The pandemic has brought on additional measures we could not have predicted. In past blogs, we’ve talked about maintaining health and wellbeing at our school during COVID and equipping students for a post-COVID world. Physical activity and social skills are crucial to children’s development, which is why we encourage parents to support students during quarantine. Here are six steps parents can consider:
Have a designated learning space.
Dedicate a physical location within your home to school-focused activities. The space should be quiet, free from distractions and clutter, and have a good internet connection with an adult in proximity. Keeping a door open is useful for this, as it may be harder to keep children on track if they’re completely unsupervised. Your child could use headphones if it helps them focus. If you have multiple children in online learning classes too, try to find separate spaces for them.
Prepare for items your child may need: books, pencils, a pencil sharpener, notebooks, paper, a dry erase board and markers, a calculator, a computer, Internet access and maybe a printer. If you don’t have these items, reach out to your child’s teacher or other staff members to see if these resources are available through the school.
Quarantining at home isn’t an ideal situation for all families. You shouldn’t expect things to go well all the time. Using your child’s school or teacher for guidance, establish how much time students should spend online for learning. Interaction and play are valuable for younger children.
Make sure your child knows how to log on to online learning platforms by themselves. Saving bookmarks on your Internet browser and keeping a list of important websites, online tools and resources, and login information are also helpful. If you don’t understand the online learning platforms, contact your child’s teacher or other school staff for help.
Stick to a routine.
Establishing a flexible weekday routine is helpful for both parents and students. Have your child wake up, get dressed and eat breakfast at the same time of day, organise the day into study chunks with breaks for them to get up and stretch, eat a healthy snack, step outside, or use the restroom. Try to put off additional screen time until the end of the allotted study time. A five-minute dance party could even help everyone reset and bring extra energy to the day! End the day with a routine for winding down before bed.
A visual schedule on a chalkboard or whiteboard may also be helpful. If you need to create a schedule like the school’s routine, ask your child’s school for ideas.
Younger children may find a basic visual checklist of tasks needed for an activity helpful. For example, if the child must watch a lesson, read, and then write a response, the checklist could say: watch, read, write.
Kids need to move around throughout the day. If possible, exercise before learning online is ideal. Some children focus better when standing. Consider putting the computer or tablet on a raised surface.
Breaks are fine if your child finds a lesson challenging or has hit a frustration level. You can also slow down the pace to give your child time to process information. An entire lesson doesn’t need to be done in one sitting. You can pick up the lesson at another time or on another day.
Give students space.
Parents should not expect to be full-time teachers or subject experts for their children. Provide support and encouragement, and encourage children to do their best. They may struggle with learning at home, and that’s okay and to be expected. SISD encourages independent learning, and this is an additional opportunity for them to hone those skills.
Check in and provide feedback.
Asking questions at the start and end of the day can help reinforce a routine and allow your child to express how the day went for them. Like a good coach, listen to how your child is managing learning at home. It may help them get organised and set priorities and avoid future challenges. Students can develop self-management skills essential for life.
If your children find certain activities or subjects more difficult, consider working with them during the times of day when they’re most alert and engaged.
For younger children, hang up their drawings, writing, or other projects in the home. Additionally, putting a sticker, star, or writing a nice comment on an assignment can go a long way in helping to motivate them.
Stay in touch with the school.
Let your child’s teacher know if your child can’t take part in a virtual class or complete assignments. They may collect class notes, recordings, and assignments for your children to prevent them from falling behind. Check if students must turn in assignments at a particular time.
Teachers will communicate with parents regularly, but you can stay in touch to make sure your child has the help required to be successful at learning at home. You should also know how to contact the school’s staff and counsellors.
As a parent, you should also have a way to reward yourself or at least give yourself credit for playing an important role in helping your child learn and grow.