Coronavirus, Education, Elementary School Kids, Parenting

7 Tips and Tricks for Going Back to School: After the Coronavirus Lockdown

Red haired boy wearing a mask, sitting at a desk. Many schools will insist that all kids will need to wear masks to keep everyone safe.

Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

Very soon, every family will be facing this dilemma.  You will be thinking about sending your child back to school. Since the restrictions for the coronavirus are easing, many areas are opening up the schools. In most places daycares have been open for a while. Some parents will welcome the opportunity to get closer to the new normal, and others will refuse to send their children.

In this unpredictable world, both viewpoints are understandable. 

But if you do send your child back to school, help prepare them for the inevitable.  It will not look like what they know and are familiar with.

Here are 7 pointers to assist you. The ideas have been generalized, and you may need to confirm the details with your school district. You can explain the following to your child.

1. Not The Same

School will not be the same as before. But it is safe for you to return if you understand a few ideas and the new rules about school.

If you have an older brother or sister, they may go to school first, or they may have to wait until after you go to school. Not everyone will return on the same day.

Your mom or dad may take your temperature every day to make sure you are ok to mix with your friends. This check will keep everyone safe.

2. I Can See My Friends

You will be very happy to see your friends, but you cannot play with them in the same way as before.

You can see your friends and talk to them, but you cannot get any closer than 6 feet – Parents you will need to demonstrate how far that is – have your child stretch out their hands.

You can practice social distancing at home so your child can be prepared for it. Have a “social distancing morning or afternoon” in your home to normalize the conditions. Include handwashing in your routine.

There will be no sharing of anything, including school supplies, snacks or lunches, books, papers when you go back to school.

Your teachers will give you lots of time to play with each other in a safe way. You can share what you have been doing with your families. Or you can just play, now that you are together again.

It could be that some of your friends will decide to stay at home and will not be at school with you. That is their choice. Their mom and dad will keep them safe at home.

3. The Classroom Will Be Different

Medical vector created by nizovatina –

There will be fewer people in your class, so that your teachers can keep everyone safely apart at the right distance. 

You will not be allowed to leave the classroom without an adult to help you remember the rules about distancing.

Your teacher will likely teach you everything, from reading to physical education to music. It is unlikely that there will be any teachers that teach many different classes.

It also could be that your teacher may not be back.  He or she may have health concerns or may have family members who need care.  It could be a personal decision on the part of your teacher. You will not be told why they are not at school, as this is private information. No one will share the reasons with you. 

4. Keeping You Safe from the Virus

You may see more people cleaning more often. This is to keep you safe. So, if you use the blocks, they may have to be cleaned before anyone else uses them. Your teacher will explain what to do to keep you safe.

You will have to do more personal washing than ever before.  Parents need to be aware that “the new government directive says children will have to wash their hands upon arrival at school, before and after each trip to the toilet, before and after each meal, after play, after blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing, after touching shared objects, and before going home,” according to The Local. Hand washing will take time for everyone to do, a few at a time.  Before you go to school, I will help you practice how to wash your hands washing and in school, you can use the songs or methods, so you know how long to spend washing your hands.

If you have a fever at school or show signs of illness, you will need to go home to keep everyone safe. 

5. Hey!!!!   This is Different

Your mom or dad will have to take your temperature every day before you leave for school.

Somethings you see will surprise you. There may be X’s on the pavement or in the hallways, so you will know where to stand. There may be arrows for ways to walk.

You will continue to see masks.  Children may have the choice to wear a mask. Some kids may have a medical reason why they cannot wear a mask. But all of the adults will wear one.

Your parents will not be able to go into the school. They may have to wait in your family car. You will need to go inside yourself, but your teachers will be there to help you. Don’t worry, everything will work out, when you go back to school.

You may go to school for a week and then will stay home for a week. Or you may go to school in the afternoons and your friends will go in the mornings.

6. Recess

Recess will look very different. Some schools will have sections of the playground for certain classes. Others will have classes go out for recess at different times.

There will be no baseball or soccer games as you come into contact too closely for those types of sports. You may want to bring some toys to play with at recess, but you may not share these toys with a friend. 

Some areas of the schoolyard may be closed to everyone. That could include the playground, sandpits, and other equipment, when you go back to school.

7. My Ride to School

You can go to school on the bus, but you may not be able to sit with a friend, as that is too close to keep you safe. Your brother or sister may need to sit on the same seat with you because they are in your safe bubble. Your friend may sit across the aisle from you. No one can turn around to talk to a friend as this is too close. You may want to play a game with your seatmates on your ride to school. You could play “I Spy” or you could count the blue cars you see on your ride.

Your teacher will help you understand how you are feeling about the differences in what is happening. Your friends will be telling everyone how they think and what is frustrating. That will be your chance to explain to them how you feel. It is okay to be upset or confused. Many kids will feel that way.

Kids and teachers will make mistakes until everyone becomes used to the new way of going to school. Everyone needs to be patient with each other because changes are hard to do, especially when there are so many happening at once.

Parental Advice

1. Check the school website or contact your school to determine the details of the return to school from the coronavirus lockdown.

2. Talk to your children about aspects of returning to school in small chunks. Do not overwhelm them with too much information. It is okay to say, “I don’t know the answer, but I will try to find out for you.”

3. Try to be matter of fact about the entire situation. The calmer you are, the more relaxed your kids will be.

4. Remember to ask your child if they have any questions.  Your child might be worrying about something that isn’t true.  You can alleviate some of their stress with your answers.

5. If your child is anxious, you may want to consider a delayed entry back to school. Things will start to become routine after the first week, and that might be the most suitable time to have your child begin to participate in school.

6. Similarly, if your child becomes too anxious with all of the changes, you may want to withdraw them from school at this time, until things are less restrictive. Your child’s mental health is more important than academic progress over the next few months.

7. The school system is well aware that this is a difficult time. As a parent, you have the right to request support for your children and your family. So if you feel your child needs a special request, be sure to voice your concerns. Schools will take measures to accommodate all kids, if it is within their guidelines.

Remember, there is no textbook answer to the complications of the coronavirus. Don’t be reluctant to negotiate what you feel are the needs of your family.  Contact the school with any of your concerns. They will make every effort to help you. We are all struggling to maintain our composure in these very trying times. And don’t forget to celebrate with your children their return to school.

Going to school is a big step back into our new normal state.

With careful preparations, your children can do their share in helping their community heal. 

Helping Your Child in Other Areas

Emotional Distress: Help your child gain control over their emotions. Use storybooks to address jealousy, temper, and other emotions.

A Positive Approach: Kids Can: in the coronavirus pandemic. See the tips and tricks to help kids be more positive during the coronavirus pandemic. Use storybooks and Youtube videos to help your kids understand their emotions.

Early Reading: If you need some guidance about teaching reading, learn some tips and tricks from an award-winning  Canadian teacher who has been teaching reading for decades. Help for Parents (Reading Instruction) :

Physical Activity: Take a look at these outdoor activities to expend your child’s energy.


Putting Social Distancing into Perspective: Homeschooling

Photo by Elly Fairytale from Pexels

Now is the time for families to build bonds through shared activities.

Impact of HomeSchooling

Let’s take a look at the numbers to understand the impact of social distancing for homeschooling and analyze any possible repercussions. We need to take a deep breath and put this necessity into perspective. 

Assuming that most school years are about 200 days long

If your kids are at home for 2 weeks or 10 days, that is   5% of the time for learning.

If your kids are at home for 4 weeks or 20 days that is   10% of the time for learning

If your kids are at home for 6 weeks or 30 days that is   15% of the time for learning

If your kids are at home for 8 weeks or 40 days, that is   20% of the time for learning.

How long do the experts feel is too much time away from school?

So,  What is the Traditional Definition of Chronic Absenteeism?

“Chronic absenteeism means missing too much school—for any reason—excused or unexcused. Experts and a growing number of states (in the United States) define chronic absenteeism as missing 10% (or around 18 days) during a school year),” according to Healthy Children website. Chronic absenteeism can jeopardize the learning process, depending on the circumstances for many children.

If your children are already attending school regularly, they are likely to bounce back without significant issues. After all, children have summer holidays for 8 weeks a year, and few people worry about this absence in the learning environment.

Just a Blip in your Child’s Educational Experience

And it isn’t as if your child is missing specific lessons as many parents will be following the teacher’s advice or in some areas the educational system will make some adjustments to the school year. But it is important to realize a trend that “when students improve their attendance rates, they improve their academic prospects and chances for graduating,” as explained by Attendance Works. Consistent attendance at school if a good indicator of success, no question. And for the time being, quality academic experiences at home will help your child bridge this gap.

You are Fulfilling Your Role

In the meantime, many parents are engaging their children in reading and math activities to continue the learning processes at home in these unusual times by selecting learning resources that make sense.

Photo by Jerry Wang on Unsplash

So, over the next few weeks, try your best to engage your children in academic activities, but don’t be overly concerned about the negative impact at this point. 

Make it EASY on Yourself with these Key Suggestions

Take Your Break:  Usually, in March or April, most schools have at least a 1-week break. So, give yourself and your kids permission to enjoy a holiday. In times of stress, we all need to learn how to relieve the pressure. 

Look into areas of interest of your child: They will be reading, and with some effort, most likely, there will be some related STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematical) learning resources that you can find for all sorts of areas of interest from unicorns to the fastest animal alive.

Set up Quiet Times:  Many schools designate a quiet time for reading. Even the youngest child can look at picture books for 15 minutes, with other children reading to themselves quietly for 15 to 30 minutes or longer each day. Role model this activity by reading for work at these times. 

Scheduling: Kids like to know what is happening as they have very little control over their day. By setting up a schedule, you can reassure them. If you put your schedule blocks on paper strips, you can organize your day easily by moving around the pieces to suit your schedule.  

Here are some possibilities that you might want to include in any day: Quiet Reading Time (for young kids looking at picture books),  Chores, Outside Exercise, Musical Experiences, YouTube learning, Puzzles, Educational Games, Mathematical Investigations, Arts and Crafts, Science Experiments, Springtime yard word, and planting and of course Recess. It is a magical word to many kids.  Add more strips as you include more activities.

Plan your day around these blocks of time, but plan them to suit your family rhythm. For example, you may want to schedule quiet reading time just before bed to settle everyone for the day. Perhaps you will plan educational games for when all family members can play. Academic time is usually scheduled in the morning when brains are awake and fresh for learning. More active pursuits are in the afternoon.

Set up Academic Times: But be aware that in school, there is a limited time for concentrate work. Try 15 minutes with young kids ( 5 to 7), 30 minutes with junior aged kids (8 to 11), and no more than an hour for older kids. You can find many grade-related learning resources website. Such educational sites as  and  Khan Academy,,  have many different learning experiences for a wide range of grade levels. Most of the skills are curriculum-related, so your child can select the activities for themselves and still be involved in valuable learning. Often your son or daughter may see them as learning games for kids instead of academic exercises.

Establish a Social Group: Come together as a family for educational opportunities, such as watching an informative show or YouTube, play games, hold discussions, or get active.

Time for Your Work: You can carve some quiet time out for yourself by designating who is going to answer questions or solve problems. Mom from 9to 10, Dad from 10 to 11, etc. or set up a sign in the kitchen, so the kids know who is up for being disturbed. Or if you are the only adult, set a timer for 15 minutes. After the timer rings, the kids can come to you with questions.

Catch your kids for Being Good. Reward everyone for their effort – special snacks, special activities, words of encouragement. Try to overlook anxious or negative behavior. Reassurance that everyone is safe and together should be highlighted.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

In the end, realize that this time away from school activities is affecting everyone. The educational system will adjust for any lost time. By engaging your child in some academic pursuits, you will keep them occupied and learning, especially if they have a choice in what they do. Make it easy on yourself.  Cater to their interests. Don’t get caught up in trying to replace school subjects, make their learning individual and enjoyable. 

Try some Learning Games for Kids: Don’t forget to use games to learn. Keep the at-home experience fun. You can find some great game ideas through these blogs.

Coding Fun: There are even some coding experiences for kids that seem more like a game. See this website

Use Screen Time Wisely. One great website for learning resources in many areas of the curriculum is Many of the language and mathematical activities address the curriculum expectations for various grades. The cost is small, and membership can be set up for a month at a time.

Set up Activity Time: Yet Keep the Social Distancing – walk in the woods, stack firewood together,  or complete some other outside chore that needs to be done. Play outdoor games that accommodate for different physical skill levels, such as soccer baseball, Red Light- Green Light, or Hide and Go Seek.


Photo by Anna Earl on Unsplash

Hold Family Meeting to Solve Problems. It is important to check in with everyone as these are stressful times. Hear your children’s concerns and brainstorm the best solutions. If you find that there is more conflict than you like, consult these blogs for assistance.

Establish a Daily Chores List:  Everyone in the family can pull together. Make a chores’ list. Let your children select a task they want to complete. Hold them to their responsibility for the benefit of every family member. Include life skills such as clearing away the dishes, vacuuming, laundry, or yard work. This will lighten your workload and teach your children the value of contributing as a family member. Renegotiate the list every several days or once a week to make sure it is working.

Consult the Homeschooling Experts: There are many websites that offer detailed advice about temporary homeschooling.

Realize that these trying times can be transformed into a gift for your family.

Through careful management of homeschooling, you might just get to deepen your relationship with each other.