Sarah O’Suilleabhain’s three children, Sinead, four, Barra, three, and one-year-old Ronan are loving having so much extra quality time with mum and dad during the Covid-19 shutdown.
“They’re too young to think about what they’re missing, though they don’t understand why they can’t see their cousins who live nearby,” says Sarah, who – although she reads recommendations about keeping children in a schedule – finds structure hard to implement.
“We spend days in the garden, going for walks, colouring and playing imaginary games – their imaginations are on overdrive.”
Sarah works in corporate fundraising with humanitarian aid agency GOAL and her husband also works full-time but – like parents everywhere – they’re finding it impossible for both to work at the same time and mind young children.
“It’s crazy trying to squeeze it all into one day.”
Particularly as baby Ronan learned to walk a week before shutdown and needs parental eyes constantly on him!
For Sarah, entertaining her children overlapped with her GOAL work when she got them making a tippy tap – a simple but ingenious device used in many developing contexts to wash hands when there’s no access to running water.
It can be built using an empty plastic container, sticks and string.
GOAL says its #GOALTippyTapTag online campaign is fun for when we’re all confined, but also sends the message that while we may be far apart in this time of the global pandemic, we can stand together in solidarity no matter where we are in the world.
Sarah’s children have had great fun making their tippy tap – they’ve knocked it down and rebuilt it three times. And it has helped her explain tough global realities.
“They understand there’s something going on in the world around them, that there are germs out there.
"I’ve explained that this is why we can’t see our friends.
The campaign purpose, says Sarah, is for families to have fun and to understand a sense of the global family.
GOAL director of fundraising Eamon Sharkey says the tippy tap also emphasises how unified actions, like washing our hands, can make us all safer.
But he says there’s no substitute for hand-washing under running tap water with soap when it’s available.
People are encouraged to make a tippy tap in their garden, balcony or yard, and then post a video/photo on social media using hashtag #GOALTippyTapTag – and tag three more people to do the same.