Millions of students in the U.S. are learning from home because of the coronavirus pandemic, and many parents may be feeling the stress of juggling working from home and guiding their children’s educations.
As the weeks at home with your kids continue to add up, you may have come across some unique or especially difficult challenges with this new setup. Here are a few recommendations to help guide you through some of the challenges that parents are facing during this time:
You may have made a daily or weekly schedule when your child’s school first closed its doors due to
COVID 19. Perhaps it worked well for the first week or two, but by now, that schedule may need adjusting as you and your family have settled into your temporary routine.
The truth is, creating a schedule for the entire week may not be feasible. Instead, during breakfast each morning, take a few minutes to talk with your kids about the day ahead and what schoolwork they need to accomplish ‒ and when. Encourage stability and regularity as much as you can. Setting daily expectations for your kids and making sure they meet them by the day’s end will help them stay disciplined.
In some schools, students aren’t allowed to use smartphones in classrooms. The same should be true at home, at least when they’re completing their schoolwork. Keep them focused on their education by limiting phone use to non-study time. This is likely to get harder as more weeks roll by without your kids having face-to-face interaction with their peers. Consider using screen time as a reward for an assignment well done or completed early.
Tip: Stay aware while your children are studying at home by looking out for unusual phone, digital or social media activity.
Equipping Kids for Success
Your kids need certain equipment and internet access to learn online. It’s a big challenge for some families, but help is becoming more available. For example, Everyoneon.org maintains a list of sources where students can access affordable computers and broadband.
Keeping Kids Connected
You may be concerned about your children feeling isolated from the social connections they normally have at school. While you don’t want screen time merging with school time, easing up a bit on your screen time rules and limits (if you haven’t already) may be the best way to get through this time.
Allow children to interact with friends via video to help them maintain the relationships they’ve built in the classroom. Partner with other parents to plan virtual play and activity dates. Supporting these connections can be vital to your children’s learning and will help to provide some balance in their lives.
Networking With Parents
Connecting with other parents has obvious social benefits. As the coronavirus pandemic wears on, networking can be a good way to learn about the approaches other parents are taking with at-home education and what successes they’ve had. Plan virtual events to talk with other families and share with each other how you are making it through this time.
Education is important, but the mental and emotional health of your children is even more critical. Check in throughout the day to make sure they’re doing okay. If something’s wrong, take time to stop what you’re doing and work with them to deal with their fears and concerns.