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A Children’s Day On Lockdown

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Tobi Adebayo 

For kids In Nigeria, the annual Children’s Day celebration has always been a memorable one, with schools organising different fun programmes to celebrate them. However, this year’s edition was not to be. For the children, most of them could hardly differentiate, as every day is the same, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020 edition, crippled by the coronavirus outbreak, was devoid of any major activity due to the temporary closure of all schools to curtail the spread of the virus. The ban on public gatherings also contributed to the gloomy celebration as there were no usual parties for children and no park gatherings.

Despite all of these, some parents still found ways to make the day enjoyable for their children by treating them to some fun spots. This was also marred by the presence of social distancing as there were no eat-ins at fast food restaurants, only takeaways, giving children little room to socialise with their peers.

There were virtual parties held by some schools, which were enjoyed only by children who had access to smartphones, laptops with good internet connection.

Speaking with An24.net, a logistics business owner and father of one, Ireoluwa Shodipo, said despite the ban on public gatherings in Ibadan, Oyo state, there were parents that violated the order to treat their children to all sorts of fun.

“You will think that there are no cases of COVID-19 in Ibadan. There were some gatherings here and there, with parents endangering themselves and their children for a day celebration.

“I challenged a parent and what she said was that she only wanted to take off the stress of the lockdown off her kids as they keep asking her when they would go back to school to play with their peers.

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“All I did was to buy my 7-year-old son some toys and explained to him the importance of keeping a healthy distance from others for now. Children must not always have their way. Parents need to do better,” he said.

A baker and mother of three, Vanessa Akintoye told An24.net that it was not easy convincing her kids that the celebration would be different from the previous ones.

“Usually, they attend the annual children’s day party hosted by the Lagos Television (LTV) but it did not hold this year because of the pandemic. It was hard explaining to them why the party did not hold. You would think they already understand the concept of social distancing but kids will always be kids.

“Instead, I took them to buy pizza and ice cream so that I could have some peace of mind. I also allowed them to stream their favorite cartoons on YouTube, that was enough to keep them distracted from the fact that the pandemic kept them indoors,” she added.

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