Juggling kids’ lessons and homework as well as your own work can be overwhelming. Due to COVID-19, students from kindergarten to college have been forced to swap smartboards for Zoom, much to the chagrin of parents now forced to step in as surrogate teachers. For many parents, it has been overwhelming having to manage overlapping assignments and projects for more than one child in different grades. Here are some tips and tricks for creating the best at-home learning experience for your child:
Create a specific place for your child to learn
Differentiating “school” from “home” is essential when children are learning from home. Establish a quiet, clear, separate area for learning, preferably not the kitchen table to create a classroom-like, structured environment. Keep the learning space clean and have materials laid out. Be physically present on a continual basis; it’s important to be close, but not overbearing. You should still be checking what they are doing.
Keep your children on a schedule
Early on, it is imperative to create a space with rules and routines. Children thrive in routines. Set clear expectations about what you are doing and how long it will take. Having a set schedule provides a sense of comfort and security. The teacher can help with providing what the schedule would look like in the classroom and parents can apply it at home; even something as simple as making your own daily agendas or check lists can help your children.
Make time for brain breaks and movement breaks
Another great strategy a parent can do is to provide your child with brain breaks and movement breaks in between subjects or at a specific time so your child knows there is an end in sight. These brain breaks could be jumping jacks, a walk around the neighborhood, listening to a favorite song, or a snack. Give your child 10-15 minutes away from the learning space.
Implement a reward system
Reward for positive behavior during the day. The most important part of any reward system is knowing what motivates your child. The best reward systems are the ones created by your children – let your child decide! Set small, attainable goals. Children love feeling successful. Remember, rewards do not have to be tangible/bought items, you can also give experiences as rewards, like getting to pick the family activity that night or the meal for dinner.
Consider your child’s emotions during this difficult time
Socio-emotional health is just as important as academics. We are all living through unprecedented times, and though your children may be showing it in different ways, they are also working through a lot of big emotions. Offer time to discuss their feelings or suggest they write them down. If you are noticing signs of significant sadness, worry, or nervousness, seek out the advice of a mental health clinician.
Have patience (and Fun)
Embrace this extra time with your child and make some memories! Do not forget to Play!