Covid-19 has put a spin on everyone's lifestyle. We all practice social distancing. Many of us who have the option to telecommute, work from home. Kids listen to parents' conference calls sometimes and observe their work-life. Take your children to work day is well, every day!
Children are no longer going to school. The classroom is coming home. There's no reason to wake up the kid in wee hours to get ready for school. The kids can sleep in a bit longer, get ready, and be in their classroom without leaving the house. With the entire family staying at home, there are more shared experiences.
As we all spend more time online to accomplish our work or education, how can you help your children to study from home successfully? We share some tips to win your gold star for setting up your kid for success!
Before school starts##
Preparation is the key to success. Make sure each one of your children has a dedicated space. If they are in the same room, they are likely to distract each other. If you are working, then keep your office space away from their school space. Sound travels. Even if you are using a headset, when you speak, you may be distracting the ones near you. Keeping some distance between the children and your office will help you all to be more productive.
Take ergonomics matters seriously. Ensure that the keyboard, mouse, and monitor are at correct heights. Laptops are not ergonomic. Bent neck posture can quickly become, well a pain in the neck. Get the right furniture or workaround by elevating the monitor with old books or boxes.
Ensure there's good bandwidth for all of you to be on video calls. With video calls being the norm these days, two parents and children can quickly eat up the bandwidth. Upgrade your internet plan if you need to so that you can all have a smooth experience for work or education.
First day of school##
Take the day off to help the children get oriented with software and technology. Keep in mind that there's no school and there's no teacher with your child to help them get started. Your role is changing from dropping off the kids at school to helping them with the new classroom setting. Help your children to settle in the new environment
Water: Ensure that the children stay hydrated. Give them a bottle of drinking water and refill as needed.
Teach the children to take breaks from their seats. Ask them to get up and stand for a min every hour at a minimum. Ideally, it will be nice to do this every 30 mins and add a small stretch. Encourage them to get some fresh air during breaks, open the window, get to the balcony, or even a short trip to the backyard. A change of scenery resets the mind.
Teach the children the 20/20/20 rule for eyes. Every 20 mins, take a 20-second break from the monitor and look 20 feet away. Show them how far is 20 yards and teach them how to look for away. Remind them to blink frequently.
Staring at the blue light on the screen for long hours can be tiring on the eyes. Consider ways for filtering this light including putting a screen on the monitor or yellow glasses.
Share stories about your days with the children. They are going through a new experience - a different kind of shared experience with their peers. Listen about how their new online learning experience is, ask about what worked and what doesn't.
Not all children may be able to articulate things well. Probe with the right open ended-questions and make adjustments as needed. For example, the keyboard tray might be 1 inch too tall or the audio quality might be poor.
Be the facilitator##
Supplement online learning with other reading material. Connect with other parents and see how they are handling the situation, what works for them, and what doesn't in the new online experience. If your child is having difficulty, someone else may be too. Once you discover a pattern, you can work with the teacher to address them.
Ask the children to use paper, physical books, rather than gadgets. This will help to reduce screen time.
Go to the parks in the evening and give them some time to play safely. Otherwise, children are at home all day. Physical activity changes the hormones and helps with good mental health.
Arrange video sessions with friends after class hours to share their experiences and learn from each other. While this is adding video on top of video, it still allows them to see their friends and socialize, something that a classroom environment provides.
We are all living in a changing environment and we have to adapt to the new norm. Until Covid-19 is under control and we can return to the world the way it used to be, life is different. It offers an opportunity to be together, work, and study - all from home. It's a great shared experience for the family. You can even enjoy lunch together. We see this as an opportunity for the family to bond more.
The home has evolved. It has become many things to many people now - it's an office, it's a school. No matter what purpose your home is serving today, it is still a place for fun, relaxation, and a sanctuary of love and safety.
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