Hello! My name is Yliana. My husbands name is Zakhar. We’re 30 years old and already parents of three boys, older kids are twins, they are 9 years old and the youngest son is 2 years old. We live in one of the coldest places on the Earth in the Republic of Sakha Yakutia, which is located in the Far-East part of Russian Federation. It is the country of contrasts. In the conditions of sharp continental climate the range of air temperature changes is more than 100 degrees by Celsius. In winter the temperature drops to -40-55 degrees by Celsius (below zero). The summer is too short, dry and has relatively high temperatures, which can hit +40 C. Also Yakutia is located entirely in the permafrost zone and in the past it was the land of mammoths, musk ox, cave lion, woolly rhinoceros and bison. We love our homeland and have a tradition to go for a road trip throught out Yakutia every summer. We enjoy travelling with our kids because we help them to explore the world and our native land. Our family is fond of travelling by car, going for hiking, byking and doing some outdoor activities. We believe guess nature does not have bad weather and it is not a problem for us to go for hiking even in the winter when it is minus 45 degrees outside. Moreover we choose eco-friendly lifestyle, clean playgrounds, sport grounds, forests from the garbage, participate in eco festivals.
Clean Up the World 🙂
What kind of toys does your kid like to play with?
We love to play board games with our boys, national games Khabylyk, Khaamiska (these games develops speed, reaction, balance and motor skills), and other world games Alias, Crocodile, Monopoly, checkers. During our free time, they play the national musical instrument khomus (harp). They also like to play on gadgets. Junior likes to watch books, cartoons and play LEGO.
What are the local snacks for kids?
Our local cuisine is very specific. Yakut people traditionally eat a lot of meat due to harsh climatic conditions. We eat beef, foal, and venison. In the summer, we collect berries, mushrooms, and in the winter we cook mors from them, make canned food. The diet of children is ordinary, as in many children in the world. They also like Breakfast cereals, chocolate paste, and sodas. But the main food is meat. Although my eldest son is a vegetarian. We cook for him separately.
Do you cook for your children?
I love cooking. Now I’m on maternity leave and I have time to cook. Every day we do not do without pancakes. On weekends, we make sure to cook pizza and burgers from homemade buns. We also like to make delicious teas with lemon, thyme, Ivan-tea, pear, oranges. We collect thyme and Ivan-tea ourselves every summer during our hiking.
How do your kids spend free time?
In summer time we go for hiking, cycling, on weekends we go with the whole family to camp sites, on the river to fish and travel around Yakutia. In winter time we visit museums, theaters, exhibitions, festivals, go to the movies. Also we receive guests from different cities and countries through couchsurfing. We show them our homeland, introduce to the culture and traditions of the Yakut people. Tourists are very open-minded, kids-friendly, they play with our children in our national table games, older children teach them to play on the musical instrument khomus, we cook something from traditional Yakut cuisine and the cuisine of our guests.
What are the roles of parents in your country? What duties do belong to mother and to father?
The roles of father and mother does not differ from the usual concepts. The father works, earns money, feeds the family. On weekends, he spends time with his family. My mother takes care of the family, cooks, and takes care of the children.
Can you explain how maternity leave works? How long is it? Can you get back to work after it without any obstacles?
Maternity leave is to take care of a child lasts up to three years of the child. You have to go to work the next day. During maternity leave, you can get back to work at any time upon application. For the first 1.5 years of maternity leave, young mothers receive an allowance that is calculated individually depending on their salary. It is in the range of 6600 to 26000 RUB. Once the child reaches the age of 1.5, the allowance is no longer paid. Last year, a certain change has occurred in this respect and by decree of the President of the Russian Federation, mothers who gave birth after 01/01/2019 receive allowance until the end of maternity leave, it means they get it for 3 years. My older children went to kindergarten when they were 2 years old, while the younger still attends nursery, where he spends half a day. My older children went to kindergarten when they were 2 years old. And the younger one is still attending a nursery until the summer, studying for half a day.
Does the country offer any help for families with kids?
Sure, there are many programs to subsidize and help families with children. For example, the allocation of funds for a home purchase, one-time assistance at birth of children, besides assistance to families with many kids – rendering of land, funds from region budget, a lot discounts and benefits in regular stores for families with many kids, cinema-centres, game rooms for children.
Do you vaccinate your children? If so, against what? Is it mandatory to vaccinate kids?
I vaccinate my children. If you refuse vaccination in Russia,, you can face a number of problems when entering kindergarten, school, University, or work. In order not to run into problems again, most parents vaccinate their children. By the way, I have nothing against mandatory vaccinations. We are treated for measles, hepatitis, and seasonal flu.
Is it safe to travel with a child in Russia? What to watch out for? Do you think your country is friendly for families with kids?
Tourism is not very well-developed in Yakutia. We don’t have five-star hotels or tourist clusters. Extreme tourism is more popular here. For example, the conquest of the Cold Pole in Oymyakon, where a lot of tourists come in winter, to feel the real cold in-60/ Also climbers come to conquer the Northern mountains, many people are interested in the life of reindeer herders in the North, life in the plagues under harsh conditions. The distances are very long and traveling with a child is not easy. But, in my opinion, if you do not like adventures and difficulties, then you should not start traveling. In any way it’s all individual. Actually in summer it is comfortable to travel.