There is a lot of uncertainty involved with returning to school for the fall. Many metro-Atlanta school districts are gearing up to start the new semester, and a lot of districts have turned to online schooling in response to the pandemic. And that leaves a lot of parents in a stressful spot, wondering how they can best support their kids as they shift to online learning and kick off a new year. The coronavirus has turned “school” upside-down. Chances are everyone at home is feeling a bit apprehensive about the shift. It might be stressful and it might feel overwhelming, but here are a few tips to help you as a parent support your student as the new year begins.
Tips for supporting your student in online learning.
1. Create a routine.
You’ve got to create a sense of routine with the whole online-learning thing. Maybe that means recreating the schedule that your children had during the normal school year, or maybe that means making a new routine that suits the online schedule. However it works out, the important thing is getting into the swing of a routine. For example, there should be a consistent bedtime and morning wake-up time. Have the kids get up, change into fresh clothes, eat something, brush teeth, and so on – just like they would if they actually had to go to in-person school. That can help them get into the right head space to tackle the school day.
2. Set up a “school spot” in the house.
Your kids are also going to need a nice, quiet place in the house to do their school work. They’ll need a spot where they can be comfortable and where they can focus on their studies. Figure out a good spot where your kids can work. There needs to be a place where the kids can retreat and hit the books.
3. Treat virtual school like real school.
Okay. Your kids might be skeptical. Real school is not the same as virtual school. But you can lead by example by treating virtual school like real school. Though your kids aren’t actually going to school in-person, they should still take it seriously. That’s where having a positive attitude on your part is really important. You can help encourage your kids by presenting an upbeat attitude.
4. Be there to listen to your kids’ concerns.
Online learning is challenging for all parties involved. Your kid might get frustrated and they might need to rant. You can listen to their concerns, but you can also gently remind them to have patience with their teachers. This is a new experience for them, too, and they’ve had to adjust very quickly to the new style of teaching. Everyone’s in this together, students and teachers alike. So yes, they might need to complain a little, but you can try to give them some perspective. Being angry isn’t going to help anything, right?
5. Encourage activity.
Your kids also need to stay active, to burn off energy if nothing else. So, what’s going to work for your family? Dance party? Kicking a soccer ball in the backyard? Maybe going for a walk? Find a safe way for your kids to get some activity during the day so they’re not cooped up in a corner somewhere doing their schoolwork. So, try to incorporate some exercise into the routine.
6. Arrange for social interaction.
Obviously in-person interaction is out for the time being, but that doesn’t mean your kids can’t still get some social time with their friends via video call. Your children will probably be missing their friends. Let them have the opportunity to socialize with their buddies with video calls – technology is great! (And apart from friends, remind your kids that there are still activities they love that are still do-able. Have fun.)
7. Encourage openness about feelings.
Your kids might be getting frustrated with having to stay home. So, you have to explain why social distancing is still important to slow the spread of the virus – although maybe try not to have the news on in front of them. Encourage your kids to talk to you about what they have been hearing so you can give them the truth, not misinformation. Make sure you’re getting accurate, trustworthy information about the situation. And along with that, encourage everyone at home to talk about how they’re feeling – including yourself. Try to get everyone to be honest about the emotions they’re feeling.
8. Be there to help.
If you need to help with anything, let your kids know you’re there to assist. The kids might need a hand, so make sure they know they can tell you about the obstacles or challenges they’re facing. That way they know you’re in their corner. Whether it’s figuring out how to communicate with a teacher about a concern or wi-fi issues, talk through it with them.
Online learning comes with its own unique set of challenges. As a parent, you might be worried about how virtual learning is going to go. As metro-Atlanta schools determine their game plans for the fall semester of the new school year, you as a parent need to come up with a school game plan for your family. There might be some trial and error, but try to keep a positive outlook going on in your household.
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