Virtual learning is the reality for most of us parents since Covid-19 came to the United States. As a parent, we were forced to decide how to teach our children and work at the same time if we didn’t have a stay-at-home helper. Many parents had to transition from traveling to work to creating a home office or space for us to work as well as have a place for our children to do schoolwork. The internet has become a daily, many hours a day babysitter for our kids. Parents have had to get familiar with social media outlets their children utilized, and some became Tik Tok users and voyeurs themselves. Some kids already had internet access and computers, so the transition was a bit easier, however a significant number of families had to find internet access and laptops until their school provided them. Our refrigerators became bare due to the kids and us eating for emotional support or just because we were home. Just when we thought it was a temporary situation, covid-19 mutated, positivity rates increased and required many families to continue to have children learning from home. We were really teachers and counselors in our homes.
Common issues and Solutions for online learning.
- My child isn’t engaged in online learning.
- Many children have lost their passion for learning since they are looking at a screen for up to 7 hours a day. It becomes a habit and mundane and even boring. This is normal. Many school systems allow teachers creativity so inquire with your child’s teacher what are they doing to engage their students. Some use music, stretching, exercises, videos, along with pictures and student participation. It is okay to not be as engaged online as they are in school if learning is occurring. Parents should check in with their kids to see what subjects they may zone out in and observe for a bit if possible. Maybe they lose interest prior to lunch because their energy is low or after lunch when their food is digesting. Maybe it is a particular subject or teacher that loses your child. Find out what the requirements are for the class and how the teacher teaches.
- My child and I fight daily to get them to sign on to the school portal.
- Parents, you must oversee this. Learning is not an option. We can’t require our children to be joyful, but we can hold them accountable for being present. Have a conversation with them and let them know that this is the way school is for now. If you are working from home model correct behaviors for them. Make sure everyone is well rested, fed and dressed. We wouldn’t wear pajamas to work or school, so we shouldn’t do it at home. The rules are the same. You can reward cooperation with a small gift like a treat or special time with you.
- My child is failing their classes.
- I hear this weekly and I understand how frustrating this can be. Believe me. I can relate. Set academic goals with your children. Have them write down the grades they will work towards and put it on the wall, desk, table or wherever they are working. They should have a dedicated place to work. Never in or on a bed! They will be held accountable for what they choose. A consequence should be given if they don’t meet their goal. Discuss what they can do differently and don’t wait until the final grades are out and then you’re upset. We can ask our children to keep track of their grades and we can look on the school portal or contact the teachers for support. Ultimately, we can’t force our kids to do well. It is their choice. We can support them or get them assistance if needed. If we force them to perform then I guarantee they will rebel in another area.
- My child is sad, angry, or withdrawn.
- This is another area that I work with daily. Depression is not an adult issue. It affects us all. We have had to isolate ourselves from family and friends and activities we enjoyed. Many families have been directly affected by the virus. Maybe you or someone your child knows or themselves has even had the covid-19 virus. Some have even had people die from it and not be able to be with them. Children feel pain, both yours and their own. They just don’t have the tools to process those feelings, as well as adults, do. (some of us.) Anger is a common emotion that masks other deeper feelings. Hurt is one of them. Frustration about not being able to control their activities can be upsetting. Anger is okay and not a bad thing. Help your children learn how to deal with anger in a constructive way. Maybe hitting a pillow, writing in a journal, yelling, banging on pots, painting, or drawing are options. Allow your children to be angry if they are not hurting themselves, property, or others. This was not the plan most people had to educate their children. They did miss parties, graduations, proms, outings, and other events special to them in the past year.
- Seek a counselor for support.
- Talk to your children about their feelings and don’t hide your own sadness. Share your true pain with them so they learn that it is okay to grieve and be sad about losing people and yes activities they engaged in. Try to find creative ways to socialize and interact with others. I know online schooling is an obstacle, but a zoom party might be an option. Exercise at home and go outside in your yard or to a park( wear a mask) and walk and run or ride bikes if the weather permits it. Make activities at home. Crafts and cooking are great time fillers. The bottom line is don’t allow them to be isolated. Seek support for them and yourself.
For more support on specific ways to handle obstacles with online learning contact us.