Some families are being asked to prove how many children they have to care for.
The Large Families Association in Germany KRFD reported that large families shopping during the coronavirus pandemic, which is causing shortages of some items in stores, experience “a lack of understanding, distrust, and even direct aggression.”
Some families were even asked to prove how many children they have to care for. They were then faced with doubts regarding the truth of their statements.
“If a family has five children, they need 1 kilo of pasta and two cans of tomatoes for one meal,” said Elisabeth Müller, head of Verband kinderreicher Familien Deutschland (KRFD). “What for others is a purchase to stock up is a normal weekend shopping trip for families with several children,” she explained.
Instead of being frowned upon while shopping, parents of large families “need solidarity, understanding and respect for the task of providing food and care,” Müller continued. “In the current situation, parents are under enormous pressure.”
Annika Kröller, who also works for KRFD, said parents need to be true all-rounders in the current situation. “They cook, teach, do handicrafts, read, play, clean up, and always have to plan for the next few days.”
She pointed out that parents “don’t have time to rest or think calmly, and in many families the corona crisis also triggers existential fears, because the savings account is rarely overflowing.”
While children in large families are not bothered by the fact that all schools and child care facilities are closed in Germany, since they always have someone to play with, parents are under “enormous psychological pressure,” Kröller said.
In the context of shopping for large families, KRFD stated that a “multi-child family card,” some sort of identification card on which all children belonging to the family are listed, “has proven to be very useful.” Already in use in Thuringia, KRFD “urgently” recommended the adoption of similar cards in all parts of Germany.
Originally, KRFD had intended to have an alternative to “family passes” to amusement parks or cultural institutions, which usually include admission for only up to two children.
However, following the coronavirus outbreak, “it is becoming more and more important for families to acquire sufficient food and necessities.”
For this reason, the website of the “multi-child family card” in Thuringia explained, “the card now serves as a family record of the persons living within the family and is intended to make it easier for families with many children to purchase basic food, necessities and hygiene products for the coming weeks.”
The “multi-child family card” is a private initiative, but it is recognized by the state of Thuringia in Germany, as well as many organizations representing all kinds of businesses and individual institutions.
In fact, even far-left prime minister Bodo Ramelow praised the card. “The abundance of children is a blessing for our society, a statement that is actually self-evident, and yet it is not uncommon for everyday life to present a different picture,” he said in 2019, when the card was first introduced.
Regarding the importance of family life, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, Müller said the family was a reliable place of retreat and support. “The period of the coronavirus should encourage us as a society to think about what is really important in life and what is important when everyday life is so radically questioned.”
In Germany, current rules state that “visiting public places is only permitted alone, with one other person who does not live in your household, or when accompanied by the members of your own household.” Restaurants and service providers like hairdressers are closed for at least two weeks.
More than 31,000 people in Germany have tested positive for coronavirus, and the country is reporting 149 deaths so far. Death rates in other countries, including the United States, are significantly higher.