Why is there a need for social distancing? This past week, new cases of people infected with Corona Virus were confirmed here in Lagos and the government is still making attempts to track down other people that the infected persons have been in contact with. According to the Lagos State health commissioner Akin Abayomi, the best way to slow the rate of spread/increase is to halt the movement of the virus from person to person.
As a result, we have been advised to practice “social distancing” until further notice. Social Distancing refers to a conscious effort to reduce close contact between people and hopefully control community transmission of the virus. The Lagos State Government is closing down all public and private schools from Monday, 23rd March 2020 and suspension of all religious gatherings above 50 persons as a preventive measure. In other words, we need to stay at home!
How To Practice Social Distancing And Spend Time As A Family
1. First of all, talk to your children about it
Every child will definitely wonder why they can’t go to school or see their friends and they will have lots of questions. Have age appropriate conversations with your children about the situation of things. Assess what they know by asking them questions, dispel their fears and arm yourself with facts so you don’t scare them with rumors, read all you need to know about Corona Virus here
Try to frame school closures as a positive occurrence i.e “school needs everybody at home so that they can clean all the germs and nobody will fall sick when you go back“. This is a good time to encourage good hygiene. The important thing is to continue having open communication as a family. Check in with them often to see if they are still experiencing worries or concerns and encourage them to talk about it with you. Don’t be afraid to turn off the news if it is causing unnecessary anxiety.
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2. Don’t 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. Click here for a list of some free resources and tools you can use to keep your child learning. There is something for every age from kindergarten to college level and on every subject.
3. Have a timetable
Frankly, thinking of ways to keep your children occupied every minute of the day can be tasking. It is easier to have a list of things that they can do and put it in a timetable, For instance, parents working from home can make children’s online learning sessions the same time they work so that they will be free to spend time with the children later. This is also a great way to control screen time instead of leaving the kids to watch TV all day.
4. 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.
Below are things you can do together
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 theater and watch a movie together as a family. You can go all the way and buy/make some popcorn to go with it.
Show your children that you are not so old school *winks*, you’re 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?
Kids especially love making pie crusts, biscuits, and pizza, because they can squish the dough with their fingers. Watching yeasty dough rise and then punching it down is especially entertaining. Teach them how to make some really great meals. Visit LagosMums Recipe category for some ideas on yummy meals you can cook together.
Let your children read from the recipe with you and help them to work through the instructions. Also, incorporate fruits and hot drinks into your meals everyday to help prevent Corona Virus.
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 child, 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 most airy room in your apartment; clear out a spot on the floor and have fun!
Have a Karaoke Session
Sing to your favorite songs in the company of your family and make a night of it.
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 favorite books. Audible, the Amazon audio book subsidiary, has a particularly robust selection of children’s and young-adult literature.
If you were dreading social distancing before, hope we have been able to reassure you that it can be fun. Remember to maintain high hygiene culture through regular washing of hands. Wash all foodstuff well and wipe down any tinned or packaged foods as the virus can survive on surfaces. Gently remind children to wash their hands regularly or use hand sanitizers. Read more tips here.
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!