Parents ask neighbours, mums to look after nursery kids

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parents, neighbours, mums, look, kids

Dubai - There were some who had to rely on neighbours and others who asked their parents to stay with the family until nursery schools reopen.

By Saman Haziq

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Published: Sun 1 Mar 2020, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 3 Mar 2020, 6:25 PM

With nurseries closed for two weeks as part of health measures amid the Covid-19 situation, working parents have had to find ways to keep their young ones safe until they return home.
There were some who had to rely on neighbours and others who asked their parents to stay with the family until nursery schools reopen.
Dubai resident Nazia Aqueel, who has kids aged eight and three years, agreed that the closure of nurseries was necessary. It's just that it has posed a challenge to her family as she and her husband are both working full-time.
"I cannot leave my three-year-old son alone, and I cannot take leave from work either on such a short notice. So in the past two days, my husband is working from home to look after our younger one and, from tomorrow onwards, we will be seeking help from our neighbours to look after my kids for one or two days.
"We are also now planning to call one of our parents from India to be here with us until the nursery reopens," she said.
Gauri Meghnani, mother of a four-year-old nursery-goer, was somehow luckier as her mum was on a visit in the country when the decision came into effect. "As I am a working mother and my husband is travelling for a few days, it would have been very tough. If my mother wasn't here, I would have had to look for a babysitter," she said.
"At the nursery, they would take care of his meals, activities and educational stuff, along with safety and security. It gets difficult to leave your child with a new baby-sitter. Even for my mum, who is visiting us for the first time, it is a challenge as she is not used to running after my child."
Help for working parents
Dubai resident Sowmya Nagarajan said she appreciated the health measure but wished there was a clause to help working parents.
"I wish there was another clause that would allow employers to give flexibility in office hours for working parents," she said.
Talking about the alternative option she has taken for her son, she said: "We have asked his school bus to drop him at someone's house who has a nanny for his son. However, it bothers me as I am unsure how my son will adjust to the new babysitter. I remain stressed at work thinking about how he must be settling in."
Keerti, parent of a four-year-old, said that since her daughter is familiar with some nursery nannies, she thought of asking one of them to come home but was shocked by high fees. "I thought of asking one of her play school nannies but they have hiked their charges and are asking for Dh50 per hour per kid which can go up to Dh250 per day."
'Bring kids to work'
Understanding the predicament of working parents, Dubai-based EFS Facilities Services allowed its employees (with kids under five years of age) to bring their young ones to work wherein they were assigned a dedicated room called the 'happiness corner' with trained nannies and a staff member to oversee the kids.
The 'Happiness Corner' has a staff member and trained nurses to watch over the children throughout the day. Additionally, the company also offered working parents a 'work from home' option in case their child is sick.
Speaking about the initiative, Tariq Chauhan, Group CEO, EFS Facilities Services Group told Khaleej Times: "In the wake of Covid-19 outbreak, it is time organisations to support its employees in these tough times. In this regard, EFS has committed to creating a special facility for its employees especially mothers to bring their kids to the workplace wherein the children are kept under the special care of trained attendants and nurses. The company has also implemented digital kits, guidelines and toolbox talks for adopting precautionary measures and continues to play its part to help the employees, family, home, neighbourhood and community at large." 

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