The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted the work lives of people everywhere. Those with essential jobs are working around the clock, others are adjusting to working from home, and many are facing unemployment. Amidst all of this change and uncertainty, many people are facing an additional challenge: helping their children adjust to online learning. For parents, especially those without a background in education, homeschooling can be a confusing and overwhelming feat. If you are navigating this new terrain with your child, here are five tips for helping your family embrace online learning.
1. Stick to a routine
Maintaining structure during homeschooling is extremely important. Carve out specific time in your child’s day for work, lunch and play time, similar to how a school would. This will help them know what to expect each day and when they need to focus. Creating a poster with their schedule written on it can also serve as a helpful visual and keep your family on track.
2. Limit your child’s screen time
Your child will spend a lot of time looking at screens during online learning. To prevent them from staring at a screen all day, set a limit on their daily non-academic screen time. If your child is looking for fun things to do that do not involve technology, suggest playing outside, reading or playing a board game rather than playing video games or watching television.
3. Give your child a designated place to work
Giving your child a specific learning space can make online learning feel more like school. If they go to the same place to do schoolwork each day, it can help them associate the space with focus and learning. This does not have to be a sophisticated set up. It can be a desk in their room, a seat at a kitchen counter or one end of a dining room table. The most important thing to keep in mind while creating a learning space for your child is eliminating distractions. If possible, try to find somewhere for them to work that is far away from television and other loud noises.
4. Reach out
Social distancing can make people feel isolated. It is important to remember that everyone is facing similar challenges and emotions while dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. Helping children adjust to online learning is something countless parents are experiencing. Chances are, a lot of people in your life are in the same boat as you. Check in with coworkers and friends with kids and the parents of your child’s classmates to compare notes on how online learning is going. This gives you a chance to discuss your feelings with people who understand what you are going through and you might learn helpful tips from other parents that will make online learning easier for your family. If you are looking to connect with more parents in your community, you can also search for town or school Facebook groups to join.
5. Go easy on both your child and yourself
Above all else, remember that this is an unprecedentedtime and it iscompletelynormaltostruggle with adjusting to your new normal. Practice compassion with both yourself and your child, and remember that trying your best is the most important thing your family can do.
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