The "new normal" the pandemic has brought about has become a lot to take in for everyone—especially parents. Parents are asked to work remotely, children are forced to homeschool, family routines are upended, and play dates are all canceled.
Actress Nikki Valdez, mother of Olivia, tells ABS-CBN Lifestyle how she's adjusting to this new normal—starting with answering all her daughter's questions about the pandemic. How she tries to create a new routine and what she's learned so far, she tells all below.
[related: ABS-CBN Lifestyle Asks Nikki Valdez: The Greatest Parenting Lesson Ever Learned?]
How did you explain COVID-19 to your daughter?
At first we had a hard time explaining to her. Kasi kami rin nabigla. Kasi nagtanong siya kung mag-e-end daw ba tong pandemic. Magkakaroon daw ba ng end yung pandemic. Sabi namin, "Yes, everything comes to an end." Ang hindi lang namin masasagot kasi ang sunod nyang question was, "When is it gonna end?" So, sabi namin, "Well, we don't know when it's gonna end. But the best thing that we can do right now is hang on to our faith that there will soon be an end to it all." And that kung anong meron tayong oras just to make use of everything. What is important is we are all together at home, to keep praying, and holding on to our faith na it will be ending soon.
How do you manage her emotions?
Part of calming her down what I made her do was to be the one to put food inside food packs. It's going to teach her compassion, understanding lang the situation going on, right now. Sinasama lang namin sya para may distraction sya. Sinasama namin sya sa kung ano ginagawa namin. Simple things that will actually divert her attention. Medyo matanda naman na sya ano, 11 years old na sya. So, hindi mahirap na kausapin when it comes to things like this. I think there is a bit of struggle when it comes to younger kids. Mga toddlers, sanay na naglalaro sa outdoors and all. Hinahayaan ko siyang kausapin friends niya, minsan tinatawagan sya ng mga classmates nya and then we talk a lot over meals nga. Yun yung time namin talaga to actually tell things to each other. So, kinukwento nya kung ano yung mga ginagawa nya ganun. Siguro yun yung way of release nya rin.
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What have you learned from your family lately?
I've learned to be more understanding of my daughter. Kasi simula ng lockdown, kami nga lang yung araw-araw magkasama dun lang ako marami pang nalaman tungkol sa kanya. Eto pala yung mga ginagawa nya sa school. I'm so happy that my daughter is this open to me. With my family life, I appreciate everything one step at a time, which is supposed to be the case naman kasi talaga dahil wala namang nangyayari kapag nag wo-worry tayo di ba? There is always something na maganda na mangyayari.
What advice can you give parents on helping their children cope?
Do everything one step at a time. Yung daughter ko kinukuha namin ngayon lahat ng gadgets nya. So now she's forced to go back to her painting, to her crafts. So ngayon kasi kahit gusto mong ilayo yung isip mo sa mga toxic na pangyayari, hindi mo maiiwasan. Ang payo ko nalang sa mga parents, to moms especially who are hands-on with their children at home is to just focus on the things that you can control and not to dwell on the ones that you cannot. With the kids, make do with whatever is at home. Wag na natin sabihin na, "Naku, kung wala lang pandemic sana nandun na tayo or eto yung ginagawa natin." Just be in the present in what's happening. Kung wala silang time noon to do other things, maybe we can encourage our kids to read more, to discover more about their talents by making use of whatever they have at home. Si Olivia nga minsan paliliguan ko yan sa plangana eh! Kasi ganun lang ginagawa namin noon eh. I want her to experience the joy of yung simplest things. Just be in the now and do not overthink, do everything to be healthy. Pray at night. As soon as you wake up in the morning pray for a lot of people, pray for your family, pray for yourself. And have that quiet time once in a while.
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Photos from @nikkivaldez_
Banner image by Karen Garcia