Kenya: Stuck With the Children? It Need Not Be the Horror It Feels Like

When the government closed down all schools and sent learners home, it was deemed the best move to tame the spread of Covid-19.

To many parents, however, it has turned out to be a veritable nightmare! For those living in flats, children wake up asking to go out and play with their friends.

They have all manner of ideas about the games that they want to play that day. So, how do you explain to a three-year-old that they cannot mingle with other children because of an unseen disease?

They will ask questions and, even after you have offered an explanation, they will still beg and cry to go out and play.

"The situation is even worse in the informal settlements. Picture a family of four living in a single room. The parents run small businesses and cannot afford to stay away from work. Do they lock the children in the house? No, they cannot. Further, the children are used to expansive playgrounds at school. It will be difficult to have them stay in the house. These are the gaps the government did not foresee and has failed to address," says Daystar University School of Human and Social Sciences Dean Kennedy Ongaro.

Tracking coronavirus


Mr Gibson Anduvate, a sociologist and senior pastor at ICC in Nairobi, says parents need to find ways to keep their children busy and entertained.

"Being stuck indoors with no contact with their friends may trigger rebellion, meltdowns, anxiety and frustrations. Children are energetic and the experience can be daunting. As such, parents need to find common experiences that they can share with the children. This could be games that they can play around the house together, such as board games," he says.

He suggests that parents allocate household chores to ensure that children are involved in the daily running of their homes.

With many parents working from home, there is the temptation to allow children to watch TV all day to ensure less distraction.

Parents can substitute normal TV programmes for channels that broadcast learning materials. They can also buy videos with educational content.

If you are working from home, Mr Anduvate suggests that this is a good opportunity to have conversations on various issues with your children.


For a lot of parents, children do not know the stories of how they grew up or what they went through.

This will be a good time to walk children through their personal stories and speak to them on issues of faith to instil a spiritual foundation.

Ms Ann Wanjeru, a mother of two, says the fact that she is working from home and the children are also around has allowed her to learn more about their unique personalities.

"They are both in boarding school and during the holidays, I do not get to spend as much time as I would like with them. Now, I am getting to understand them better. How they process conflicts and getting to learn about their strengths and weaknesses. A few days ago, I realised that one of them actually sings very well. I will enrol her in a musical school when our lives are back to normal," she says.

Another parent, Ms Roseline Amboko, is a banker. At the moment, she cannot work from home, which means she is not able to supervise her three children.

"Before we go to bed every day, I ensure that we come up with a list of schedules of what they are to do the next day. My first born is 15 years and she understands the reasoning behind avoiding physical contact. We have had days that they have gone against my instructions, but the more I explain to them about the pandemic, the more cautious they become," she explains.

Across the world, parents who are stuck indoors with their children are coming out on social media to share how they are keeping their little ones learning and entertained.

More From: Nation

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.