Provide structure for online learning
Many children have had to adjust to remote and hybrid learning during the pandemic. While it might be tempting to allow children to sleep in and attend classes in their pajamas, too much flexibility might make it difficult for students to focus on their lessons and make academic progress. Try to develop a routine by having your child wake up at the same time every morning, have breakfast and get dressed for school, before joining their online classes. Encourage your child to turn on their video and participate in class. When their videos are on, children are more likely to engage in their classes and feel like a part of the learning community. It also helps to deter them from multitasking by playing games or watching videos during the lesson. Another way to build routines around online learning is to have your child take their lessons at the same location every day. Designate a specific room or a specific desk as the learning area. Your child will begin associating that location to their academics. Having a designated learning space helps children to separate school time from family time.
Schedule family time
When families are home together every day, it can be easy to forget to spend quality family time. Children can become focused on school and electronics while parents can become focused on work. Families can find that, although they have spent the entire day in the same living space, they have not actually spent any quality time together. It is important for parents to schedule a set time every day to unplug from electronics and bond with their children. Consider spending an hour after dinner every day playing board games as a family or working together on a puzzle. Use the time to talk to each other and gauge how your children are coping with life during the pandemic. If you make family time a daily routine, your family will grow closer, and your children will feel supported throughout the pandemic.
With Covid spreading through the population, there is a temptation to stay inside and avoid the outdoors. While social distancing is recommended, it is important for children and families to stay active. Parenting during the pandemic means paying extra attention to your child’s physical health and wellbeing. When the weather is nice, that might mean taking the children out for a walk or bicycling through the neighborhood. When the weather is temperamental, that might mean staying in the living room and dancing along with a Zumba video on YouTube. There are many different ways to stay active while being safe. Find ways that work for your family and make exercise a part of your children’s daily routine.
Schedule online playdates
If your children are older, they are probably able to stay in touch with their friends and classmates through social media. However, if your children are younger, they may be craving connection with other children their own age. If you are uncomfortable having your child meet up with friends for in-person playdates, consider scheduling online playdates. Reach out to other parents in your child’s class and see if they would like to schedule online meetings where your children can talk and play with each other for a half an hour once or twice a week. You may be surprised to find that other parents are looking for ways to help their children maintain their friendships with their classmates in a safe environment as well. Many parents will welcome the idea of online playdates. This will help your child in maintaining their friendships and developing their social skills. It will also help to facilitate a smooth transition back to in-person playdates when life regains some type of normalcy.
Encourage new hobbies
While developing and maintaining routines is essential, now is the perfect time to encourage children to try something new. If your child is at home and has extra time in their schedule, encourage them to develop new skills and explore new interests. This is the time for them to learn a new language, play a new instrument, or try their hand at needlework. There are many websites that offer online classes for children on a variety of subjects. Consider signing your child up for an online class or contact your local library to inquire about available resources. With the right encouragement from you, your child will come through the pandemic as a well-rounded individual with various new skills and a newly built confidence.
Parenting during the pandemic comes with a unique set of challenges and a whole lot of uncertainty. We can provide structure and stability for our children during these uncertain times by maintaining routines in our homes, creating opportunities for safe social engagement, and encouraging our children to challenge themselves and chase new dreams.