5 Tips for Children

How to keep learning, in mental and physical shape during COVID-19 Outbreak

UNICEF
two girls looking at a tablet
UNICEF/Sudan/2019/Noorani
01 March 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic may have stopped you from going to school. However, this should not stop you from learning. It is a great time to practice and review and learn new things they may not teach you in school. Here are some tips for students to continue learning at home, to stay healthy and connected with family and friends.

  1. Discover hidden talents: Spend time on what you like to do such as drawing, singing, dancing, playing musical instruments, reading, learning a new language, playing games, and so on.
  2. Create daily routines: Plan your day when to study, to exercise, and to take some time out. Tell the other members in the family, so they won’t disturb you unnecessarily. Try not to delay your assignments. And don’t forget to take your share in daily household chores of cooking and cleaning.
  3. Keep a journal: Write down at the end of the day, what you did: what went well and what is worrying you. It can be big things or silly ones, it doesn’t matter. The journal is a great way to document how you lived through the pandemic!
  4. Talk with your parents and siblings: Sometimes it may be difficult to focus on your studies, you may be angry that you cannot go out or worried about family members or friends. Don’t hesitate and talk to your parents and/or your siblings about how you feel, what you miss. And ask about their own feelings as well.

    Remember: You are not alone in this. Even your parents may feel down and frustrated at times.
     
  5. Eat healthy, exercise and sleep enough. Don’t’ overeat on chips and cookies. Ensure a balanced diet. Do physical exercise together and have enough sleep.

 

Specially for primary school age children (6 – 11):

  • Set yourself easy and achievable goals! You may be enthusiastic when making a daily/weekly routine or schedule but be careful not to be overwhelmed with what you have planned and give up following your schedule in the end. Your goal does not always have to be high. It is better to achieve small goals than being overwhelmed, exhausted with goals that need too much effort to achieve.
  • Read, read, read and write! If you cannot read yet so well, ask your family member to read a book for you or to read a book together! Write down little stories in your journal. It is important to practice these very important skills, otherwise, you may have forgotten when you go back to school.
  • Play, play and play with your siblings or alone! You will never get so much time to play. Ask your parents what they played when they were young and didn’t have a smartphone. Use your fantasy and make up new games.
  • But do your schoolwork first before you play, so you don’t fall too much behind your classmates when you return to school. Also, your parents may not scold or nag when you watch YouTube or play games after you have finished your homework.
  • And, do not worry too much! These are scary times, but it will get better. You will not be able to change the situation. You can only make the best out of it, for you and your family.

 

Specially for adolescents:

  • Be a hero to your siblings - help them with their studies, with their fears and play with them! You can show what you all know and can do. Help your little brother or sister to plan for the day, to keep up with their schoolwork and practice their reading and writing skills.
  • Not going to school doesn’t mean you are on an extended vacation! There are many temptations at home that may distract your studies and learning. Organize yourself and do what you can, to keep up with your schoolwork. If you do not have access to the internet, go over your books and revise what you have already covered, maybe even from the school years before. This will help you to catch up later, and, who knows, do better in your exams.
  • Be honest to your emotions in your mind! It is natural and normal for you to have emotional and mood undulation. Keeping a written diary to express your feelings and emotions may help calm yourself and improve your writing skill as well. It can be either hand-written or electronic upon your preference. If emotions are overwhelming, talk to whom you feel comfortable with.
  • Keep in touch with your friends! Now is the time to use social media to talk with your friends. Tell them what you are doing, how you feel and ask them the same. Share music, books or film tips. Laugh or cry together!
  • Do not worry too much about your exams! Just do the best you can. Everyone is in the same boat. Remember studying school subjects like math and science is important but learning is not all about them. You will be learning a lot of other, very important skills, that are useful in your future life: how to communicate, how to solve conflict with family members, how to manage your time, how to work together. You may have learned new skills and discovered new talents!

To all children of the MENA region: You are our Heroes!