Try These Tips to Stay Involved with School During COVID
As we emerge from the haze of 2020, everyone is hopeful 2021 will be more like a “normal” year. Although every age has struggled with the fear and uncertainties of COVID-19, students have experienced significant fallout. The lack of social interaction with friends, in-person contact with teachers, distractions at home, and faulty internet are just a few reasons students may be struggling with feeling involved with school during COVID.
Teachers, counselors, and coaches are now looking at new methods to keep kids engaged during the pandemic. How can you assist them? Here are six ways to help keep your child feeling more involved in school during COVID.
1.) Encourage Physical Movement
Students, no matter what age, are used to getting up and moving. Playtime for younger students, changing classrooms for older ones, and enjoying lunch together was all part of a day’s activities.
If they are getting ready to go into an online class where they need to focus, have them participate in a physical activity first. Consider using a standing desk or moving to new spaces between classes. Studies have shown that even a quick ten minutes of exercise improves alertness and the ability to concentrate.
2.) Limit Distractions
Kids are easily distracted by noise, other movements and clutter. For younger students, toys always get more attention. Older students may need oversight on their online social media and web-surfing time. Consider having them hand you their phone during class time.
If at all possible, set up a separate classroom environment for your student. Choose a specific place that is out of the flow of regular traffic. Remove clutter around their “desk zone” and let the student know this is their special area for school work.
3.) Time Management
Almost everyone enjoys making a list and checking off completed tasks. It gives you a sense of accomplishment, as well as knowing you are almost done with the day’s activities. Using a daily planner will go a long way to improving the amount of work that gets done too.
Consistency is critical. Bedtime at the same time every day establishes a routine. Even though we may not like structure, setting aside a specific time for lunch or physical activities keeps them on track.
By knowing your child’s peak learning time, you will have a better chance of getting them to engage too. Finding out your child’s best time to complete their work will give them a sense of ownership and responsibility.
4.) Staying In Touch With Friends
Online learning can be very lonely. Much of the school experience is tied to student’s relationships with one another. When every day brings a measure of uncertainty, kids need to know they have others they can rely on.
Virtual play dates or study groups should be a part of their routine. School discussion boards, emails, and texts can keep students engaged with one another. Create online game nights through Zoom or game apps that allow kids to have fun without being in the same room. Consider hosting a Netflix movie night. Only those you invite can attend, and you can add a group chat so kids can “chat” during the movie.
5.) Pay Attention To Your Family’s Mental Health
Being a parent and a teacher is not a talent everyone possesses. It’s easy for a parent to feel they are failing to either work from home or teach their kids. Try to be as flexible with your schedule as possible.
If you or your child is frustrated, take a break. Nothing says school must always be on the clock. It’s okay to pace yourselves on a day-to-day basis. Let your child work on projects that they are particularly good at or really enjoy to give yourself a little breathing room. Celebrate even small successes.
Stay in touch with your child’s teachers and make sure they understand your school/work situation. Communication is key to remaining sane!
6.) Provide Positive Feedback
Providing immediate and positive feedback to your child will motivate, boost confidence, and show someone they are valued. No matter what age your student is, give them a verbal or physical sign of success. For younger students, use stickers, stars, or big checkmarks to praise their hard work. For older students, verbal affirmation means everything.
The goal is always to foster a love for learning. With your encouragement, they will be set on a path for lifetime success.