As teachers and parents ourselves, we understand that the next few weeks — and perhaps months — are going to be a challenge. Many children will be learning online for the foreseeable future and, as you’ve probably already experienced, online learning is significantly different from what your child, their teachers, and you, are used to.
While nobody knows what the future holds, we do know that life won’t resemble anything close to normal for a while. And as such, it’s important for all of us to find ways to stay engaged while working, learning, and connecting from a distance.
Before we begin today’s discussion, we also recommend reading through one of our recent posts, How to Keep Your Child Engaged This Summer. We discussed the importance of keeping your child engaged and active over the summer break, so be sure to read through that material if you’re interested in learning even more about how to support your child’s mental and physical well-being as we navigate the COVID-19 crisis.
Six Ways to Help Your Child Succeed While Learning Virtually
First and foremost, you should try to understand the expectations that have been set for your child. The majority of educators have not had time to learn how to facilitate distance learning flawlessly, and they may need extra help from parents in the first few weeks of class. Ask your child’s teacher how much time they expect your child to spend studying online and offline in order to succeed, and what you can do to help. You should also ask about what the rest of the semester looks like and to what extent you will need to be involved in your child’s education as distance learning becomes more streamlined and efficient.
Children and adults both need regular physical activity in order to feel their best, so make sure that you encourage your child to take breaks to stretch, walk around, and stay active outside of class. Just as many adults find that they are more productive and attentive while standing, your child might actually be more engaged and enthusiastic about their classes if they can stand and watch their instructor. Once school is over, we recommend playing in the backyard, taking your child for a socially distanced walk, riding bikes, or engaging in another form of physical activity. Trust us — everyone will benefit from getting active!
Create an Educational Environment
If you’re working from home, then you’ve probably noticed how easy it is to let yourself get distracted from the task at hand. Maybe it’s getting up from your desk to make another cup of coffee before you actually get started on your work, or perhaps you have other people at home who make it difficult to focus on a task for more than a couple of minutes at a time. Whatever the case may be, understand that your child will experience the same difficulties as they learn online.
As a parent, you can help your child by minimizing the distractions in your environment and making your home feel like school as much as possible. If your home has a guest bedroom, consider making this your child’s classroom and minimizing distractions as much as possible. This means removing toys from the room, keeping noise levels low during the day, and keeping their work area free of clutter.
As you’ve probably already experienced if you’re working from home, it can be very difficult to draw a line between work and leisure. In fact, some surveys suggest that Americans working from home are working more than they ever have before.
Similarly, your child might find it equally difficult to separate home and school, especially if your home doesn’t have an extra room that can be repurposed as a classroom. To help your child keep school and home distinct, avoid talking about school when they’re not working on homework or participating in class activities. When they’re done learning for the day, put all of their learning materials away and do everything you can to make home truly feel like home.
There’s no denying that this is an incredibly difficult time for millions of Americans not just in NYC, but in the country as a whole. It’s all too easy to let yourself slip into a bad mood while watching the news or trying to help your child with their schoolwork every evening, but we can’t overemphasize the importance of staying positive. This doesn’t mean that you have to turn a blind eye to what’s happening around you, but it does mean focusing on the here and now for the sake of you and your family’s well-being. Children pick up on their parents’ mental states, even if those states aren’t explicitly stated.
If you notice that your child is having a difficult time staying positive while distance learning, try providing them with positive feedback and words of encouragement every day. Even something as simple as a small treat or extra free time when school’s over can go a long way toward motivating your child and helping them stay positive.
Enroll In Virtual Classes for Kids In NYC
Up to this point, we’ve talked about the importance of leisure, breaks, structure, activity, and keeping things positive. If you’re already working long hours from home and helping a child distance learn, then you may not have the mental bandwidth to brainstorm even more activities. If this resonates with you and your situation, we recommend learning more about The Art Farm NYC’s virtual classes for kids that are held throughout the week. We’re currently offering a variety of fun-filled classes that include everything from cooking lessons and singalongs to introductions to our exotic animals, and we would love to have your child join us!
We look forward to speaking with you!