Ways To Keep Your Child Engaged In Online School
COVID changed everything for everyone. But for parents, the biggest change has to have been online school - and with online school came many different challenges. Internet outages, old laptops, poor connectivity, and unmotivated kids all joined forces to test us parents in ways we've never been tested before. But what if we told you it doesn't have to be that way? Today we'll share the best ways to keep your child engaged in online school so they're motivated, ready to learn, and most important of all: not stressing you out! Ready to find out more? Then let's get to it!
1. Don't Sit At The Screen All Day
It might seem counterintuitive since the screen is where your kid's going to be learning, but seriously, abandon ship from time to time. No, we don't mean during live sessions with a teacher - but if there's a little time scheduled for independent learning, then get your child up and moving.
You can do this in a bunch of different ways: 10 minute exercise videos, a quick walk with the family dog, or even an short YouTube course on crafts or gardening. Whatever you do, give them regular breaks from the monotony of working at a screen all day - no matter your kid's age, they'll appreciate the break for some movement and they'll return to school much more motivated.
2. Create Barriers Between Home Life And School Life
It's really difficult to engage your child in online school when they're at home. To help with this, you'll need to create quite strict barriers between home and school life, so they know where they stand. Between 9am and 3pm Monday to Friday, your kid shouldn't be allowed on their console to play games with friends. If they can't do it in school, then they shouldn't be doing it at home during school hours.
Blurring the lines will just drag your kid's attention away from school to Fortnite (or whatever they like). Physical barriers can help too, such as making their bedroom off-limits during school hours, instead letting them focus in the study/dining room/living area where they'll be taking part in the school day.
3. Act As Their Teacher Might
Teachers call the shots in the classroom. If they notice a lull in concentration, then they'll pull the kids back with a refresher activity. If they see that a task just isn't working for the kids that day, then they'll pull it and try again tomorrow. You have every right to do this when your kid is learning from home with you.
Yes, your children's teacher has provided you with a schedule to guide at-home learning, but if it isn't working because your kid's too frustrated or not engaged with the activity, then don't do it. Instead, explain to your child that they'll need to catch up tomorrow, even if it means missing part of their break time to catch up. That'll either motivate them now, or they'll accept that tomorrow they'll need to bring their A game. Either way, the work will get done when it's right for them to do so.
4. Set Up A Checklist
Feeling like the school day at home is going to be endless is really discouraging for kids and teens. Instead, help them set up a checklist of all the activities they need to do that day. By showing them what their day looks like ahead of time, they'll be able to get themselves in the right headspace to tackle it.
There's nothing more motivating than ticking off tasks as you complete them, so this is a great way to keep your children engaged and motivated to learn during online schooling.
5. Praise, Praise, Praise
Don't forget to praise them - even your teens! It's so important to hear that they're doing well and you're proud of them. Online school is an uncertain and unfamiliar place for most people, so hearing regular positive feedback can be a great motivator. Sometimes all it takes is hearing that you're on the right track to encourage you to stay on it after all!
This links in with the praise point above, but it deserves a mention in its own right. RELAX! We mean you, your kid, your entire household - just relax. These are uncertain times, so all additional stress will do is kill motivation and make you all feel rundown. Instead, make things as relaxed as possible at home.
Once work is done for the day, gather for a family meal, watch a movie, or allow your kids to go and play online games with their friends. The point is, you all deserve a treat after the stresses of online school, so make sure your evenings are for unwinding. You can pick up school again tomorrow...
7. Reach Out
And finally, don't hesitate to reach out to a therapist if you feel your kid will benefit from additional support at this time. Yes, their education is important, but more important than that is their wellbeing. If they're struggling to process emotions and deal with these big changes in their life, then therapy might be the answer to help them work through the issues and improve their mood and motivation again.
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