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People How The Tatler Community Has Been Keeping Children Busy At Home

How The Tatler Community Has Been Keeping Children Busy At Home

How The Tatler Community Has Been Keeping Children Busy At Home
By Tara Sobti
By Tara Sobti
April 28, 2020
With schools closed in Hong Kong since January, we spoke to Tatler parents to find out how they have been keeping their kids busy at home during the coronavirus pandemic

If you’re a parent, the struggle is real. Schools have been closed for what feels like forever. If you’re teaching from home like Anne Wang Liu, or simply trying to find creative ways to entertain your toddlers like Alison Chan, know you are not alone. These resourceful mothers tell us how they are keeping their kids occupied at home, while trying to maintain some level of sanity.

See also: What Hong Kong’s Most Powerful People Are Doing To Fight The Coronavirus

Anne Wang Liu, former banker and philanthropist who sits on the board of governors for Hong Kong Ballet

Photo: Affa Chan/ Tatler Hong Kong
Photo: Affa Chan/ Tatler Hong Kong

How many children do you have and how old are they?

I have two daughters aged 12 and 15.

How long have they been at home?

They have been home in Hong Kong for about one and a half months now, and their online schooling started in January.
 
How are you keeping them entertained?

Their virtual learning and homework keeps them quite busy. I’m quite conscious of the amount of time that they now need to spend in front of a screen so I encourage them to do activities outdoors or with their hands. We’ve spent many afternoons hiking and rediscovering Hong Kong. The girls love to bake, they have tried many new recipes including scones, churros, cinnamon sugar pretzels, madeleines and mini pancakes with Nutella. They prepare treats for family and friends, but they are also cooking for us, which I really enjoy.
 
Are there any apps or technology you are using to help them learn?

I have a newfound respect for the job that teachers do. I find myself needing to follow along more closely with the girls’ curriculums, so online teaching resources like E-notes have been invaluable. There are great online lessons and tutorials on Youtube which have helped me to refresh what I learned in middle school.

What challenges have you faced?

The toughest part when raising children in these circumstances is keeping them focused. There are many distractions at home and online so maintaining a daily schedule that is as close to their normal school day is imperative. Not being able to do their usual extracurricular activities has been challenging but it has also allowed us to do more things together as a family. I love having the children home.
 
Are you getting time to yourself?

After the kids have finished their homework and head to bed, I usually have a few hours to myself to unwind.  Having my husband at home more often has also been very helpful as we can spend more one-on-one time with each child or take turns when the other is busy.

Lindsay Jang, the driving force behind hip Hong Kong restaurants Yardbird, Ronin and Sunday’s Grocery

Photo: Amanda Kho
Photo: Amanda Kho

How many children do you have and how old are they?

I have two kids: Lili, 12 and Ronin, nine.
 
How long have they been at home?

I brought them back from Canada on March 28. They've been out of Hong Kong since Chinese New Year and we finally decided to bring them home when travel restrictions were being imposed. 
 
How are you keeping them entertained?

They're at pretty self-sufficient ages right now. I have to force Lili to hang out with us as she'd rather be in her room on TikTok or FaceTiming with her friends, whereas Ronin is always up for card games and binge-watching the American comedy show Nathan For You with us.
 
Are there any apps or technology you are using to help keep them busy?

Their school is using Zoom and Google Meet and Classroom, daily. The kids are pretty good at staying on top of it all.
 
What challenges have you faced?

Choosing what to eat for dinner as we always have too many baked goods (Lili loves to bake and recently got a KitchenAid), and on a more serious note, trying to deal with the new realities of daily life and navigating business when it relies on socialising and interaction. But we're healthy and safe so that's all that matters in the end.
 
Are you getting time to yourself ?

Yes. They're not babies, so they understand how important it is for me to work and sweat. We've moved a lot of furniture around so that I basically have my own little fitness studio in the house. I also spend a good amount of time in my infra-red sauna. Lili has also adopted a daily exercise regime, but Ronin... not so much.

See also: 13 Things You've Been Meaning To Do But Never Had The Time...Until Now

Alison Chan El Azar, fashionista and Hong Kong Ballet ambassador

Photo: Mosses Ng
Photo: Mosses Ng

How many children do you have and how old are they?

I have two kids, a three-year-old daughter named Kaia and a four-year-old son named Khalil. 
 
How long have they been at home?

It has been so long that I’ve actually lost track.
 
How are you keeping them entertained?

The list is quite large. We do the following:
 - Pretendplay: We build train tracks and forts.
 - Cooking: I’ve been cooking more so I get them to help me pour and stir things. I recently got them child-friendly scissors so they could shred a lettuce head. Needless to say, it didn’t last very long.
 - Washing: When the weather is good, I give them their own clothing to wash outside in a bucket. It eats up a good 30 minutes. 
 - Arts and crafts: lots of Playdoh time, drawing and painting.
 - Screen time: I’ve relaxed my no screen time rule during home quarantine, so that I can also take a break. 
 - Dancing: my daughter Kaia just learnt how to do the Macarena. She’s also recently got into the “I like to move it” song from Madagascar, so we’ve been moving and shaking a lot.
 
Are there any apps or technology you are using to help keep them busy?

I love Cosmic Kids Yoga, which is a kids’ yoga app in story form. It’s great. When I do my YouTube home workouts, my kids do Cosmic Yoga. 
 
What challenges have you faced?

My own boredom and mood swings. I also find it hard to stay motivated and creative every single day. Some days, I just want to watch Netflix and eat sushi all day in bed. But that’s just a dream. My kids, on the other hand, are loving life: no school, no Mandarin class and TV all day. They are happy to have me home 24-7—and I can’t hide anywhere.

Are you getting time to yourself?

Yes: when they sleep or nap is when I put the TV on. 

Marisa Yiu, founding partner of architecture studio Eskyiu and co-founder of Design Trust.

Photo: Mosses Ng
Photo: Mosses Ng

How many children do you have and how old are they?

I have two amazing identical twin boys. They just turned five.
 
How long have they been at home?

Since February 3.
 
How are you keeping them entertained?

As an architect and designer, I tend to have a lot of Lego and Kapla building blocks at home (and with Covid-19, my collection seems to be growing). We keep busy with other creative outlets as well, such as painting and scientific experiments. My kids recently learned about magnetic fields so they are fascinated by magnetic putty. We’re also exploring nature with hikes outside. Bike riding has been a huge hit, and my husband recently bought them big boy bikes.It has been a pleasure to see them excel in riding, balancing and going down ramps.
 
Are there any apps or technology you are using to help the learning process?

It has been super busy in the morning with homeschooling as their teachers have been intensely planning and creating exciting worksheets. As a parent, I really appreciate it and feel so lucky that we have access to great digital learning resources, such as Zoom, Epic Reading and Phonics Hero in both English and Chinese. We try to strike a balance between work and play.
 
What challenges have you faced?

As a working mother, it has been challenging to take on a new role: guiding, managing, inspiring and being a teacher to my kids.I do love it, but I also have huge responsibilities at work. Striking a balance and organising myself efficiently has been crucial. I’m lucky to have a strong family network to help me out, but the days and nights are definitely longer. Also with the closure of public playgrounds and social distancing, our weekly interaction with my extended family and my elderly parents is limited. I’m spending many more hours on FaceTime.
 
Are you getting time to yourself?

Absolutely. Once the children are asleep, and without my regular hectic social schedule, I’ve been able to take time to myself. I go on more walks, I have more time to read, write and sketch. Although my creative peaks are usually in the morning, my process and psychology of creativity has been radically revamped.

Jane Louey, style maven and intrepid traveller

Photo: Olivier Yoan
Photo: Olivier Yoan

How many children do you have and how old are they?

I have a son and two daughters. All three are teenagers. 
 
How long have they been at home?

They have been home since the end of Chinese New Year in January. They spent two months in Los Angeles and the remainder of time has been here in Hong Kong.
 
How are you keeping them entertained?

We have been spending a lot of quality family time together partaking in countless activities ranging from cooking, reorganising, playing board games and watching movies. We have also spent time reevaluating what is important to us in life.
 
Are there any apps or technology you are using to help the learning process?

Amid school closures, my children have been using Zoom and Skype regularly for classes.
 
What challenges have you faced?

When we were in the US, coping with the time difference for online school was quite challenging. They would begin classes late in the afternoon and finish at 1am. I would make snacks throughout the night and check in to make sure they were awake.
 
Are you getting time to yourself?

Absolutely. Now that most of my schedule has come to a halt, I have had a lot more time to do the things I would not usually have the time to do. I have been able to catch up on my personal reading as well as learn how to prepare healthy homemade meals. It’s rejuvenated everyone’s health, as I finally have time to go to market myself to get the best produce. 

See also: Home School: Educational Websites To Keep Children Occupied And Learning

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People homeschooling. what to do at home Tatler community Tatler parents coronavirus covid-19 online learning Hong Kong schools Jane Louey Alison Chan El Azar Lindsay Jang Anne Wang Liu Marisa Yiu

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