How parents can establish rules and goals for kids learning online?
The pandemic taught us to always be prepared – students and parents now must be ready to move learning online at a moment’s notice. Some families are even choosing virtual schools permanently. Whichever situation describes your family, you’ll want to give your kids their best chance at success.
Unless you went to school for education, odds are good you don’t know the first thing about running a classroom. However, you do have experience as a parent. Many of the skills overlap, including establishing rules and helping your kids set goals. We’ve rounded up some helpful tips for combining your parental expertise with teacher know-how to set the tone for a great school year.
7 rules to set for kids learning online
Kids thrive on consistency. As a parent and unofficial co-teacher, it’s your job to establish healthy boundaries surrounding the virtual school day.
Before starting the school year, have your kids help you create some rules and discuss your goals for virtual learning. While every child has unique needs, some things are relatively universal.
Set limits on non-school screen time
Online teachers do their best to limit the time kids need to be on the computer, especially elementary students. However, the realities of virtual learning necessitate spending large chunks of time online. Adding up school and free time equals a significant portion of the day spent on technology.
If your children struggle with headaches, dry eyes, eye pain, or poor sleep, they may be spending too long on screens. Combat eye strain and screen fatigue by limiting their time on technology outside of school.
Attending school at home brings a whole new set of distractions. Your kids need to listen to their lessons, but they can see their toys nearby. Older kids are drawn in by their phones and social media. All this multitasking reduces their ability to process new information and connect with the material.
Create goals for your children not to multitask during school hours because the lesson needs their entire focus. If possible, create your school set up in an area where you can’t see toys and have a “no phones in the ‘classroom’” rule. With fewer distractions, your kids can prioritize their schoolwork and learn from it better.
Make time for exercise
Sitting at a desk all day isn’t good for anyone, including your still-developing kids. Set timers to go off at intervals to remind everyone to get up and move for a bit. Depending on their schedules, you can block out some time after lunch or mid-morning for a family walk or playtime in the yard.
One significant benefit of virtual school is that it offers a better school-life balance where you can make things like exercise a priority and change up your daily schedule to best meet your kids’ individual needs.
Start and end the day with a check-in
A morning check-in is a perfect time to chat with kids about their goals for the day. You can also ensure they have all the supplies they need to succeed. If the day will bring any challenges or interruptions you know of, now is an excellent time to discuss those as well. Save enough time in the morning to go over their planner or schedule to encourage good organization and online learning habits.
At the end of the day, you can check in on what they learned, what their favorite part of school was, and talk about how they worked toward their goal. While these check-ins can be a great way to stay involved in your kids’ schooling, you want to avoid letting them become mini-interrogations. These chats should prioritize connection and growth.
Keep learning out of the bedroom
While the bedroom may seem like an ideal quiet haven, it should be only a last resort for school work for three main reasons.
First, your kids’ bedrooms are probably full of toys and fun technology begging for attention. Also, your children are more likely to feel they can get away with being distracted from school when they’re tucked away in their rooms. You can’t monitor them as easily or frequently.
Finally, working in their rooms can be detrimental to your child’s sleep. They need to associate their beds with sleep. If they consistently sit on their beds for online learning, their brains will get the message that their bed is for more than just sleep. When they lie down at night, they’ll have a harder time transitioning to sleep since their brain knows it’s not the only thing that happens there.
Have a consistent schedule
The world is a crazy place full of uncertainty, even for your kids. Routines help them feel safe and secure. Even though they may not love being dragged out of bed at the same time each morning, they’ll appreciate it when they’re done for the day in the early afternoon instead of schoolwork dragging into supper time.
Before the start of the school year, make some rules about a new routine. You should establish start and stop times along with how you’ll handle breaks and lunch.
Your kids can succeed online
Online learning can be difficult for parents and students alike, but it can also be an incredibly rewarding experience. Give your kids some control in setting rules and expectations to encourage buy-in and help them establish some goals for the year to prompt growth. With the right preparation, your kids can learn much and finish another successful school year.