Hamilton Odunze, Editor-in-Chief
Ejike Eze, Ph.D., Chair, Editorial Board
The outbreak of Coronavirus has thrown the world into a tailspin and disrupted the lives of most families. Aside from the continent of Africa, where, thankfully, incidents related to the virus have been minimal, most countries of the world are reeling from the effects of Covid-19. In the United States, many states have restricted movement, essential supplies are low and schools have been closed. These unusual happenings have heightened the stress level of many Nigerian parents and children. As your partner in raising awesome Nigerian-American children, NPM recognizes the concerns of parents who in addition to dealing with the unprecedented times, have to worry about how to keep the children engaged during their time at home. Here are a few tips we think might help:
Tip 1: Stay Informed
There is a deluge of news and chatter on social, broadcast and print media related to Covid-19. A lot of the information is not only useless but outrightly irresponsible. We remind all parents that the most authentic information regarding the pandemic can be found at the website of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html). Please check this site often.
Tip 2: Time at Home Presents a Golden Opportunity
The best way to present this tip is to remind you of the story of Isaac Newton. Young Isaac was in his twenties and a student of Trinity College, Cambridge, when the bubonic plague hit London in 1665. Akin to what is happening in the United States today, Cambridge sent students, including Newton home. Newton returned home to Woolsthorpe Manor confused and frustrated like everyone else. In an era when there was no internet (which means no Facebook, Instagram or any form of social media) Newton was bored out of his mind. One day, while sitting outside in the garden, he observed an apple fall from a tree. The fall of this apple provided him the inspiration that eventually led him to formulate his law of universal gravitation. Newton later relayed his experience to William Stukeley, who included it in a book, “Memoir of Sir Isaac Newton” published in 1752.
The moral of this story is that besides your food (children tend to eat like locusts when there is nothing to do), all is not lost on account of children being home. This period is an opportunity for the children to learn new things that they normally would not learn from school. It is also a time for children to try their hands on new things or brainstorm new ideas that could one day change the world. Our job as parents is to provide a structure and an enabling environment at home to allow the children explore.
Tip: 3 – Be Patient
There is no gainsaying that it is a trying and stressful time for everyone – parents and children alike. You can help your child manage his or her anxiety by remaining calm and patient. Remember that the child has never seen anything like this. Unprecedented times may lead to unprecedented behavior. Expect it and deal with it by wearing patience like a cloak.
There are many good resources available to help you and your child during this time. We are happy to refer you to the website of our partners at Common Sense Media whose site is a trove of invaluable resources for a time like this. Please check their website below for more information about available resources: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/
We will continue to provide tips via social media. Please stay connected with us on Facebook and Instagram @Nigerianparentsdotcom. Stay safe and best regards.
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