Staying at home for long periods of time and doing lessons online can be demotivating for children who are used to attending physical school. They may also struggle with paying attention and completing their homework due to the lack of face-to-face interactions and mental or peer stimulation that they get when they are in school. In addition, children may feel isolated and very much alone in their education journey. As virtual learning is here to stay, there are several things that parents can do to keep their children motivated when learning online.
1. Establish a routine
A routine is important especially for younger children. Following a schedule makes the day predictable and children know what to expect at a certain hour of the day or days in the week. Once a routine has been established, they will do things without being told. If they forget what they are supposed to be doing, they can always refer to the schedule and get back on track.
The first item on the schedule can start with the time your child should wake up. The next item on the schedule can be for breakfast before attending online classes. After classes end, the schedule should include some time for your child to relax where they can play games or watch shows. Do schedule time for exercise too. It is recommended to choose exercises that your children will enjoy. You can introduce home-friendly exercises such as jumping jacks, jump ropes, or even dancing to upbeat music. You can set a good example for your children by working out at home as well, possibly on weekends if you are busy with work on weekdays. Your children will observe what you do and eventually mimic your healthy lifestyle habit. Setting a bed time would also be beneficial to ensure that your child gets at least nine hours of sleep before starting a new day. Do print out the schedule and put it where it is most visible for your child. For older children, you can discuss and agree on the schedule together so that they will follow it.
2. Take a shower and get dressed
Some children may not see the necessity of taking a shower the first thing after waking up when they have nowhere to go. However, encouraging your child to take a shower first thing in the morning will not only wake them up but will help them focus better on the lessons for the day. Besides, this will help your child to cultivate a good hygiene habit.
In addition, you may also want to encourage your child to change into his or her school uniform before starting classes online. Putting on their school uniform may impress upon your child the importance of learning even though it is done through technology with their teachers and classmates.
3. Create a study space
In order to help children focus on their lessons, it is essential to create a proper study space for them that is quiet and devoid of distractions. For example, music should be switched off and mobile phones should be put aside. In addition, this space should be neat and tidy, and has all the necessary tools and equipment for effective learning. For example, Internet connectivity should be stable and the computer used is able to support the software and platform that the school uses.
4. Participate actively and take notes
An important way to learn is to participate actively during lessons. Many children prefer to turn off their cameras and microphones. Instead, they prefer to use the (text) chat function. However, it is more effective if they show themselves and respond verbally when questions are asked and responses are required. They will also feel more involved if the teacher provides immediate feedback to their responses. Therefore, make it a point for your children to turn on their cameras and microphones for every lesson. Another way of staying focused is to encourage your children to take notes. This will not only help them remember the lessons better but will also help them when they need to do their homework and assignments.
5. Take an interest in their school work and progress
As virtual learning can be a rather lonely journey, parents should take an interest in their children’s studies. Spend time talking to them and asking if they face any challenges. Children may also need extra help with understanding difficult concepts. Do check on their progress to ensure they have submitted their work on time. Most schools alert parents if students did not attend classes or fail to submit work on time. Pay attention to these reports and take the necessary steps to ensure your children are on track.
6. Form a go-to study group
Although it is not possible to meet up physically, your children should maintain communication with their peers through regular video calls or voice calls. You should encourage your children to form study groups with their classmates. Having a go-to study group is beneficial for your children as it provides them the additional support, aside from their teachers, when needed. Your children and their classmates can keep each other accountable to meet the deadlines of the given homework and assignments. In addition, they can have after-class discussions or revision sessions to prepare for quizzes or examinations.
Parents can help motivate your children by incorporating the above in their online learning journey. With your help, studying at home will not be such a monotonous and lonely experience for your children after all.
If you have found this article helpful, you may be interested in the following articles as well:
- 5 Good Hygiene Tips for Children
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- 5 Important Soft Skills A Student Should Have
- 5 Good Internet Habits for Children