Since classes were suspended because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Hycinth Q. Clor de Arta’s three children and nephew did what many kids are doing: watch TV, Netflix and YouTube while regularly raiding the fridge in their home in Barangay Tibal-og, Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte.
“They have enough stocks of foods and they can just get and eat whatever and whenever they want to,” Clor de Arta told Lifestyle.
The same thing has been going on in many quarantined households with kids of all ages. One sign a frustrated mother put up in her home has been making the rounds online: “Mga anak, lalo ka na Rob. Dahan-dahan naman sa kain. Naka-ilang balik na ako sa grocery store. Wala na tayong pera!!! Hindi ‘to bahay ni Big Brother. Hindi pa nagsisimula ang lockdown ubos na. Community quarantine ang tawag, mga anak, hindi community picnic. Please lang. [heart symbol] Mommy.”
Clor de Arta and husband Jessari V. Dumok, who works from home, both noticed the same thing. They wanted to change the daily routine of their kids Ethan AriCinth, 7; Hera Sophie Aricinth, 3; and Franco AriCinth, 1; and their nephew Christler Hector, 5, but because of the quarantine, outdoor activities were out.
Clor de Arta then had a brilliant idea. She decided to put up Mama’s Home Quarantine Store. “I believe that putting up a mini-store inside our house for our kiddos using play money would be the best activity to do.”
To be able to earn play money they can use to buy snacks from the store, the kids have to do chores. Clor de Arta said, “They get an opportunity to do some household responsibilities that are doable by kids and earn from them. They will learn how to save their earned money and spend it wisely. It’s one way to teach them financial literacy.”
There’s a list of chores posted on their wall. If they sweep the kitchen or living room they earn P200 in play money. Sweeping the yard is “commission-based”—the money they earn will depend on the number of leaves they sweep. Throw out the trash and they earn P500. Tidy up the bedroom and they earn P500. “Thank you for your service—Mama and Dada,” the sign reads.
No mask, no transaction
Mama’s Home Quarantine Store is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. And there are rules: No mask, no transaction. Observe social distancing. Hand-sanitize before buying anything. No money, no transaction. No utang. No shoplifting. And, Clor de Arta adds, “No jealousy and misunderstanding, otherwise they get banned as buyer for three hours.”
The store is a big hit with the kids. “They were happy and very excited to earn money.”
Their favorite chores? “They love to take care of their youngest brother Coco, tidy up the room, bed sheets, pillows and the couch covers.”
There’s plenty to choose from at Mama’s Home Quarantine Store: There are wafer sticks, chocolate-covered pretzels, crackers, biscuits, sweets, fruits and more. “They mostly buy the candies and biscuits,” said Clor de Arta.
Her creative idea has been great for the whole family. “The best thing of all is we get to bond as a family. We are all enjoying it,” Clor de Arta said.
It’s been a big hit online, too, with people sharing Clor de Arta’s Facebook post over a thousand times. “Ang galing ni Mommy!” one commenter wrote.
“This is fun and clever. Good job, Mom!” another posted.
We asked Clor de Arta to give tips for other parents who want to put up their own home quarantine store. “Focus on buying and putting up things and food that interest your kids the most. That way, they get excited to participate. Educate them on how they can earn to get those things and food so they will work for them,” she said.
“I know all parents couldn’t bear their children crying if they really want to get what they want. But as a parent, all you have to do is motivate them and guide them on how to get things done. Lastly, have your husband participate and just enjoy the time to bond.” INQ