One morning my daughter asked me, “mommy is the sky green today?” and I answered without thinking “no it is purple.” Neither of us batted an eye and continued with our days.
As I write this, the sky is blue and the little green man in my pollution APP AirVisual has shown himself, so we will HAVE to go outside today. No matter the temperature outside, I WILL open my windows. After arriving in Beijing last summer, I tried to ignore the air. But when the cold arrived, the pollution came with it. We fitted our home with a lazer egg and now we own ten air purifiers. I have sealed my home like fort Knox, and we own fancy masks that protect us. I admit, at one point I went a bit pollution crazy.
I am lucky that our shipment arrived from our move oversees (lots of toys!) I personally love pottering around the house, so no issue staying inside some days. I received great advice from a mother “if the pollution is too high, I rather transport my kids with protection through bad air, to a venue or friends house with clean air. Rather than staying at home miserable next to the air machine.” Mental health is as important as anything and having happy kids and parents is good for everyone’s mental health. In my experience over these past eight months, it has been hard to explain to my almost four year old daughter why some kids will come to play while other kids wont leave the house on heavily polluted days. Different families, different air policies. Here is a great website explaining air pollution for kids that are seven years old or older.
In a bid to make it easier for my daughter to understand our family’s pollution policy, I made a framed pollution chart. I found some coloring-book pages to put inside the frame and then made an arrow that we can move depending on the air outside. I got my inspiration from a weather chart on this website.
Pauline van Hasselt has been working for beijingkids since October 2016. Born in Wassenaar, The Netherlands, she moved with her husband and her 3 year-old daughter to Beijing in June of this year. Prior she lived in the Netherlands, Belgium, Paraguay, Texas, and London, studying and working as a chef. Pauline enjoys biking around Beijing, finding markets and new restaurants, reading crime and fantasy books in bed, and most importantly, turning her house into a home for her family.