Barkha Sengupta on parenting during lockdown

Updated July 28, 2020

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Television and film actress Barkha Sengupta feels that during these unprecedented times, a focus on mental and physical health of your kids is fundamental; She advises parents to inculcate the values of self-love and empathy in their little ones.

Sengupta, 40, has been associated with MILO Homeground, an initiative by Nestle and Athletics Federation of India- that brings together India's best track and field athletes to demonstrate easy and effective exercises for children. Edited excerpts from an IANSlife interview:

Q: In your personal experience, how do you think the pandemic has affected the entertainment industry?

A: The unprecedented crisis has completely altered the face of every industry and the entertainment business too is finding its way around it. The industry altogether is trying to find the silver lining and is exploring the strength of newer avenues like OTT platforms. As most of us struggle to overcome boredom amidst the lockdown, content consumption has increased substantially, thus creating the need for fresh and versatile content which could definitely bring about a refreshing change in our cinema.

Q: Mental health is a big concern. How do you ensure you and your child stay calm and positive?

A: It is fundamental that parents prioritise their children's mental health and maintain patience while dealing with them. Along with a compassionate and sensitive approach towards your kids, it's crucial to make them understand the importance of self-love and empathy towards others. I have observed that a healthy routine helps one maintain their calm and channelize their energy better. Parents must ensure that a good amount of exercise and physical activity is a part of their kids' routine even during the lockdown.

Q: Tell us about your and your child's routine of keeping active and upbeat.

A: Physical fitness has always been a priority in our house and in times like these, we need it the most. I try and incorporate some fun games and exercises that help me spend some quality time with my daughter. Sports and athletics help foster discipline in children from a young age. Along with exercise, healthy eating habits are essential for a holistic growth. Therefore, I prefer that we start our day with some exercise, followed by a wholesome Indian meal.

Q: Fitness is a great domain where parents and children can bond.

A: Considering that all of us have been locked up in our homes, we now have more time to focus on our kids' health and strength in the process. Sports and athletics help imbibe discipline and team spirit in children. MILO has come up with an initiative MILO Homeground to help people make the most of their time in their homes. As a fitness enthusiast, I was very excited to be a part of this initiative as it reminds me to spend time and work towards a healthy lifestyle together with my daughter.

Q: How are you ensuring your child remains screen-free apart from online classes and some necessary entertainment?

A: In today's time, it is almost impossible to survive without interacting with technology. However, excessive screen time is not good for anybody's health. Therefore, it is imperative that we teach our kids how to practice moderation in terms of screen time. According to me, kids resort to television-watching or mobile gaming due to boredom and lack of options. Planning your kid's day in advance and incorporating a variety of activities throughout their day keeps them engaged. Parents must encourage their kids to read and workout, this would help them stay occupied and active while reducing the time that might have been spent in front of the screen.

Q: Please tell us about the short film you and Indraneil are starring in.

A: Working with Indraneil is always a fun-filled experience for me. Shooting during a nation-wide lockdown for our film 'Choices' was fascinating and full of learnings.

Q: What's next for you?

A: My latest web-series Hungama Play's original show Ratri ke Yatri has just gone live, so I am very excited about that. A few projects are in the pipeline and hopefully, you will be getting to know about them soon.

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