As the pandemic continues, many children have had to transition to some form of online –learning. This is a completely different environment than most children are used to. While teachers will lead the lesson, young children require the help of their parents or guardians when using the technology to access resources. It can be a stressful time for both teachers, parents and children. It is important to be proactive to help the transition to online learning be as seamless as possible for all parties involved.
Here is some advice on navigating online learning at home.
1. Designate a space for learning
Having your child work in a noisy and distracting environment can make their learning experience stressful and not effective. For example, having your child work in the same space as where the toddler is watching television or where their toys are can make them lose focus during class. Thus, by providing a designated space that is quiet, clutter-free and comfortable, your child will be able to focus on their learning and eventually learn to associate this space with learning. A good tip is to ask your child to make some artwork for the space in order to make the environment feel more personalized, and less like just-another-room in the house.
2. Cut down distractions
With virtual learning, not only are children learning in an environment known as “home” for them, there also comes the need to utilize electronic devices to communicate with the teacher. Hence, there may be more distractions than what a child is used to in a normal, learning environment at school. In this case, it is a good idea to make sure that the use of devices is limited and only used for school-related tasks. If need be, it is okay to take a break and use an electronic for entertainment during break.
3. Maintain a routine
With remote learning, there still is the need to wake up on time for class; there are times when children have a lesson offline and don’t require to be in online class. On these days, it is still important to maintain a routine for your child. Make sure they wake up on time, get dressed, eat breakfast as they normally would, and still take snack and recess breaks; a routine allows them to function as best as can be. Although they can’t run around with their friends, recess breaks can still involve taking a walk, or doing exercise; something that will get your child off their feet and away from a digital screen.
4. Look at your child’s needs
While it may seem like your child is paying attention in class or working very hard on homework, it still is important to pay attention to their needs and see if they are effectively and happily learning. If you find that they aren’t able to focus, suggest a small break. Taking that break can help put your child back on track to effectively learn. You may also find that they are stuck on a particular question for a long time. Try talking with your child and see if they have any questions or need some guidance.
5. Provide positive feedback
Positive feedback encourages learning. In an online learning environment, teachers cannot always focus on your child and provide that feedback that they need. Hence, it is important that you as a parent step up in that role. By having a reward system when a child finishes a task, such as giving them a sticker, and overall providing good feedback, it can help motivate children to continue with their work and be more confident with their learning. It reassures them that they are doing something right and will signal to them that they will be rewarded when they do something good.
6. Communicate with the teacher
Reaching out to your child’s teacher can help you understand how your child is doing in class and how you can best help them during this time. If you have any questions or if your child is struggling on a particular task, your child’s teacher is there to help. By being proactive and communicating with teachers, they can understand your situation more and be able to discuss the best plan of action.
7. Schedule video-calls with friends
With remote learning and social-distancing, kids miss out on the chance to socialize with their friends and other kids in their class. With video-calls, although they are not physically playing together, it still allows for your child to have some social contact outside of the family and not be so distant. Try to be creative with the calls; the children can catch up; they can also plan virtual playdates. These interactions can improve your child’s social skills.
8. Try to schedule time for fun, bonding activities
While this is still a time to learn, it can still be the time to bond with your child. You can play some games with them, or plan some activities to do together, like going for a walk. As long as the time is appropriate and their learning isn’t greatly affected, this is the time to take advantage of having your child at home.
This pandemic has put parents and children in new territory this school year. While it may not be easy, knowing how to navigate online learning during this time can help the children make the most of their academic year.