As parents we are becoming more involved in our children’s school day than in previous years. The Pandemic has challenged not only educators with how and where they teach, but parents in rethinking and reforming our approach to our children’s education. As a family of educators, our family has been no different. We’ve had to learn not only how to adjust our schedules, but also develop new strategies to help keep our children engaged and focused in school.
Dr. Linda Carling an Associate Research Scientist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education Center for Technology in Education gave some very insightful tips on strategies parents can use to help keep their children engaged.
Understand the expectation for distance learning. How much time should students spend online for learning purposes? There are screen time considerations for all students, and older students can handle longer amounts of time than younger students. Your child’s teacher or school should provide some guidance for what is reasonable. For young children, interaction and play is valuable for learning.
Determine what type of activities work best for your child. Are their certain types of distance learning activities that your child prefers over others? For example, does your child work better with synchronous activities where they respond to a live instructor, or in person sitting one-on-one with you? What learning platforms seems to engage your child more than others? The answers to these questions can be valuable for you and your child’s teacher to help plan for learning experiences that work best for your child.
Encourage movement. Kids need to move their bodies frequently throughout the day. Allow time for exercise before your child is expected to focus on a distance learning task. Some children are able to better focus on tasks when standing. Consider having your computer or tablet be on a raised surface so that your child can stand.
Reduce distractions. Where possible, reduce distractions when your child is completing schoolwork. This includes noise as well as visual noise or clutter. A designated workspace that is comfortable for your child will be helpful.
Adjust your schedule as needed. If your child is frustrated — or alternately, if your child is very engaged in learning — make a change in your schedule to allow for a break (and revisit at a later day or time) or to spend time delving deeper into the topic. Some learning activities will be easier to move through than others. Consider working with your child on those activities or subjects that are more difficult during the times of day when your child is most alert and engaged. Learning material that is easier for a child, and therefore moved through more quickly, can be completed at a different time (such as in the afternoon or even another day). It’s also helpful to share with your teacher what is working best for you and your child.
Keeping your child engaged in distance learning doesn’t have to be stressful, it can be a learning moment for both you and your child. What greater joy can a parent have than to be an active influence in their child’s education. We’d love to hear from you our Writing Elite families. What strategies and tips do you’ll have to help keep your children engaged during distance learning? Chime in in the comments section.