The pandemic has taken a toll on the old and the young alike. The elderly need to be extra careful about health because they are a high-risk population. Working professionals have different woes to deal with, as they struggle to maintain a work-life balance with the WFH settings. Students are perhaps the most affected segment because remote learning brings a diverse set of challenges.
Even as schools and colleges have done their bit by going online, learning isn’t easy until institutions open up for physical classes. But you cannot expect them to open as usual until things are under control. The hybrid model will be the new normal for the foreseeable future. As a parent, you will certainly want to pandemic-proof your child’s education in such uncertain times. Here are some measures that can help.
Help them have clear expectations
Before you get down to work, it is vital to help your kids have clear expectations. The pandemic seems to be going nowhere as resurgences and new strains are emerging as challenges amid the vaccine rollouts. You need to understand that hybrid is the future of education. Schools may open anytime and again have to switch back to the online model if the number of infections surges. It can be taxing for kids to switch between modes, but there isn’t an option. Talk to the children and discuss the situation so that they are ready to cope with the drastic changes. Realistic expectations will make it a tad easier to bear the challenge.
Create a structure
A study-from-home schedule is not easy to manage, neither for the parents nor for the students. Even as your kids may have done it through the last year, it gets even harder as things are not getting a lot better. Students may see it as a long break, but parents need to make sure that they create a structure for the day. Establishing schedules makes them more regular with their studies, so have it for the weekdays and weekends. It is vital to be involved and keep track, even for your teens, because you wouldn’t want them to take things frivolously at any point.
Make space for learning
Apart from structuring the schedule, parents also need to make space for learning. Just as you need a dedicated home office to be your productive best, children too require a quiet and comfortable space devoted to learning. It will help them maintain focus on learning day after day, even as they study at home. Ideally, it shouldn’t be the area where they play games or watch television because they will feel distracted. Choose a part of the house that offers enough privacy, without siblings and pets around during school time. Ergonomics are equally crucial because you will not want the child to end up with orthopedic issues.
Arrange extra help online
Even the most brilliant students may find it hard to cope with the stress of pandemic education. Studying at home isn’t easy, particularly for older kids, and they may need help with some subjects. Have open conversations with the kids and ask them if they require extra tutoring. Fortunately, you can find a GCSE tutor online for a child struggling with languages and STEM subjects. Online classes are ideal from the safety perspective, while you can rest assured that the child gets extra attention they may be missing in the school classes. Additionally, you can choose a qualified tutor according to the needs of the student.
Stay in touch with teachers
You may be busy with your WFH schedules, but staying in touch with your children’s teachers is something you shouldn’t overlook. Connect regularly to keep track of progress. Don’t hesitate to discuss challenges and problems because you can expect to deal with a lot, from technical issues to communication gaps, missed classes, and more. Staying connected with the educationists lets you work as a team to resolve the challenges faced by the teachers and kids and make things easier for everyone.
Connect with fellow parents
Remember that you aren’t facing this alone because every parent is worried about keeping their kids’ education on track in the new normal. Connecting with fellow parents is a good idea as it enables you to discuss problems and listen to the ones that others are facing. You may even get a new perspective on problems and brainstorm together for solutions. Speaking one-to-one with fellow parents helps, but it is better to join parents groups and community groups to broaden your circle and get support from people riding in the same boat.
Protect children online
While digital platforms help children to keep learning and interacting with peers, they are fraught with risks. The worst part is that parents are stressed to the extent that they fail to consider the risks to the safety and privacy of the kids. Since they are likely to be online for a good part of the day, you need to be extra conscious. Explain these risks to the kids and educate them about appropriate behavior and safety practices. Open discussions make them comfortable with you, and they are more likely to discuss problems like cyberbullying honestly. Establish rules for using the internet for activities other than studies and set up parental controls on their devices to ensure safety.
Don’t miss out on exercise and social contact
The pandemic has made people vulnerable and isolated, and children are not an exception. Even as you help them deal with learning and schooling, make sure that they don’t miss out on exercise and social contact. Schedule a family exercise hour a day and make it a routine for the entire family. Pick an activity the young ones enjoy, such as yoga, dance, or aerobics. Spend time together on the weekends and have conference calls with friends and family to keep kids connected and social.
Life couldn’t get more challenging for children than it is right now. The switch to hybrid learning will last longer than anyone wants, but it is a reality you and your kids have to bear. Just follow these tips and do your bit to support them with their pandemic education.