Supporting Young Kids With Home Learning is NOT Easy - But You Can Do It!
2020 has been a very unusual year and one of the hardest things for parents across the globe to deal with has been online schooling. We love our children and want them to thrive and we send them to school to learn both social and academic skills.
But not this year… So many of us, as parents, had to become teachers to our children. And of course, the younger your child is, the harder it is to make sure he is studying. Parents now often find themselves explaining new topics, helping children with tasks, searching for solutions and checking errors before submitting online work. Parents' involvement has therefore become central to the online learning process, and I totally understand how daunting that has been on top of everyday obligations. We all sighed with relief when kids returned back to school, but there is no guarantee that online learning won't return (and here in Hong Kong it's temporarily back again for many families).
Back to Screens, Zooms and Headphones…
But hey, we did it once, we can do it again. So, if online schooling is making a comeback for you, what do you need to keep in mind?
First of all, remember: "The quarantine will end, but the relationship between you and your child will remain.” You are the parent first and above all.
Tips for Tired Parents Facing a Return to Online Schooling
Keep the Routine Going
Even if they don’t have to physically go to school, still wake children up at the same time as you would on a normal school day. Keep the routine going. If they have spare time before online learning begins, let them read a book or listen to music.
Look for Motivation
If adults procrastinate and struggle with getting things done, it’s even more so for a child. So try and explain to them why and in what way studying at home is important. Kids are different so look for specific things that motivate your child. Use Practical Tools
Use the Pomodoro Technique to help your child manage their time. Set a timer for 15-25 minutes depending on the age of your child and tell him that after the timer rings he can get a reward in form of his favourite song/healthy snack or short playtime with you or the dog. Set a few of these "pomodoros" each day to help your kid switch between focusing and relaxation. Physical Exercise
It’s important for children to burn energy, especially when they are stuck in front of the computer for most of the day. Make sure they exercise at least 30 minutes each day (it can be anything from a game of badminton in the courtyard to thirty laps around the house). Divide Responsibility
It is not you who is going to school but rather your child and so the work needs to be your child's work primarily. Get involved if he asks for help or advice of course, but don't do his work for him. Encourage independence and offer support when needed. Believe in Your Child
There are plenty of critics in the world so best to keep any negative thoughts to yourself. If you keep telling someone for an hour that they are lazy and incompetent, they will try and meet those expectations. Praise the effort not the results. Notice and comment on positive change and progress, no matter how small. Take Care of Yourself
Your child needs you and you need you too. You can’t be a resourceful parent when you feel exhausted, depleted and overwhelmed. Set boundaries and take a walk on your own, make sure you and your child are both disconnected from home tasks in the afternoon (say after 3), let yourself make mistakes and let things go.
ONCE again, your first and primary role is to be a parent NOT a teacher and your relationship with your child spreads far beyond schooling and will last a lifetime. Relax! You've got this.