After months, weeks or days of operating in person, a new surge in coronavirus cases is forcing schools to close. As parents, teachers and school districts had just started to figure out the extremely difficult logistics of hybrid versus online learning, we all need to go back to a strictly online curriculum. This is an impossible situation for parents, teachers and school administrators, alike.
Caught in the midst of all this, are students, who now have to go back to zoom-learning, after a short period of attending in-person classrooms, or they might be coming to terms with the fact that learning this year might be all remote.
Beyond doubt there is a fatigue that is setting in, for 2020, especially with learning on video calls all day. In stressful times like these, we have created the following list to help you support your children to avoid the fatigue that comes with online learning.
Designated space for learning
- Define a space in the house, could be a specific corner in a room or a table, where your child can attend his online class.
- It doesn’t need to be fancy or imitate a classroom setting. The idea is to create a separation between class-times and other times of the day, so that the entire day doesn’t seem to your child that they are in school.
- Create physical boundaries so your child can mentally prepare for cues for learning.
- You can start the school-time by saying, ‘Hey, let’s start school’. End it by saying, ‘Alright free-time, what do you wanna do?’
- Identify the end of Friday, ‘Yay, weekend is here’.
A setup for right posture
- Online classrooms mean that your child is sitting at a spot, not continuously, but for many hours cumulatively. Find a place where you child is not laying down or is at an awkward posture.
- Pediatricians and occupational therapists recommend that children should sit with their elbows, hips and knees all bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Their feet should never dangle but should be propped up on a firm surface.
- Screens or reading material should be directly in front of them, about an arm’s length away, and at eye level to avoid looking down too much and straining their neck muscles.
- Get creative and use props to make adjustments.
- This is one of the most important aspects to remember for at-home learning.
- Assign ample time for physical activity inside the house.
- Encourage kids to take frequent breaks between lessons. The times during the break must be without screens.
- Make sure they get some time to go outside and play, even if it is limited to dribbling a ball in front of the garage.
- Use time on weekends to schedule a family hike or walk around the neighborhood.
Use physical objects to play with
- Identify that some of us find it easier to concentrate if we have a notepad to scribble on or a pen to play with. One of my kids has a hard time sitting still during zoom meetings, so he needs small objects to fiddle with.
- Character erasers or small stress balls are good objects to keep on the desk for this purpose.
- Provide a notepad and some color pens so your child can doodle.
- Doodling is not multitasking, rather it is a physical expression of mental processing.
Make the most of your digital calendar
- Add the schedule of important events or lessons for your child’s classroom, to your digital calendar.
- Make use of automatic notification so you don’t feel the pressure of remembering every single thing on your child’s everyday class-schedule.
- To reduce interruptions in an already stressful time, make a list of all website links, apps and passwords that the child needs.
- Share these details among the parents or partners, and whoever else will be primarily responsible for managing kids’ school.
- If you are part of a learning pod, make sure that all the participating adults have this information (for all the students in the pod) available at their finger tips.
Work with your teachers
- Know and believe that you and your teachers have to work together to make the most of this situation.
- If your child has special needs, communicate with your teacher, and communicate often. Speak to the behavioral therapist at the school, and collaboratively come up with a plan to help your child.
- If your family is going through an especially stressful time, let the teachers know.
- Your work responsibilities may conflict with the timing of online classrooms or a task that your child needs to complete. Speak to your child’s teacher how this can be worked out in the best interest of your child’s learning,
Above everything else, remember you’re enough and you are doing your best. Treat each other with kindness, and most importantly treat yourself with kindness. It’s okay to let some things go and believe that in the bigger picture your children will be okay.