During the COVID-19 pandemic, you and your family may have spent more time at home. It is normal to have questions about being in social spaces. We asked a group of parents about COVID-19 and here is what they wanted to know.


“Lots of kids at her age are going to different classes to learn different things, different skills. But I’m not sure, is it a good idea that I send her?” 

– Listen to Raya (parent of a 7-year-old)

Sending your child to school during the COVID-19 pandemic probably felt and continues to feel uncertain at times. Schools may or may not carry out public health measures to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses. It may feel frustrating having little control over the health and safety measures your child’s school puts into place. The following questions may help you know what to ask your child’s school.

Questions to Ask your Child’s School:

  • What public health measures are in place to support the health and wellness of students (e.g. masks, additional cleaning, or social distancing)? 
  • What strategies are in place to support students’ learning if they miss school due to illness (e.g. take-home assignments, online resources, etc.)?

Additional sanitization, proper ventilation, and managing student schedules to prevent overcrowding are all measures that can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses. Each school may put these measures into practice in different ways. There are still evidence-based health measures you and your child can do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses1.

Evidence-based Safety Measures for You and Your Child:

Hand hygiene
Social distancing
Staying at home when sick

For more information about sending your children to school, visit the following resources:


“I worry the kids will have a lot of sicknesses once restrictions have lifted and you no longer have all that extra cleaning.”

– Listen to Morgan (parent of a 3-year-old)

Although the focus has been on COVID-19 through the pandemic, children are still at risk of getting colds, flus, and other seasonal illnesses.

Like COVID-19, these other illnesses can also affect the:

Respiratory (breathing) system, for example bronchiolitis or croup

Gastrointestinal (digestive) system, for example gastroenteritis

Your children may get more illnesses as pandemic safety measures are removed and children are around people more often.

Some illnesses that children commonly get, like colds and the flu, have the same symptoms as COVID-19.

  • Flu symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, sneezing and coughing
  • COVID-19 symptoms are the same, and your child might also lose their sense of smell or taste
  • With both flus and COVID-19, children can have very few symptoms or more severe illness

Regardless of the illness, it is important to monitor your child’s symptoms and get medical care if their symptoms become serious2.

There are things you can do to help lower your child’s chance of getting sick and prevent the spread of illness. Many of the things we have been doing to prevent COVID-19 will also help prevent flus and other illnesses.

These include:

  • Handwashing
  • Masking when in crowded or closed spaces
  • Cleaning surfaces or objects that are often used
  • Staying home when your child feels ill
  • Keeping your child’s vaccinations up to date

It can be scary and stressful when your child is sick. Remember that it is normal for children to get sick, but children are strong and usually recover quickly. Here are some resources for more information:


“We’ve had a ton of conversations about risk and about figuring out what are high-risk activities that we won’t do, and then what are medium-risk activities that we might do sometimes, and then what are low-risk activities that we can do any time.”

– Listen to Aiden (parent of a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old) 

You may be worried about your child’s participation in extracurricular activities that involve socializing with others. You are not alone in your concerns. Despite the increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 and other illnesses, extracurricular activities are important for your child’s development3.

Benefits of extracurricular participation during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond:

  • Increased opportunity to socialize (e.g. sports, clubs, time with friends)
  • Physical benefits from sport participation
  • Psychological benefits from structured routines

There may be a point when your child tests positive for COVID-19 and must pause their participation in extracurricular activities. It is normal to feel confused about when and how to return your child to those activities. 

For most activities, your child will need to stay away from others or isolate. Guidance on isolation is available here.

Returning to physical activity should be guided by how severe your child’s symptoms were. Find more detailed guidance on returning to physical activity and sport after COVID-19 infection here.

“We were planning on putting them in swimming when they were 10 and then just didn’t get around to it because of COVID. So how far behind are they going to be?”

– Listen to Taylor (parent of 2 children aged 11 and 13)

You and your child may also be worried about them losing skills in hobbies, school, or socializing. Many children had time away from their activities, so you are not alone. All activities come with their own methods for bridging the gap with potential skill loss. Ask your child’s coach or instructor about helpful ways to get back to activities after skill loss.

  • How do I assess what level I should enroll my child in?
  • What kinds of supports are available to regain skills lost through the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Are there any make-up sessions for my child if they need to miss practices due to illness?

For more information on your child’s sport activities, visit:


“My son has really struggled with anxiety through the pandemic, and I worry about him being able to get out in the world again and move back to a more normal life.”

– Listen to Jordan (parent of 2 children aged 11 and 14)

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the mental health of both parents and children. Stress is a normal part of life, but if that stress becomes overwhelming for your child, it is important to reach out to a healthcare provider for support. Everyone experiences stress differently, but there are some signs and symptoms to look for when your child is struggling4-6.

Signs and symptoms of mental health struggles in children and youth:

Changes in thinking:

Your child may experience trouble concentrating and have changes in their school performance. They may also have negative thoughts including blaming themselves for things outside their control.

Changes in feelings:

You may notice your child is unhappy, worried, angry much of the time, and has bigger reactions than usual. They may feel helpless or lonely. 

Changes in behaviour:

Wanting to be alone, crying easily, and trouble relaxing may also show that your child is having difficulties with their mental health.

Physical changes:

Your child may have a lack of energy, or headaches and stomach aches more often than normal. 

It is normal for some children to have difficulties in social spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. If you’re worried about your child’s socializing5:

  • Establish a routine
  • Remember the positive times
  • Help your child to set boundaries
  • Keep learning about ways to stay healthy
  • Reach out to a healthcare provider
  • Help your child practice mindfulness
To keep up to date on the latest information about COVID-19, check out:
This infographic was brought to you by ECHO & ARCHE

© ECHO Research and ARCHE, 2022. This resource may not be modified, reproduced or distributed without prior written consent of ECHO Research and ARCHE. Contact

This research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation through the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute.

Physical treatments can include physiotherapy, prescribed exercise plans, strengthening exercises, massage, and more. 

Psychological treatments can include counselling or talk therapy, supportive therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, mediation, and more. They can be provided on a one-on-one basis or in a group setting. 


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These resources may not be modified, reproduced or distributed without prior written consent of ECHO Research. Contact