Here are some helpful tips to make the learning environment less stressful for everyone and help our children have a positive educational experience and a successful year.
Make a space – Create a special place in the corner of a room dedicated to learning, creating and reading.
Set a routine – Use a planner, calendar or chalkboard to help children create structure so that they know what is expected of them.
Have them follow a daily consistent routine.
Set up times for breaks.
Review expectations – Sit down with your child and review what subjects they will be working on a weekly basis and discuss the weekly assignments they will be expected to to complete.
Set up expectations of your own. Designate a time where your child should avoid interrupting you. Find out what the child would like to do in his downtime such as reading, creating crafts and playing games.
Fill out the digital learning pledge with your child to clarify expectations of daily/weekly tasks the child is responsible for.
You can also co-create an agreement with your tween or teen that is tailored to their specific program.
If the children are sharing devices with other siblings, specify when and where they will be using them.
Children will find it difficult to stay focused. Use non-verbal signals to let them know they have to return to work.
Seek assistance from other family members to keep an eye on the children especially if they are in another room from you. Children will be least distracted if they are supervised. Eliminate any toys that may distract them.
Discuss with your child the connection between their bodies and brains. What happens when they are feeling frustrated, excited or sad will affect how they sleep and their job performance. It is important for children to be able to talk freely about their emotions.
Keep other devices such as phones and games away from their work area.
Encouraging Ownership & Effort
Follow kids’ interests and get input. Allow children to fill in the gaps during the day by reading and exploring new subjects such as creating science experiments, exploring historical events .
Find out from your child what subjects he finds interesting and difficult. Explore the idea of which subjects should be done first. Should be the most difficult ones first be completed first and then the easy ones next? Or vice versa. If you are allowing the child to make that decision, check with him to see if that method is working.
Model your day with positive reinforcement for your children with kindness.
Give detailed praise.
Compliment your child’s work by discussing his progress. Have they tried a new way of approaching an assignment?
Find ways to motivate children to discover subjects they might not be interested in. For instance, they might like sports but do not like to read. Graphic novels can spark an interest in sports and many other subjects. Libraries can provide graphic novels for reluctant readers of all ages.
Presentation is everything
Discover ways to make teaching enjoyable and fun. Use pieces of cereal for math problems. Have children eat cereal as they solve the problem. Create a contest of throwing clothes into the right pile by dividing them by color or items.
Teens will display “bad attitude” when frustrated and mask insecurities if they feel that they cannot solve a problem. Stay calm and talk through the situation by remaining calm and showing a sense of humor.
Making Room for Well-Being
Discourage your child from saying negative things about herself. Encourage self-kindness by asking your child what he would say to a friend who is feeling bad.
As parents, we may feel that we are being negative also. Ask yourself the same question, what would you say to your friend if she was feeling down also.
Get Help when you need it
There will be times when you will need additional support to help your child. Think about other family members that could lend assistance with your child and get through a difficult homework battle. That person could be a friend, a family member or a high school/college student.
Contact your child’s school and express the positive aspects of the educational process. Let them know what is not working and how you can get the help you need for your child.
Use movement and humor
Use physical activity to lift your spirits and refresh your mind. Try dancing or walking around the block to regain your energy and spirit. Say silly jokes to family members or come up with crazy ways to answer your children’s questions. They will love correcting you and laughing!