It’s Children’s Day And Our Children Also Worry About Coronavirus
Most of us have not seen our neighbours’ children in two months. Adults agree it’s for their own good. But no one wants to ask, how do children really feel about this?
For the first time, most children are prematurely learning what it means to face an uncertain future. Parents assume that children will understand that staying indoors is for our protection. We don’t like to think they worry with us.
This Children’s day is another poignant reminder that we live in an unfamiliar world now.
When I speak to other parents, it’s like everyone wants to break a record of who can keep their child indoors for longer? Who is more careful? One colleague declared, ‘my children are not stepping out of the house till there is a vaccine for coronavirus!’ Well, it’s safe to say she speaks for those who have comfortable houses.
Will the pandemic affect children’s future?
According to an article on Ventures Africa,‘ the socio-economic impact of the novel coronavirus will force many Nigerian poor households to turn to desperate measures just to survive, adding that children are most likely to face an increased risk of child labour, sexual exploitation, or child marriage, as families find it difficult to feed.’ For a country with one of the poorest Gen X, Millenials and Gen Z in the world, this is not good news and some children sense this.
How are the parents doing?
Even though the world is adjusting to the new normal, children might need more than the normal reassurance from parents. Robert Jenkins, UNICEF’S Global Chief of Education advises that parents should plan routines together, take their time and not rush to suppress the overwhelming emotions everyone is experiencing. They should also have open conversations with their children and protect children online.
A few weeks ago, I opted out of the online learning programme being organised by my children’s school. I did this when I realised the school is following the school curriculum they would have been using if there was no pandemic, just a little more spaced out. But unfortunately, there is a pandemic, and things are not normal. Quite a number of underprivileged children are not learning from their computers and parents are not allowing kids so much screen time.
When some parents consider the amount of supervision they have to undertake; printing school work and scanning back to teacher round the clock, work, and house management, they buckle under the pressure and hung their boots with no shame.
How are the children doing?
Children’s day every year reminds us that every child deserves an education, nurturing and the best of everything. Children are the building blocks of every nation, and the future of every nation depends on readiness. They will celebrate this year unprecedentedly. The Guardian Life asked children how they feel about coronavirus and they have very interesting things to say.
Akuoma A., 6 years old
‘Coronavirus is a virus that kills people. I don’t want to go back to school but I want to spend Children’s day with my friends.’
Wehinmi E., 3 years old
‘I want to go back to school and spend children’s day with my teacher, Mrs Momoh, I miss her so much’
‘The other day I heard my mummy and daddy talking. My daddy said they sacked people at his office and my mummy said they didn’t pay her salary for April. All because of coronavirus’.
‘I don’t know if I miss school but I miss learning, I miss my karate classes and my friends. I don’t miss the teachers.
‘We are at home because of the coronavirus, my mummy said we should use the time to learn chores. No, I don’t want to school, but I want to play.
‘I can’t see my grandma because of coronavirus. Last year she took us out on children’s day, this year my mummy says we can’t go out. I want coronavirus to end.’
‘The school has not reached out to us since they asked us to go home. My daddy said it is because my school is a public school. He is not happy because his office is sacking people every day. Coronavirus is causing all the sacking.
As we come up with ways to celebrate children’s day, perhaps we ask our children questions and address some of our fears together?
You can start by asking your child today, how do you feel about all that is going on in the world?
We would love to hear what your children saying about coronavirus!
NOTE: All interviews were conducted with the permission of their parents.