As she saw her five-year-old son standing in front of a TV attending his virtual school losing ceremony in late May, Tran Phuong Chi, 36, could not imagine how he would spend the stay-at-home summer break.
Chi's city, Da Nang, was hit hard by COVID-19 and put under strict lockdown in May.
It was a time when local residents needed day-passes to enter markets.
A lot of restrictions had been lifted before they were reinstated in June given the resurgence of the stubborn coronavirus.
Everything has not yet come back to normalcy.
More challenges, more skills
In previous summers, Chi and her husband traveled with their children or brought them to the countryside before coming back to the city for summer classes.
This year, they can do nothing but stay at their home in Hai Chau District.
Overcoming several COVID-19 waves, Chi’s children got used to studying online with teachers.
The young mother has also developed activities to help them have a not-so-boring summer break.
As she also works from home, it is easier for her to spend more time playing and studying with her children.
At night, nine-years-old Bich Quan, who is Chi’s daughter, is in charge of making a to-do list and schedule for the next day.
Chi gives her some small tasks such as reading a book and then summarizing it for her sibling or mopping the house and revamping her own room.
By completing the tasks, Quan will be rewarded with textbooks, stationary or toys. She also has her brother help to do housework.
After two weeks of summer break, Quan found new interest in watering plants and cooking simple dishes such as fried eggs or soup. Her brother is now responsible for doing the washing-up
|Bich Quan and her brother wash dishes together. Photo: Phuong Chi / Tuoi Tre|
Nong Thi Huong Xuan, 38, in Son Tra District, enjoys her children’s assistance in running an online business.
Working as a TV reporter, Xuan sells organic food as a side job.
Besides helping her children with studying, working out, and doing housework, Xuan instructs them to make fruit advertising clips in English and Vietnamese.
They think up their own ideas and Xuan gives comments on communication skills to help them perfect the final products. She also shows them how to display, weigh, and sell fruits.
“I am sure that they learn something, how to calculate profits and do marketing, for example," the parent said.
"These experiences help them apply bookish knowledge into reality."
|Nong Thi Huong Xuan’s children help their mother sort fruits. Photo: H.X. / Tuoi Tre|
Amid the pandemic, Doan Phat Ha, 39, in Lien Chieu District, and his wife still have to go to work.
Worrying that his son would feel lonely staying at home, he connected him with a classmate to spend summer days together.
They have a daily schedule for English study and recreational activities.
Sometimes, he calls home to check whether they are doing well or asks a neighbor to pay a quick visit, reminding them to have lunch and take a nap.
“After work, we ride bikes, play soccer, or fly kites together," he said.
"These activities help keep my son active and healthy after a long day staying indoors and sitting in front of a monitor.
"It is fun that we have a lot of things to share at dinner time.”
Psychologists warn against forcing children to stay at home all day as they will get irritable.
They might get addicted and negatively affected by overusing computers and other smart devices.
Dr. Nguyen Thi Quy from the psychology department under the Da Nang University of Pedagogy said parents should spend time talking, reading books, and making toys with their children.
Depending on their ages, parents can also ask their children to help with housework as a way to share responsibility and better understand each other.
“To ensure children’s social connection, parents can let them play in small groups with peers who have not traveled from COVID-19-hit areas," Quy said.
"When they go out, parents should make sure they play within the safe range of pandemic prevention."