Protecting children during the COVID19 outbreak is crucial! Thus, in my article Child Protection in Nigeria during the Covid-19 Pandemic, I stated the need to work with and support governments. Also, the role technology companies and telecoms providers must play to keep children safe online. I received some questions on the role of individuals in protecting children during the pandemic. Individuals can be parents, guardians, relatives or neighbors etc.
Here are some key points to note and a few steps that will help protect children against violence during this lockdown;
- Stay informed on the latest news, updates and resources around the coronavirus and its effect on children – be sure to get your information from the NCDC or the WHO website.
- Know who to call for help. Call support and help lines if you need to reach out. You can report to the nearest Police station, security agency or any organization working on child rights and protection. There is also the Child Helpline International, a worldwide network of 173 helplines across the world. On their website, you can search for the helpline in your country and call to raise child protection issues with national authorities. In Nigeria, you can contact the HDI Child Helpline by visiting their website hdinigeria.org.
- Create a safety plan by using this interactive safety planning tool from Love is Respect. This safety plan can be modified to suit your need.
- Speak to a crisis counselor. When you feel like you cannot handle a crisis, speaking to a crisis counselor can help you navigate the situation. Sunshine Series – Wellness Mind is an establishment that is available to offer this service. They can be contacted on 08189182778.
- Keep positive! It’s hard to feel positive when your kids are driving you crazy. We often end up saying “Stop doing that!” But children are more likely to listen when we give them positive instructions & praise for what they do right. To better interact with children during this time of confinement, check out parenting tips on staying positive, creating a daily routine and managing stress. Dealing with bad behaviour? All children misbehave. It is normal when children are tired, hungry, afraid, or learning independence. And they can drive us crazy when stuck at home. Keep calm and manage stress. This is a stressful time. Take care of yourself so you can support your children.
- Look up ways to keep children active and physically healthy during this confinement. There are so many helpful resources online.
- Talk to your child about COVID19. They will already have heard something. Silence and secrets do not protect our children. Honesty and openness do. Think about how much they will understand. You know them best.
- Structure up. COVID19 has taken away our daily work, home and school routines. This is hard for children, teenagers and for you. Making new routines can help.
- Spend one-on-one time with your kids! School shutdown is also a chance to make better relationships with our children and teenagers. One-on-One time is free & fun. It makes children feel loved & secure & shows they are important.
- Keep yourself – and your children – safe! Check out the or UNICEF’s resources for parents & children about prevention of #COVID19.
- Consider the #MentalHealth and psychosocial considerations during COVID19 outbreak. You can look up resources online.
- Minimize watching, reading or listening to COVID19 news that causes you to feel anxious or distressed. Seek information only from trusted sources and mainly to take practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and loved ones.
The list above is not exhaustive but they are just a guide on how we can play our part in protecting children during this pandemic.
Just know that We are in it together!
Disclaimer: The information provided is for informational purposes only and not meant to take the place of professional advice. Please consult with a professional in your jurisdiction if you have any further questions.