The world is changing by the minute, and we are in a time that involves many unknowns. All the recent changes are forcing parents, on top of their own work life, to now become their child’s teacher. Many parents are wondering how to support their child’s learning during the COVID-10 Pandemic. To continue to build your child’s academic skills and overall mental health, here are some tips that parents can employ to help navigate through this uncertain time.
Keep a consistent routine
Supporting your child’s learning during COVID-19 at home starts with a consistent routine. Working from home can disrupt everyone’s routine. To help maintain a sense of structure, create and post a daily plan for all activities. This includes structuring leisure time into the day. Remember that a routine can begin the minute you get out of bed. So, as tempting as it might be to stay in your pajamas all day, get out of your pajamas and get dressed like you would for school or work, this includes your little ones. While they don’t need a packed lunch, have them plan out their lunch in the morning for something to look forward to later in the day!
Children (and adults) of all ages can easily become off-task and distracted while working from home. If possible, create individual spaces for everyone to work (e.g., home office, kitchen or dining room table). Make sure your child has all the necessary materials available. It is also a good idea to avoid distractions like working in front of a television, or in a bedroom where playing with toys can be tempting. Setting clear limits on screen time will help your children know when they can access it and when they can’t so that there is no confusion.
Build in motivation
Keeping a child motivated to learn academics can be a challenge at the best of times. Your child can earn tokens for all the things on the schedule that they complete, and the tokens can then buy them something of value. Identify with your child a head of time the different things they can earn. Examples may include additional technology time, a special dessert, an extra story at bedtime, or even a small toy etc. To help children stay on task, incorporate movement breaks, including getting outdoors. Another tip is to create duplicates of the daily schedule or adding an “All Done” section that your child can mark off once completed.
Explore online learning
With the recent closure of schools, many educational websites are offering free online learning. These platforms can range from grade to various topics. Some websites you may want to check out are:
If your child is more of a hands-on learner, then they may like to explore https://learnincolor.com/.
You can also check out these great educational apps for your child’s screen time.
Work on life skills
There is no better time than now to work on building your child’s life skills. Michele Lockett, an Elementary School Teacher and Mother of two, emphasizes the benefits teaching life skills has in the long run. According to Michelle, “We have been focusing on life skills rather than academics. The kids have been making dinner, following recipes, navigating online socializing with Zoom and Netflix (watching movies with friends). We are also focused on mind and body balance, fresh air and exercise. My daughter persevered with a 1000-piece puzzle, putting in nearly 14 hours of work. So many learning skills in that one activity. Learning doesn’t have to be pencil and paper or specific skill based.”
Be mindful of anxiety
The intensity of all that is happening right now can be overwhelming for children, especially as they face the new realties of online and self- directed learning. To help manage stress and or anxiety, avoid giving them too much work at once. If your child is expressing concerns, validate their feelings and help them come up with strategies to manage their feelings (e.g., deep breathing, creating a calm box, writing in a journal). Remember that young children overhear conversations and news reports, so avoid having conversations around them. Don’t forget to monitor your own stress levels!
Work as a team
Older siblings can help with learning too! Whether they are working beside younger children as a role model or by tutoring, teens can have a lot of influence. Why not listen to a Podcast or watch a TED Talk together? Our expectations may need to be adjusted, and our focus shifted to maintaining connection and emotional well-being. Try something new and fun as a family!
As we settle into our new reality for the next few weeks, we can take comfort in knowing that there are many steps to continue to support our children’s learning. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher.
How are you managing your new routine?
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