levels of understanding and ages," she said.

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