My DMs get flooded with questions from parents. “Children are not interested in online classes”. “The teacher is taking the class and they are either scribbling or walking away from the screen”. Forever bored! This has been happening for months now. They say their child will fall behind in studies. By the time regular schools open there will be so much loss of learning that they will not be able to catch up. As a Parenting Coach, here’s what I think.
The pandemic caused a worldwide standstill. We faced (and still are facing) a lot of uncertainty. As a mother of two children, my topmost concern was what impact all this is going to have on them.
I had so many questions…
What happens to school? How can they learn sitting in front of the screen? That is just too much screen time.
What happens to social interactions children have at school?
The extended screen time and its impact on their development?
What exactly is my child doing in front of the screen for so long?
The impact of all this on their mental and emotional well being?
….and the list goes on and on.
I also knew that I was not the only one feeling this.
18 months and Counting! Time answered these questions for me
It is challenging for children to sit and stare at the screen without any real connection with the concept. Yes, the learning has been impacted- there is no denying that.
If we talk about class performance and grades, teachers are well aware of the challenges and the gaps in learning. They are aware of the pace at which children are learning.
When the schools open and regular studies start, TEACHERS WILL START FROM WHERE THEIR CLASS IS (and not where the children are expected to be).
How do we cope with this new online learning scenario?
Here is what we need to understand as parents:
1. It is NOT a complete loss of learning
We may think the child is not gaining any knowledge during online classes. Expecting a child to learn just by looking at the screen is an unfair expectation. Every child has a different style of learning, some are visual learners, some are auditory learners and some kinesthetic learners.
The child may be absorbing less than they would have during physical school but THEY ARE LEARNING.
Do not concentrate on how much the child is not learning. But on the fact that they are learning something and it is adding up.
2. Do not pressure the children
When the Pandemic started everyone felt that we have a lot of time at hand. Parents started making lists of what we can do during this time. This led us to be over-ambitious for the children too.
Since online learning became a norm, parents enrolled them in many online classes.
What they failed to see was the long term impact it would have on the mental and emotional health of the child.
Instead of giving them an overload of learning, consider their emotional, social and mental health. Are they ready to take on this much? Is the child happy attending all these classes?
Just like adults, the children are going through their own struggles, and it needs to be handled.
There will be a lot of time to learn a new sport, languages etc if we help them balance the aspects mentioned above.
3. Help them Organise their day
Ensure that the child has a set timetable to follow. Having a routine is very essential, as children work best with routines around them. This is why there is a timetable followed in schools. Have that at home too.
Download a free copy of key2practice Timetable
Review the due dates for the assignments, tests and other important events. Do this once a week (In the case of preprimary children, daily).
Mark a slot in their timetable, when the child can come and discuss doubts, concerns etc.
Kinda like office meetings, and honour that time (you are teaching a crucial life skill this way).
4. Communicate the learning challenges
Ask the child if they have any difficulties in learning. What challenges are they facing?
Talk to the teachers and ask for their creative suggestions to teach the child and get over the challenge. The teachers are professionals who know how to help children in these situations.
Keep their day balanced with studies and pleasure. Here’s a checklist to help children manage their hours.
Download Productive Day Checklist
5. Focus on the emotional well-being of the children
It is very common for some children who are very sensitive by nature to internalize situations around them.
This is seen as meltdowns, aggressive behaviour, Depression, or sudden mood shifts.
Parents should keep a lookout for any such sign.
Allow them to discuss their feelings and thoughts.
My Special TIP:
Have frequent emotion check sessions in the house.
Ask how each family member is feeling that day?
Parents with small kids can have emoji cards or an emotions cube (Free printable below) showing a happy or sad face, indicating different emotions.
This will help children understand their feelings and put them in words.
The parents must encourage their children to talk about what they are feeling and respond. The keyword here is responding and not reacting. Communicate with empathy and understanding.
It is also a good idea to help children see the positive or fun side of their “new normal” activities and routines.
Emotions cube. Download the free template
6. Stay Calm
Adults form the environment of the house. They are more in control of their feelings. If children see you relaxed and calm they will follow the same.
If the parent is anxious about schooling and learning- the child will too. Try to tame your anxiety about the learning loss in children.
Children are more receptive to learning when they feel safe and secure. We need to show our children that we are there for them and together as a family we will come out of this strong.
7. Look after your own wellbeing
Do not be too hard on yourself by taking all the responsibility. A happy parent will raise a happy child.
I understand the parents are feeling the burden of being a teacher as well.
Do not put too much pressure on yourself. Keep the communication open with the child and the teachers.
All three parties, the teachers, parents and children, have to work together and adjust to this new way of learning.
It might take time but we will find a balance for sure.
The situation is different. As we adapted to the new ways so beautifully.
We also need to get used to the idea of the new pace of learning. Comparing it with the way children grasped in regular school will neither help the parent or the child. So stay patient.
What are your views on this blog? Do you agree that parents need a more compassionate approach towards learning? Let us know in the comments below.
She has a private practice in Gurgaon where she counsels and guides the parents to help them create enriching relationships with their children.
She has several workshops and programs for parents and children.
Information about my workshops :
1. Forming effective communication with your Teenage child
2. Programming Teenagers to become Empowered Young Adults (age 13 years and above)
3. Garbhaa Sanskara- Parenting in the womb
4. Memory Mastery (age 7-14 )
For Personal Consultations. Get in touch with her at +91- 7428592888
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