Does your child attend online classes during the lockdown?
How can parents help with remote learning?
What are some remote learning tips for parents to support kids attending e-Learning?
The pandemic has landed up in a situation where the schools are now forced to go digital and thus begins a new era for our kids where they are introduced to online learning. By now, most of the schools have started either live interactive classes or resorted to recorded sessions to bring the classrooms to our homes.
Be it 1 hour or 4 to 5 hours, online classes come with their own set of challenges especially when the kids are of primary school level.
Just like me, this pandemic has forced most of the parents to work from home, and having to handle kid’s online classes simultaneously makes the scene more complex. Being a parent of a 7-year-old, I did a bit of research on this topic and found out that a little planning and following certain strategies strictly will make online learning effective and effortless. These are my 15 online learning tips for parents to ease the school at home. It worked for me, so I am sure it will work for you too.
15 Remote Learning Tips For Parents
A parents’ role in distance learning is to provide an apt environment for learning and help kids adapt to this new learning method. This can be achieved by following the below online learning tips for parents.
1. Dedicated Location
This is very important. Ensure that you set a dedicated room or space and stick to it throughout. One day in the living room, one day in the bedroom and one day on the balcony will not work. The attention span for kids is generally low and with this kind of arrangement, they will be distracted and also demand a new location every day. Allocate a location for e-learning. Make this a routine for them to be ready and present at the allotted place at the scheduled time.
2. No Disturbance
When we work from home, we prefer to sit in a no disturbance zone. The same applies to kids as well.
If you make them sit in the kitchen while you cook ( unless that’s the last option you have), definitely they will get distracted. Switching on the TV or music system while the class is going on can also distract them. So please make sure the environment is conducive to learning without distractions.
3. Things that they need
Please ensure the things that the kids need are all handy. That includes a tiffin or snack box, a water bottle, and stationery. Consider that they are going to school only. Do not take the liberty to peep in and out of their room to fetch the things they need. The kids will make it a habit to loiter around the house while the classes are on if they do not have the things that they need handy.
4. Monitor, don’t interfere
One important remote learning advice for parents is – Monitor but don’t Interfere.
As far as possible do not stay around for the whole time near your child. Your child is attending the class, not you.
Of course, you have to be around for technical support, like connecting to the classes or connecting the devices or in case they need some help to login to some sites or apps. Also, you may need to sit throughout your child’s online session if he/she is very young. However please do not interfere with the class or interrupt the teachers. Your constant pressure will make them uncomfortable.
Helping your child with answers or supporting them during assessments is not acceptable. This will lower your child’s confidence and hinder their natural learning pace. You can always help your child when you revise the topics after the class.
Trust the teachers and your child.
Screen time is something that every parent worries about. Earlier it was something that could be avoided but now it’s something that is a necessity. It has now become unavoidable in this case. However, there are some things we as parents can do. Most schools do give a break in between the sessions. If not you can request them.
Some tips for eye care.
- A well-lit place is important. Ensure there is sufficient light in the room.
- Keep an adequate distance between the device and the kid’s seat.
- In the gap between classes, ask your child to wash their face and eyes, drink water, and eat fruit. Encourage them to just move around during the break.
- Simple eye exercises like blinking and eye rotation can help relieve stress. Do along with them as if it’s a game.
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Encourage kids to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes
The right posture is of utmost importance. Taking a class lying on the bed or in an armrest chair with the phone or laptop in your lap can be extremely dangerous and can have long-lasting bad effects. Make sure your child sits properly.
A study table or any table with a proper chair serves the purpose. Adjust the chair height such that the feet are flat on the floor and hips far back in the chair.
My 7 year old asked me just before her first class if it is ok to keep her favorite doll next to her or let our pet sit with her through the class. Well, the kids have realized that their friends can see them on video and a virtual show off of the things that they possess is evident. Please do not encourage any of this. You can only imagine if all the kids start doing this, what will be the outcome of such an online class. Also, the corner that you choose for your kid, ensure there aren’t any fancy things around that they can showcase on call. Having a class in a fancy kid’s room is a complete no-no.
8. Device care
Kids have a fancy towards electronic devices. Leaving a phone or a laptop with them for a couple of hours arises a lot of curiosity amongst them. They want to try switching to different windows or pressing different keys on it. Inform your kids in advance to not disturb the setting of the device.
Please do not place the device toward the edge of the table. The last thing you want during this situation is a broken device. If you are using a laptop ensure you shut it down after use and not ask the kids to do that.
Apart from the hardware, an important thing for parents is to check that the children’s devices have the latest software updates and antivirus programs. The pandemic has forced a major section of the society to go online and this has also increased the risk of cyberbullying. Uninstall programs that are risky and not needed.
Also, ensure you have reliable internet access.
9. Be vigilant
The camera for the class is always on. Be vigilant about who enters the room and what he or she is wearing. Even with the kids, ensure they are appropriately dressed and comfortable. Like the previous point on cyberbullying, be cautious of the camera.
Keep your expectations low. Remember this is new to the kids. You tend to overhear a conversation about a new topic and later during the assessment, there is a tendency that you will tell your kid, “ I heard this. Your teacher has taught you. “
Well, they are not going to grasp 100% of what they hear. The attention span and also the novel method of teaching are both going to have an impact. Classroom learning is different. So be patient and keep it slow.
11. Teach kids to follow rules
Rules in a normal classroom and a digital classroom will be different. Remember this is probably the first time for teachers too and technically they will not be able to handle some things if kids don’t follow the rules.
Please encourage the kids to unmute only when the teacher requests them. Teach them the online class rules and encourage them to stick to the rules.
12. Don’t compare kids
Classes going online has opened a whole new scenario of giving parents the opportunity to compare one’s kid with his/her classmates. The most important remote learning tip for parents from me would be to not compare your kid’s learning pace with other kids in his class.
Understand that every child is different and they learn at a different pace. Some kids may be proactive and actively participate in-class activities, while others will be shy.
Understand your child’s learning difficulties or barriers and help them to improve but never criticize by comparing them with other kids.
13. Encourage kids to finish work on time
The classes are online doesn’t mean one can be lazy when it comes to submitting assignments or finishing class works. Encourage kids to finish their works on time. Support them but don’t do the classwork for them.
14. Parent support groups
A WhatsApp parents support group is very common nowadays. Join one. This will help you to keep track of the assignments or missed topics especially if you are a working parent and find it difficult to support your child’s online learning.
15. Communicate with the teacher
Online classes can be a success only when parents and teachers work together. So don’t hesitate to communicate with your teacher about the difficulties you face while supporting your child to navigate his online class.
These were my 15 remote learning tips for parents to support kids attending online classes during COVID 19. Hope it helps all of you since we are in this together. Do share your tips too to make digital learning easier.