It has been over a year since COVID-19 was first reported spreading in Wuhan, China. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have died of it and millions more have been infected. Ten months into the pandemic, countries are still reeling from the impact of the virus and the measures created to control its spread.
One of the most effective ways to prevent infection is social distancing which led to shutdowns. Workplaces have to transition to a remote setting to protect employees from infections. Schools, too, had to stop conducting classes in classrooms and went virtual.
Millions of young people across the United States, and many other countries around the world, are receiving online education. In some cases, the set-up is as equally efficient as face-to-face classes. Children, after all, are more comfortable navigating the digital landscape because they were raised in the age of the internet.
However, just like in traditional classrooms, students may also experience burnout from remote learning. The regular stresses that stem from wanting to excel in academics, coupled with the fact that they are trying to survive a contagious and deadly pandemic, can cause children to feel overwhelmed.
What can parents do to support their children and keep them motivated to study despite the chaos of the world around them?
Develop a Routine
For most kids, remote learning is challenging because it is a routine that they are not familiar with.
Back when schools were open, students had to wake up early, take a shower and change into their uniform, eat their breakfast, catch the school bus, and go from class to class throughout the day.
When the lockdowns happened, routines were thrown out the window. Suddenly, the home became the classroom. They do not get to see or interact with their classmates. Their teachers appear on-screen, not in front of the room.
Developing a new routine can help anchor your child and make them more focused on school.
It creates a sense of normalcy at a time when things just are not normal. Encourage them to wake up earlier, not five minutes before the class begins, shower and put on nice clothes, and then eat breakfast before class. These things will help condition their mind that online classes are just as important as face-to-face classes.
It creates boundaries, separating the time for leisure and the time for learning. This will be important for your child’s day-to-day because it will allow them to relax outside of school hours.
Create a Workspace
At home, there are way too many sources of distractions.
There are television shows to watch, toys to play with, siblings to chat with, and smartphones to fiddle with that they may not be able to give their online class their entire concentration.
If your child has been having issues focusing on remote learning, it is time to create a dedicated space for their classes.
Choose a quiet room in the house and remove all distractions, including books, toys, television, video game consoles, and their smartphone. Unless necessary, do not allow them to bring any item to their workstation.
It would also help to have a desk where they do their homework and decorate it with school supplies that they like, photos of friends and family dogs, and artworks (things that are not distracting).
Explore Learning Pods
Some kids are just not built for remote learning.
That is okay. Pushing them to study when they are already struggling because of the set-up will only overwhelm them further. If you have tried all these techniques and, still, your child is not responding well, it is time to explore other options.
Last year, learning pods rose in popularity.
These are small groups of students who study together at home often with a tutor but sometimes with the teachers volunteering to facilitate the learning. Each learning pod has about three to 10 students to keep the risk of infections very low.
Parents prefer the set-up because they are concerned that their children do not have the attention span needed for remote learning.
In a learning pod, there is still an adult present to teach and children do not feel isolated from their peers. It creates an environment similar to regular classrooms albeit smaller.
Many learning pods are created via Facebook Groups. This usually involves children from the same neighborhoods. Parents may create their own with children from the same class or grade. This allows them to choose if they want a tutor or if they want to divide the teaching duties among themselves. The teachers may also be conducting learning pods, so do not be afraid to talk to your child’s teachers about your concerns.
During the pandemic, learning must go on.
However, if the child is not performing well from online classes or their mental well-being is negatively impacted, it might be best to skip a year. Allow them to relax their mind. They are surviving a global crisis after all.