MANILA, Philippines — With around 80% of the world’s people already anxious even during the start of the coronavirus lockdown, anxiety is the new normal, said clinical psychologist Bless de Asis.

But anxiety is “a normal reaction to an abnormal situation” like the pandemic, De Asis assured parents in a recent webinar series.

“This pandemic is asking more from us,” De Asis recalled the reaction of some work-from-home parents who are also now stressed with their kids’ schooling at home.

“When do we know that our anxiety is still ‘normal’? When is it time to consult a professional?” the parents asked her.

According to her, “If your daily activities are already affected, it’s time to consult.”

But before seeking professional help, psychologist and child and family therapy expert Dr. Honey Carandang gave pieces of advice on how to balance work from home and homeschooling, especially since both parents and kids are working at home or are working together.

B is for beauty

“It’s important to allow beauty to touch, refresh you and let you pause… beauty actually heals,” Carandang assured parents and kids.

A is for affirmation, acceptance 

“Affirmation is a basic psychological need,” said Carandang. “People who matter to us are happy whenever they find out that what they’re doing is acceptable.”

L is for letting go, setting limits, listening

Although being kind and compassionate should be a given in any family, family members should also know their limits, said Carandang.

“Set boundaries so you also can take care of yourself to stop and rest,” she enthused. “If you don’t rest, your temper is affected, so rest is good for everyone’s well-being, not just your own.”

“Rest is a responsibility, not a luxury,” De Asis added. 

Once family members have set limits, they should respect those limitations, Carandang noted.

“Respect is universal, is learned and earned, a core value in every family and country in the world,” she said.

“We should have respect for someone’s property, especially during the lockdown when there is confusion among family members.”

To avoid confusion, “set a structure for time and space,” she suggested.

“Even a candle or a pillow can signify space,” added De Asis. “Teaches kids to be sensitive to the family’s needs.”

Apart from setting a physical limitation, it also helps to schedule when to share a space, for example, during lunch. 

Parents, however, should make room for mistakes to avoid conflict and that is where they should let go, said Carandang.

“You need a child to still be a child; letting go is one of hardest parts of parenting,” she professed. 

Part of letting go is listening to kids.

“Many conflicts happen because parents want to give too much… receiving is not easy for someone used to control especially as parents… So parents should teach their children with the joy of giving — it’s also blessed to receive,” the doctor explained.

“By listening, you empower them, you give them worth and self-confidence, so enjoy, play and listen to them.”

Allow children to play freely because as the doctor said, “Playing is not a waste of time… kids should not be studying all day.”

Especially for young kids, she said playing is the most necessary thing a child can do for optimal development and to cope with stress and trauma especially during the pandemic.

The cancellation of classes and the transition to online learning has placed an even bigger responsibility on parents to be both parent and teacher as they constantly search for ways to keep their kids entertained and educated while at home.

To support them and their little ones, Huggies is introducing its newest Playbox, a toy designed to enhance kids’ playtime. Recognizing its important role in the learning and development of kids, especially today when they have to constantly stay indoors, the Playbox is intended to make playtime more secure, entertaining and engaging for them. This is particularly crucial in the toddlerhood stage where kids begin to explore, learn and connect with the world around them. 
The Playbox, available starting October 7 in Lazada and October 28 to 30 in Shopee, is bundled with Huggies Dry Pants that is specially designed for active babies.

With its ability to absorb up to seven cups of pee, easy changing feature, comfort fit and and breathable cover, babies are kept dry and comfortable so parents can be assured of uninterrupted playtime throughout the day.

Inside every box of diapers will be a carton with either a basketball or a soccer design that, when assembled, transform into either a basketball ring or a soccer goal post that can be safely played with and enjoyed by parents and their little ones. 

A is for authenticity 

“Be true, honest to yourself and others and be who you are in the family – don’t be scared to show your true self. Have an accepting attitude to allow family members to be authentic,” Carandang advised.

N is for a high-quality ‘no’ 

“It’s difficult for Filipinos to say ‘no’,” Carandang observed. 

“But saying ‘no’ is not about rejecting or being rejected. While there is an underlying need to be liked, a ‘no’ means a thought-out answer – say ‘no’ in a gracious way instead of saying ‘yes’ but you’re actually angry inside.”

C  is for human connection 

In the time of limited personal contact, we need to connect more so now, Carandang said.

“Digital is not as good as actual physical connection, but it is still a good way to show compassion and care for each other especially during the pandemic.”

E  is for equanimity, enthusiasm 

“Do things with joy,” Carandang vouched, “this will give us a simpler and a kinder world.”

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