COVID-19 School Closure Tips

Provide structure and routines

We’re a few weeks into the COVID-19 lockdown and things may seem a bit unpredictable.  Imagine how the kids are feeling. Schools closing has affected their routine. Routine and structure help provide a sense of normalcy for children when many parts of their lives are changing and they feel “out of their control”.

What do you do? Well, we all have to adjust to new ways of doing things. And that includes devising or updating a routine to help the family feel safe. After all, children look to adults to create a sense of stability and comfort.

Why is this important?

  • Routines give children a sense of security and encourages emotional stability
  • Children function better when expectations are clear and concise
  • Be clear about routines for different times of the day. This builds healthy habits
  • For younger children, routine can be a great way to teach necessary skills like safety or social skills.
  • Children follow directions better and fight less with siblings when there is structure as opposed to endless free time.

How to create structure for your children during the lockdown?

  1. Create a schedule! Make it a family activity. If children have access to the DBE lesson plans on radio/TV make sure they are ready to participate. If they don’t have access, allow them to determine which subjects they want to study first. This gives them child a sense of autonomy and they are more likely to want to do the work.When explaining the schedule to them, use “first-then” language to help them learn a sequence of events – first do the math work, then you can play games.
    Make the schedule visible, put it in where your child can see it. This will keep them on track.
  2. Include specific time for learning
    Give an example of a schedule:
    (i) breakfast
    (ii) clean up
    (iii) school work
    (iv) free time
    (v) family time
  1. Make learning fun!
    Remember, not all learning has to be from books or the computer. Math can be done in the kitchen (teaching fractions, multiplications, addition using ingredients) Break up learning too!
  2. Staying active is still important and being outside can be a great science lesson! * Give an example of nature being a science lesson – tree rings* Don’t forget art, too!
  3. Check out free online resources for kids until end of May:
    (i) Free audio books from amazon in 6 languages:
    (ii) Free virtual visits to 17 European museums:
    (iii) 700 free books from Cambridge press:
    (iv) Free Broadway shows:

Learners who didn’t collect their textbooks before the lockdown can access free e-textbooks that are IEB, EB and CAPS-aligned under 31 December.  Go to:

More Tips

  • Focus on the positive! Kids will feed off your energy and if you think it’s going to be a battle to get them to learn, they will give you that battle.
  • Be flexible
  • Start new traditions with your family. Find new hobbies to share, weekly activities such as board games, puzzles, quizzes, storytelling family history.
  • Make sure you factor in time for breaks and naps! If your children are older, they still need down-time. How about starting a COVID-19 journal (imagine reading this in 10 years time), drawing, or reading for fun. Don’t forget your own downtime!
  • Parents and guardians, consider your needs too! If you’re working from home, be realistic about the amount of time your work will need. No points for trying to be a superhero.  This is an unprecedented time.  It’s not business as usual. If you have younger children you may need to schedule during their downtime when they’ll need less supervision. Or, while they do schoolwork, you can do work – keep in mind they may need help with their work so be realistic with your ability to do so.
  • Have patience with them – and yourself. Creating new routines can take time. Right about now you’re really appreciating their teachers even more.

Four things to remember:

    • Have fun and focus on the positive
    • Be consistent  maintain the routine
    • Make sure to involve the kids in the decision making
    • Use the additional resources

For information on COVID-19, visit the official National Department of Health COVID-19 support service on Whatsapp: +27 60 012 3456