COVID-19 presents unparalleled challenges for educators, students, and parents. The shift to virtual at-home learning places extraordinary strains on parents who are managing jobs and their child’s educational requirements. Thankfully, organizations like BCFS Health and Human Services CSD have considerable experience in supporting parents and children through various initiatives. The organization offers several tips for parents that are navigating this new way of learning during the pandemic.
The organization first recommends parents set expectations for their child, in terms of their remote learning. These are broader guidelines that can prime the student for success, as they understand what they need to do daily and over a semester. It’s suggested parents adjust these expectations over time as needed, to reflect their child’s shifting priorities. And for multi-child families, parents should offer personalized expectations, so a 2nd grader is held to different standards than a 11th grader taking advanced physics.
Another recommendation from the organization is to provide each child with a dedicated work area that’s free from most distractions. A clean desk space offers kids a place to focus on their work and avoids the distractions from toys and non-school electronic devices.
A set schedule is also needed as a complement to the dedicated workspace. Students will need to follow their online class schedule, but parents should also add some structure to the other hours in the day. BCFS Health and Human Services CSD suggests parents consider their child’s individual preferences as they work together to create a schedule. Some kids might need an extended break before they dive into homework, so they might perform best after dinner. Others could excel with conquering homework immediately after class sessions. Parents can consider a “flexibly rigid” schedule that keeps kids on track, but also gives them time to unwind.
Teaching and learning from home is also an opportunity to teach kids “real world” lessons beyond math, history and English. It’s an opportunity to talk to them about personal finance and bills, and the importance of saving. Parents can teach their kids how to do laundry and fold clothes, make simple repairs, and cook meals from scratch. These are not just invaluable lessons; they also provide parents and kids some bonding moments that can remove some of the pressures of schoolwork and related deadlines.
BCFS Health and Human Services CSD encourages kids to engage in creative outlets such as painting and exercise while at home. Since their in-person interactions are limited, many kids can use creative activities to express their feelings and to relieve some stress from such a challenging time.