Parenting in Pandemic: How to Make Online Learning More Engaging to Children
Parenting per se is already a big challenge to many parents, and this has undeniably become more challenging when the pandemic happened. It is palpable that many parents are struggling now to balance their time working at home and taking care of their children, especially since many schools have closed during the pandemic and classes became online. Jaded? Yes! Discombobulated with which task to finish first? Absolutely!
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You are not alone. Nobody has prepared for the arrival of the coronavirus, not to mention the extent of how it has affected many lives- financially, physically, emotionally, and socially. Apparently, many are now jobless and still clueless where to go next. Meanwhile, other parents grumble about not being prepared with the online classes of their children and how to go about it. Even children are not prepared with this set up. The new normal has truly been very challenging to everybody. However, we should not just sit down and wait for the solution to our problems unfold right? We need to find a way to make learning at home more interesting and motivating among students.
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Online learning engagement varies from one age group to another. Bigger children are able to sit down longer than the younger ones. Children have shorter attention span and can easily get distracted or worse, bored. Here are some tips on making online learning more engaging to children.
Prepare Your Child
Prior to your child’s classes, you need to talk to your child about his or her class that will happen. You need to talk about his or her teacher who will be there to teach him or her. Remind your child how much he or she likes his or her teacher. At times, the zoom class involves the entire class, so tell your child about seeing their friends online. Have something for them to look forward to.
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Show the computer that your child will use and tell them the purpose of the computer. They need to understand that the use of the computer will indicate that they will meet their teacher and classmates to learn or have fun. This way, the child will be able to also prepare him or herself about the situation that will happen when the online lessons begin.
Set up a Study Table
This table should not have any distractions around. Put away toys or books that are easily accessible for the child to fidget once he or she gets bored. The area should be conducive for learning so that the child will enjoy sitting there and listening to the teacher.
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Praise Your Child
Praise your child for finishing the class. Many times, the child will not stay for a long time. Even the 20-30 minutes sitting is already a big accomplishment for them so praise them for being patient. Children like praises because this makes them more confident about themselves.
Communicate with the Teacher
Parent participation is crucial in this learning. This is something new to children so they need support from you as parents. It is important that you communicate with the teacher and ask him or her to share with you the songs that they will sing during the class so you can practice with your child beforehand. If the child is familiar with the song, he or she becomes more confident and comfortable with participation. Ask about what lesson will be taught so you can prepare your child before joining the class. Ask for advice from the teacher about what other tips he or she can share to make the interaction more meaningful.
Invite Families to Join in the Class
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Children love their family! They are always proud about talking about their family members so having their sibling or parent join in the class would make it more fun for the child. This will also create a sense of community even though it is an online learning. When the child becomes more comfortable being in front of the computer, it will be easier for the child to sit a little bit longer the next session.
Do Not Lose the Student-Centered Approach to Learning
More and more schools are now adapting the student-centered approach to learning. This is actually more engaging to students because they feel that they are part of the learning process. Let the students share their experiences and ideas. This will make them more interactive. Children have so much to share and having someone hear them out is a big accomplishment for them. Make the interaction lively and fun. This will make the children enjoy the class more.
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This may be difficult at first, but it is feasible. The key to this type of learning is consistency. If the child will get used to the routine and the schedule, ultimately they will embrace the new way of learning during this time of the pandemic. Parents need to also understand that this is just as challenging to their children as it is to them. Therefore, they need to give support to their child as much as possible. If the child is struggling, the teacher needs to modify his or her approach in order for the child to become more acclimatize to this new set up. Always remember, fun learning lingers in the child’s mind longer.
Writer: Hazel May Vinluan-Kim