Layla and her husband live with their children, the youngest of which are Yasmine who is 5 and Samir who is 7 years old.
Images from Layla, Yasmine and Samir’s discussion.
Have you talked about coronavirus with your child? What do the children understand about it?
Yes, we have talked about Coronavirus, how to keep safe, about wearing masks. We explained that it’s a very dangerous virus. It can kill people. So, to avoid it we need to keep our distance and can’t go out as much. We see it on the news on the TV and social media, and discuss it. The numbers are rising in our country of origin and in Scotland. The children know it’s a dangerous virus and it could kill family or friends and we’re still waiting on a vaccine. My 5 year old understands what’s happening, because they were at home for 6 months, which isn’t usual. They are scared. They miss meeting with their friends. They just want a normal life again and for the virus to go away quickly.
The ‘lockdown’ started in late March, can you remember what it was like that first few weeks when the rules about getting out and about or meeting people outside the home were very strict?
The first days we were very sad, but it wasn’t just our problem. We didn’t have any other choice. Well that’s when we were doing home learning, but not like going to school. Different types of learning to keep them busy. Some of it was good, like we got to see each other a lot. We ate together. Their Dad is staying home, so we could eat together. We were doing activities together. Chatting more. Talking about our problems together. In the morning we would clean the house together, so it wasn’t just me.
Luckily, we have a back garden and we went to the parks when they opened. We go out and about. When we can we go to green spaces and parks a lot.
But then some of it was bad. We stayed home a lot. We didn’t go out. They missed swimming and their activities. Even the parks were closed. It was terrible and difficult. We missed our normal life. It was hard not being able to see other people. Then and now, even if we see each other, we keep a safe distance and don’t talk for long.
We are tired, to be honest, like everyone. I tried to keep them busy every day. We did baking, seed recycling, embroidery, planting. We planted potatoes, onion, carrots, broad beans, flowers. I taught them how to recycle seeds without buying them. We taught them a little bit of maths and taught them another language, Arabic. I teach them what I know.
Was you or your husbands employment affected by lockdown rules?
I wasn’t employed, but my husband was. He couldn’t work during lockdown because he is a taxi driver and there are no jobs. He rents another person’s car. It was a hard time. It still is.
What devices can you or the children use to go online?
We don’t have enough. When the children were learning from home, I found this really difficult. We missed a lot of classes because we didn’t have enough devices. That was a real problem for us. I asked the school for help with this but they didn’t reply. Using the same device for my children, me and their father wasn’t enough.
Did your child like or enjoy anything about the lockdown?
My 5 year old liked sleeping in the morning, playing games and watching TV. She really enjoyed being able to spend more time together. But she missed her friends, her teacher and both the younger ones, the 5 and 7 year old, they missed school
What was the hardest thing for you about parenting during those months we were in lockdown? Was any support or help missing that you wish had been there for you?
The hardest thing was that my husband stopped working, and financially this was very hard for us. So recently, when they started school, I didn’t manage to buy stuff like uniforms, school bags. I found it really difficult. Children copy each other, like to wear what others wear, and to be like each other. That was hard. I like my kids to be happy. I wish someone had helped me when they were going back to school with pencils, pencil cases and thing like that.
With the lockdown easing off, what has changed in the past month or so for you and the children?
We can go to the park. We can go shopping. We can go to buy ice-cream. But we keep safe and wear face masks. It is better, but it is unsafe. In my children’s school, they found a case of Coronavirus. It was in P7 and I have kids in P7 as well. The class is off for 15 days. It is scary and it’s not safe. It is good to go back to school, but it’s not 100% safe. It’s worrying.
When it was announced that nurseries/schools would be reopening how did you feel about your child going back to school?
It was good and bad. I have some time to myself now, and they have enjoyed going back to see their friends but, as I said it was worrying. We all try to keep a safe distance, but it’s not easy. Now, they don’t keep a distance between children. We are worrying, of course. I think school is going to close again. I don’t know how I would feel if it did close. I don’t want to think about it! I want to be positive.
Tell us about that return to school:
Well, yes, they have returned to school. They wanted to go back to school, to see their friends. But as I said, financially it was a bad moment. The school didn’t do anything to help. The schools could have helped with school things and uniforms. I want them to be happy, like other children.
How do you feel looking ahead?
They future is not really clear, but we have to be positive. If they close schools again, we have to be positive again, keeping ourselves busy again, and learning from home again. I would be happy if someone could help with all the problems I’ve talked about – like devices the children need for learning and their school uniforms and the materials they need.
What would be the best way to help or support your family in the coming months?
As a mum, I try to think like her, like my 5 year old child. If I give her paper and something to draw, she is very happy. We try to support her at learning and playing and her wellbeing. She’s a child, at the end of the day. Keeping them busy is one of the ways that keeps them healthy and their wellbeing good. They need to talk to their family and friends, get fresh air and go to the park. They miss their normal life.
I am 7 years old. I like to do crafts. Yes, I have heard about Coronavirus. Germs are bad. It’s a dangerous virus. It makes me feel sad. I missed school. I missed my teacher. I’m scared to get sick, because of the germs.
I’m happy to be back at school, because I get to see my friends. I play games with my friends, like hide and seek in the playground. I like riding my bike to school.
This is my drawing about being Back at School. It’s a boy with a mask. There are germs on his hands because he didn’t wash his hands.
And this picture is called Me and Coronavirus. It’s a germ and it’s making people sick, so I’m in the toilet washing my hands.
Because of Coronavirus we stayed home a lot. I didn’t like it, because it was boring. I liked playing in the garden and on the trampoline. I liked planting seeds. I can see some of them. They’re green. We planted vegetables. I like vegetables. I could only see my friends through the window and I would wave at them. It was bad not being able to see them.
I want to know when it’s going to stop. Is school going to close again?
I am 5 years old and I like drawing. I like to watch TV, and sleep, and colour.
I know about Coronavirus. We have to wash our hands because of Coronavirus and wear masks. If somebody didn’t wash their hands they’d be sick. I don’t know what would happen to them if they got sick, but Coronavirus kills people. In school, they said it’s dangerous. We have to wash our hands a lot in school.
I’m feeling sad, because it makes you sick and because I like to go to the park. It’s bad, because I couldn’t see my friends. We stayed home a lot. I missed my friends. I missed shopping, because there’s lot of toys and lots of clothes, shoes and everything that I like.
I’m happy that we are back at school because I can play with my friends and I see my teacher every day. I’m worried about the Coronavirus and that they might close schools again.
These are my pictures. This one is about being at school. There’s soap, and the germs in the hand, and a mask with Coronavirus on it. The germs make the girl sad. She is very sad because of the Coronavirus, because we have to stay home.
This one is called Me and Coronavirus. I’m washing my hands. It’s our house. We stay there all the time because of Coronavirus.
In this picture it’s very scary. She has Coronavirus on her and she is running into her house. The Coronavirus is up there playing and she wants to get away from it. I want to know, when is it going to stop? I want to go on an aeroplane, so I can go to see everyone again. I’d like to see my friend again.