“We have to stay inside now to stop spreading the virus, to keep it contained so we can get rid of it as fast as possible,” explains 11-year-old Ely. Her parents, she says, tell her “to act as normally as possible, because I think they don’t want me to worry. Also they tell me to read a lot, spend less time on screens, and to stay calm.”
Ely maintains that she listens carefully to her parents’ advice, although occasionally she balks at going to bed on time. “But I like that I don’t have to wake up at 6am, that I can stay in my pyjamas all day, and I get to spend more time with my parents. My dad says that this time is like a blessing, because we can become closer as a family.”
Although Ely misses her seeing her friends and attending school – “I’ve been going there for six years, it’s like my home” – she admits that she’s lucky to be able to call her friends every day. “My dad gave me his old phone, and he said if I was responsible I could use it to chat to my friends every day.”
The subject of their conversations is surprising. “At the moment, we always talk about the update on how many cases of Covid there are in Cyprus, and how much it’s spreading. But I always tell them what my dad told me: PACE. That means Positive Attitude Changes Everything, and I think it’s very true. He says successful, happy people have a positive attitude to life, no matter what’s happening.”
And what does she wish for? “I wish I could protect my family and the whole world from the virus. I wish I could make it so that everyone was immune.”
Angelos is 12, one of four siblings. “We have to stay inside because a virus came to our planet and for it to stop spreading, we must stay locked up,” he explains. “Our parents tell us to wash our hands and to not leave the house. They also tell us to cooperate and to work as a team because we are a big family.
“I try to listen to them even though it’s hard and I’m tired of staying home,” he says. “Sometimes I get bored because I just don’t know what to do. My mum gives me ideas, but I don’t know what I want to do. Eventually I think of something to do like drawing, or playing music, or fixing things, or tidying up and other stuff; I play on the trampoline with my brothers and we play outside in the garden. In the evening we watch movies or play board games.”
Schoolwork is a big part of Angelos’ day: he spends most of his morning hard at work, and tries to catch up with his friends later in the day. “I talk to my friends on Viber and Skype, but we don’t talk often because we have a lot of homework and it takes too much of our time,” he continues.
Over the past few weeks, Angelos has been doing his best to help around the house and “be a good big brother”. “I miss my grandparents and the family get-togethers we always have, especially at the weekends. I also miss my friends, bike rides and my tennis lessons.” But he also admits there are aspects of the lockdown he’s enjoying: “One thing I like the most is the time I spend with my brothers and sister, even though we fight sometimes.
“These last few weeks,” he adds, “I haven’t been feeling that happy, but I am happy that my family is alright. My parents are not very happy when they hear the news and I give them a hug and thank them. Because they are the best parents in the world!”
“It’s crucial we all stay safe and stay inside so Covid-19 affects as few people as possible and we can return to our regular lives,” she explains. “My mum and I both feel very strongly about this and make sure to only leave our house for absolute necessities – walking our dog and stocking up on food.”
Sandra admits that she misses many aspects of pre-lockdown, including nature walks and hanging out with her friends. “I compromise by running through the fields with my dog and video calling them. We talk almost daily and even do activities together, such as work out or sing to each other so the distance between us seems to minimise.”
Finishing lessons at 1.30 pm each day, Sandra keeps herself occupied with “painting, workouts, reading books, yoga, house chores, studying, house-plant care and so much more.” And she notes that her garden is particularly important to her mental health at this time: “The birds chirping on our trees and the sun’s rays caressing the flowers provide a sense of serenity and tranquillity. I believe it’s important we all maintain as positive a view as possible and remain calm and active. Stay home and stay safe!”
“My parents tell me that we should not go close to other people and that it is DANGEROUS FOR PEOPLE OVER 50 YEARS OLD!” writes 9-year-old Georgie. “I know we have to stay inside,” he continues, “because if we are a carrier of COVID-19 we can give it to someone and they are in danger of dying.”
Georgie spends his day on “homework, games, playing outside, and lessons. And I make sure I talk to my friends every day on FaceTime or Teams.
“But I miss go karts, and,” he adds, “and I miss my grandparents. If there was one thing I could do for my family, I’d let my mum and dad see their parents.”
“We must stay indoors because there is a dangerous pandemic virus around the world,” says 11-year-old Mia. “This virus is called the coronavirus. The coronavirus has killed a lot of people,” she notes wisely, adding that her parents say “if we all keep going outdoors then the coronavirus is just going to get worse and worse!
“I listen to them,” she continues, “because there are people who are vulnerable and can get sick easier, people like my grandparents and my pregnant auntie. I really miss them.”
Keeping busy is a big part of Mia’s day, and she adds that she enjoys the homework her teacher sends through. “Now that I am home all day, I do my homework, I watch TV, I talk with my friends over the phone and play board games. I usually never get bored, but I think I’m starting to. If I do get bored, I go to my room and watch my fish swim and then I eventually might fall asleep, or I might just play with my hamster.
“I’m happy because my family is bonding and is happy playing board games and doing all sorts of activities,” she reveals. “And if I could do one thing for my family it would be to protect them from the coronavirus.”
Eight-year-old Sophia – “but I’m very nearly nine!” explains “we have to stay inside because of the coronavirus”.
When she’s not doing lessons – “it’s very difficult, because my sister has the good computer and the mic doesn’t work on my computer” – Sophia keeps herself busy with all sorts of activities. “I love playing with Lego,” she says. “I get to use my imagination again and think of what I want to build and because the bricks are made in a very specific way you can build whatever you want.” And she’s adamant that she doesn’t get bored: “I prefer staying at home anyway. There are so many things to do at home, like build forts with my dad and my sister and play with toys or bake.”
She also tries to talk to her friends. “Now we are quarantined – wait, it’s not called that, it’s called staying at home,” she explains, “I use WhatsApp to call my friends sometimes. We always say we’re going to talk to each other at night, but most of the time we don’t because we’re tired or we forget or we have homework. But just yesterday, I made a pie and I sent my friends a picture of it, and we talked about that for a while. Sometimes we just type silly things to each other. One of my friends just types random letters, and that’s really funny!
“My parents tell me to do my homework and go to bed on time,” she notes. “Sometimes I pretend I can’t hear them five times, but eventually I go to bed. I’m usually pretty tired from all my work. My dad always helps me with my work and I help him with his, which is nice. But his work is so easy, he just changes numbers around – that’s what he did yesterday, I saw him. And my work is a lot harder I think.”