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Schools Closed: Keeping Children Socially Connected
In this report, Ugo Aliogo examines how educational solutions online are transforming the minds of children
Life for the average mother has changed. With the lockdown directives in place to help flatten the curve, the Nigerian mother has to maneuver her days a bit differently. Suddenly, her morning routine no longer includes school runs, as she learns to juggle working from home and keeping her children actively engaged in educational activities. As she adjusts to this ‘new normal’, she leverages technology to deliver on her work assignments and connect with her support system – family members and friends who reside in a different location from her. These connections, now virtual have helped her maintain her emotional health and mental well-being.
For young growing up children, this drastic change of not being in a physical classroom, interacting with their peers, attending inter-house sports, costume parties, class birthdays, and other shared curricular activities, can be quite a shock. Not only can the sudden change in routine be overwhelming for children, but they miss interacting with their friends and teachers after weeks of staying home. The “new normal” can be challenging to mums and children alike.
In Nigeria, commendably, children of primary school age are adapting to ingenious applications like Google Classroom and Edmodo – and gradually, academic (and learning) gaps are closing. But how do we amend the psychological trauma of children who cannot comprehend these sudden lifestyle changes?
There are various ways to help children cope and socially connect with others in a safe way. While some parents have incorporated virtual play dates and screen time with their children’s best friends, many others have adopted new indoor activities for their children. There are social media challenges children can participate in, to keep their morale up and remain physically active and entertained. One challenge specifically for children is the Peak 456 Milk Rush Challenge by Peak 456 Growing Up Milk with DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which was announced via her Instagram handle @Peak456_milk. This challenge calls on children to show their transformation to energetic and smart children they are after having milk! Not only is it entertaining, but it encourages children to take dairy, one of the key food groups needed for their development and also helps to unleash their creative side.
Of course, the fun doesn’t stop there. The schools which had to close as a result of the pandemic get to encourage children to think positively about “My Future Nigeria.” As children are tomorrow leaders, Peak 456 Growing Up Milk is working with schools to encourage children to think about the future and the role they play through the Peak 456 Interschool Art Challenge tagged: “My Future Nigeria.”
While there seems to be no end in sight for schools reopening, keeping children safe and providing them with the right emotional and social connection is the way to go in these times. More so, equipping them with essential nutrients such as DHA for cognitive development is the one of the smart ways of preparing them for the future ahead. After all, tough times don’t last but ‘smart children’ do.