As we transition to offsite internet-based and paper-based distance learning in an effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, we wanted to provide some tips to help support your child at home. This is a challenging time, as it disrupts our daily routines and often, our sense of security. While many parents continue to work their regular day jobs, they now also have to ensure that their children are occupied at home (with something other than screens), attending online courses, and keeping up with school assignments. For other parents, it means staying home with younger children and learning to play the part of “teacher.”
Whatever new routine you may be adopting, one thing is true: we are all in this together. This is a scary time, but somewhere in that uncertainty are some new opportunities. For instance, this crisis highlights the way we are all interconnected, which means we have responsibilities to one another. That alone is a great learning opportunity. Stress to your children the importance of working together as a team. Perhaps that can go a long way in managing some of these new, unstructured days.
Here are some other tips to help you and your children adjust to the new learning environment:
- Be open to new ways of doing things. teaching flexibility to children can help them learn important coping skills.
- Try as best as you can to keep a routine. Give your child a specified workspace where it is quiet and free from distractions. If the school isn’t requiring students to adhere to a schedule, or it is a somewhat loose one, make a schedule for your child. Use a planner and create time slots for them to work on different subjects.
- Stay organized. Keep a daily planner of goals to achieve for that day, from schoolwork to household chores, to even building in downtime.
- Tackle the hard subjects first if possible. If there is a subject your child struggles with, the best time to work on it would be the morning.
- Take this time to nurture your child to be a highly engaged, self-directed learner. Time away from the standard curriculum can open up opportunities for students to learn about their own interests and passions. Invite them to do research on problems in their communities and the world or just a subject they are curious about.
- Take this time to catch up with family relations: play board games, card games, and do puzzles. Cook together. Even try some fun and safe science There is an abundance of resources online for educational games and lessons.
- Try to make exercise a part of the routine if it is medically allowed for your child. In general, we all need to move around. It will keep us healthy and strong and give a much-needed break from screen time.
- Go outside. Time in nature can be mentally grounding and the fresh air beneficial. Take it as an opportunity to appreciate the natural world. Perhaps, as a lesson, give them a notebook and have them record their observations or make drawings. Tell them to use some of their five senses—seeing, hearing, smelling, touching—to ignite new curiosities
- Encourage them to keep in touch with friends. Try a “virtual playdate.” We are using “social distancing” to slow the spread of this disease, but kids do need to socialize. Chat groups and other electronic ways to communicate and “hang out” with each other can supplement face-to-face.
- Take breaks. There may be many times when frustration runs high. Go outside for some sunshine and fresh air, have a snack, or play a game.
- Be kind to yourself and try to rest. This is, of course, easier said than done sometimes, but your health is important!
Sources: the guardian.com, psychologytoday.com, abeka.com/homeschool