Since pandemic has pushed education in a completely online environment, and most parents are working from home.
With this situation, there's an opportunity for parents to keep a check on their children's education in a better way. While this may sound exciting, which indeed it is, the whole thing can get tiresome, and a few tips may come in handy for parents.
The following pointers are a few tips for parents to deal with their children's distance learning.
Create an Effective Learning Environment
Despite numerous benefits of online learning, kids miss their schools and classroom. A brick and mortar building offers them the right kind of learning environment, which may be hard to have in a personal space. Unfortunately, not all homes have the right environment. As parents, the best thing you could do for your child is to create a learning environment that makes it easy for them to focus on their study. When kids are at school, they're always and consciously check on the behaviour to obey the essential norms for effective learning. Now when they're learning online, students must have a learning station that allows them to make the switch from "home mode" to "school mode."
Consider setting up the work station in the spot where children get quiet and peace. Ensure they have the right setup in terms of chair, desk or whatever they would need. Children must maintain a healthy posture while working online. The work station must have enough bright and comfortable lights so that screen usage doesn't increase strain on their eyes. And the most crucial part is to help kids stay organised. Cleaner and organised space helps in improving focus. Make sure they do not create a mess of documents or clutter in their learning area. Check their devices to ensure any digital clutter isn't there. It's very easy to lose important documents in a mess. Hence, the environment must be organised and clutter-free.
Since technology is the driving force in this changing learning environment, it's a must that you get it right. To have an effective learning environment, make sure the devices your kids will be using are equipped for their digital learning needs. It could be in terms of hardware or varied software that they might need. If you're sharing your device with the child, check your settings and ensure you have all the needed things in place. Consider creating a different profile on the device with appropriate settings for the child. For children's devices, you can set up parental controls and monitor their internet activity.
Manage Screen Time
When things are different, the screen time's old boundaries may not be the best fit. Ensure that children are having a healthy balance among a variety of online and offline activities. Encourage children for physical activity and exercise. Alternatively, you can set up a family workout time and do a workout session altogether. Some other things to consider are setting ground rules for tech-free family time, no device usage in bedrooms, and during meals.
Monitor the Screens
Since learning has moved online, it has become parents' responsibility to check o their child's engagement and attention in the class. The simplest way to do this would be to monitor. Observe your child's eye to see if they're following along the screen. Make sure they're taking notes. If possible, take some time out to ask them questions at the end of the class. It's important to confirm that your child is learning in the online classes and not just passing the time or zoning out. If you find out that your child is not engaging in online sessions, make sure you convey it to the teachers or school authorities.
Set a Routine
Though offline schools had shifted online, ensure that children treat school days just like they did when they went to schools. This includes fixed time for going to bed and waking up, getting appropriately dressed instead of lying down all day in pyjamas, having a healthy breakfast, etc. These little things create a big difference in children's lifestyle and maintaining a healthy life. You can set guidelines concerning all the areas that children must follow and model them yourself.
Reminisce the Old School Things
The old rules of screen usage are no more valid. However, we can't deny that overuse of screen time can harm children. You have to be extra careful, especially when it comes to the little ones. Try and stick to a few things the old school way. For instance, instead of using digital material or eBooks, try to use textbooks or print and use printable materials. If possible, request textbooks from the school library of your child. Encourage creative writing and imaginative storytelling among young children to spark self-expression.
Encouraging Children and Acknowledge their Effort
When kids were going to school, all their little efforts were seen by their teachers. One way to do this is by displaying their work. Kids love creating things. It could be a painting or a model from their building toys. Hang their drawings in your home. Tell them you're proud of their work and value their learning by showing these gestures.
Give attention to details and communicate. Instead of saying "well done",, try to be specific with your kids' work. Discuss the little details about what you like or what could be improved. Let them know that you have noticed their efforts. Encourage a growth mindset and teach them about the importance of working towards getting better at things and selves.
Reach out for Help
Remember that you're not alone in this journey. All parents face challenges at home with kids' education, jobs and the stress of staying healthy amid crisis. Do not hesitate to reach out for help. You can always check in with other parents to see what they are doing to make it work or find effective ways to manage everything at home. Share your concerns and seek out help if needed. Collectively, parents can stay in touch to offer help digitally to keep kids occupied with live activities or extend a helping hand to others if required.
Take Care of Yourself
Most importantly, take care of yourself. To help and assist your child, you are prime to taking care of your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs. With everything upside down, you may have less energy, space and patience to connect and care for your children. Take your "me" time seriously and regularly, even if you take 15 minutes. Make it a point to have some time for yourself and do whatever makes you happy. If need be, don't shy away from taking help from the people you trust or speak to medical professionals and counsellors who can help you get back to being the best.