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HOW TO COPE WITH KIDS AND WORK DURING THE COVID-19 LOCKDOWN

A week before President Mohammadu Buhari imposed a cessation of non-essential movements in Lagos and Ogun states along with Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, parents and guardians in Lagos were already dealing with the realities of having kids, teenagers and other family members stay at home as part of the COVID-19 response of the Lagos state government.

A lockdown of this scale can put reasonable amount of strain on parents, children and families for apparent reasons. Business and economic activities have slowed while financial demands on breadwinners and caregivers have increased to meet the need for essential commodities and care during this stay home period.

While it is undeniable that social isolation, generic financial emergencies, fear and panic as well as  complete lockdowns can be serious stress triggers for most people, we may all agree also that ensuring the safety of our children and loved ones in times like these is a non-negotiable imperative.

On the bright side of the COVID-19 lockdown fuss, Psychologists and relationship experts are saying that a lockdown can be a great opportunity for hitherto busy families to bond, spend quality family time, mend broken relationships and learn to support each other through such challenging times.

In a March 22, 2020 article for The Guardian UK, freelance writer Donna Ferguson observed increased worry among schools, parents and caregivers who must work from home while trying to cope with everyone being at home.

According to Ferguson, keeping your career on track by working from home while overseeing the physical and mental wellbeing of your children and entire family can be accomplished by observing a few expert pointers:

  • Setting realistic hours to work at home while kids are off school. Children should take precedence to avoid family members developing the negative feeling of being ignored. Parents can take turns, work in shifts to ensure they are able to supervise the kids and listen to each other’s concerns.
  • Avoiding over-regimented routines as stress is known to lower immunity to viral infections. Instead of worrying that children aren’t doing enough schoolwork and trying to take on the role of your child’s teacher, child- led and individualized learning which most schools struggle to offer should be encouraged at this time.
  • Helping children build a sense of productivity and accomplishment at home by encouraging them to engage in a range of curricular or non-curricular activities like helping with housework, cooking, practicing a craft or learning a new skill.
  • Not punishing your teens by taking away their tech. Complete isolation from friends can impact the mental health of people and particularly adolescents. Encourage them to stay in touch with their friends virtually.  

Importantly, keep yourself and family informed about the Corona virus by following verified channels of the WHO and NCDC on https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019  and http://covid19.ncdc.gov.ng/  respectively. 

Together, we can flatten the COVID-19 curve!

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