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How families can navigate the lockdown together

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As we continue to practice social distancing and stay at home, it is a good time to explore how families can navigate the lockdown together. We are constantly hearing about the increase in people infected with coronavirus in Nigeria and the death rate around the world.

In addition to this, being stuck indoors for long periods of time can be overwhelming and it can have adverse effects on our mental wellbeing. While this time is high with uncertainty, it is important for parents and children to remain calm and use this as a bonding opportunity.

Do Not Let the Learning Stop: How your children should spend this period can vary, but one thing that is for sure is that learning should not stop. It only takes a few weeks away from school for students to fall behind schedule on their learning. One great way to do this is to embrace and encourage online learning. Below are a few free resources and tools you can use to keep your children learning. There is something for every age, from kindergarten to college level and on every subject.

. Google is offering various ways that secondary school students can use the tools for learning and engaging with classmates. They partnered with YouTube to set up a Teach from Home resource page to help at this time. To explore more about Art & Culture your child could visit the Google Arts & Culture website to explore several things. Google Hangout offers an online chat facility where you can speak with or without video over the Internet connection.

. Khan Academy offers exercises, quizzes, and tests so students from kindergarten to college, can practice and master skills, as well as instructional videos to help students learn or review material.Wideopenschool.com is a free collection of the best online learning experiences for kids curated by the editors at Common Sense.

. Scholastic has launched a “Learn at Home” website that has daily courses for students from Pre-kindergarten to grades 6 and higher. Edmodo is a free distance learning toolkit. Families can receive class updates, support the learning that is taking place at home, see classroom activity, and monitor their child’s grades all from within the platform. Children can also learn how to code and create stories and games on Scratch for Free. Audible is also offering free access to their audio books for students. This will be available during this period while schools are shut.

Effectively Manage Stress, Fear and Anxiety At This Time: Lanre Olusola, a life coach, shared a very detailed article breaking down the real dangers of excessive stress. As he rightly points out, stress as a result of fear, anxiety, worry and panic is by far more dangerous in the long run for everyone than the coronavirus.

Stress will eventually cause more fear, panic and stress putting you in self-protection mode, which uses up all your body’s available energy. In addition, it shuts down your body’s growth mode and eventually shuts down your immune system. Please don’t get into fear, worry, anxiety, panic and stress mode, stay positive by focusing on preventing the coronavirus and protecting yourself and your loved ones, which is the best you can do at this time.

Some important preventive measures for yourself and family
When you know what to do to take control and protect yourself, you will be able to manage the stress that comes from the uncertainty. Practice good hygiene: wash hands for at least 20 seconds (sing the happy birthday song twice), use sanitiser. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Obey the rules of social distancing and avoid close contact with people who are sick. Frequently clean and disinfect touched surfaces like tables, doorknobs, light switches, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. 

Consume Vitamin C rich foods such as citrus fruits, red bell peppers, broccoli, kale, strawberries, kiwi, guava and consume lots of garlic and ginger. Boost your immune system with pro-biotics by eating yogurt. Take herbs such as ginseng, myrrh and turmeric. Eat foods rich in vitamin D like wild salmon and mushrooms. Soak in the early morning sun rays. Consume lots of raw honey, as this is an antioxidant

Maintain a Positive Mindset. Ensure that your mental health is in top shape at this time; you need to have a positive mindset. Reduce the worry and fear and just take all preventive measures stated above.  Ensure to check in with your children often to see if they are still experiencing worries or concerns and encourage them to talk about it with you. By God’s grace and mercy, we will all be okay.

Most Importantly, See It As A Bonding Opportunity!
To make this a true family affair, see it as a great time to relax and bond. Rather than dread this time, you can see it as a time to enjoy. Think of things you can do together as a family. There are probably some things you do not have as much time to get done when the children are in school and this is a great time to plan what these activities could be.

. Watch Movies Together
Watch a movie in the house. Make it a bonding activity as a family. Turn your living room into a semi movie-theatre and watch a movie together as a family. You can go all the way and buy/make some popcorn to go with it.

. Play Games
Show your children that you are not so old school (winks), you are fun and that you can play a game or two. Play age-appropriate games with them. Do you know that play is also good for you?

. Plan a Video Play Date
It’s really easy for kids to feel depressed about how bad things are and how they miss their friends. Make them feel connected to their school or day-care friends by planning video play dates. Plan regular video calls with members of the family that are not with you. Both parties/families will definitely appreciate the connection and enjoy the company.

. Take up a New Hobby
Learn a new skill with your children, such as painting, swimming, pottery, or ballet.

Children find it affirming to see you struggling to master new skills, just as they are.
. Have a Picnic
This is a great way to avoid being cooped up inside all day if you have a compound. Go outside with food and games for a day of fun. Play a game of catch, Frisbee, volleyball or football. If you share compounds with other people, it may not be advisable to go outside. However, you can improvise and have a picnic in the airiest room in your apartment; clear out a spot on the floor and have fun!

. Have a Karaoke Session
Sing to your favourite songs in the company of your family and make a night of it.

. Read Together
Find a comfortable spot to read a book together. Take turns to read out loud and be sure to make it fun by using dramatic voices and gesticulations. Audio books are great alternatives that might keep kids sitting still while you’re busy or even homemade recordings of you reading their favourite books. Audible, the Amazon audio book subsidiary, has a particularly robust selection of children’s and young-adult literature.

Children feed off of the energy they get from adults. Do not panic and try not to lash out at them in frustration. Stay safe and have fun!


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