With the COVID-19 pandemic still continuing, the schools are opting out for going online for the next academic year. As the announcement came from the government about online schooling, more and more parents are getting concerned about the feasibility and the amount of work that would fall on them.
For the elder children, joining the online classes and keeping up with the syllabus can be an easy task, but what about the toddlers and the younger children? Do they really need online schooling? Can’t they just be with their parents and learn some stuff. Well, that’s another topic for discussion, in a separate blog post. But today, I just want to share with you my experience in training my seven-year-old boy to take up the online schooling work.
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Form a routine and follow it
Please check with the school about the online classes schedule and formulate a routine based on the schedule. Treat it like a normal school going day and prepare the kid upfront for the same. Ensure that your kid gets up, showers, and finishes his breakfast before he joins the online classes. It will not look good if he/she joins the class in his/her pajamas.
Setup a dedicated space
Set up a dedicated space with one of the gadgets in which your child is going to attend the online schooling. It can be a mobile, tablet, or your lap/desktop. Let that place be your kid’s school area, and he would study there without any distractions. Keep that place free of toys and other distracting material. Keep some free space for the child to move around and pick things.
Minimize the distractions during the online sessions
During the online classes, please ensure that there are no distractions either from the people or pets in the house or from the various apps in the gadgets. As younger children tend to get distracted easily, remove all the distractions on the gadgets too. Let them concentrate on the online classes and learn, instead of fiddling with something or talking to someone.
Resist the urge to join the classes along with your kid
Online schooling is your kid’s virtual school. So please don’t join your child’s meetings with their teachers (/instructors). You are not invited there. Teach the kid earlier itself as to how to unmute and mute the microphone, so that he/she can operate the gadget on their own, without your help. Let the teacher handle the kid and give the instructions without any interventions.
Also, follow the Old School route
Now that the child is attending the online schooling through the gadgets, limit his screen time at home. You can have the fun through the traditional board games or some craft/art related activities. We can use the Children’s column in the Newspaper’s to pique the interest on reading for the child. It would be a good idea to bond over reading Newspaper and solving those puzzles with the child. My kid loves playing scrabble or the carrom board with me during the famous hot sultry afternoons of Chennai. Its easy to plan some fun activity with the child based on his interests with in the confines of the house. We just have to follow the child regarding this.
Schedule some physical activity too
Please ensure that sufficient physical activity is planned for the kids, as they are going to miss playing with their friends in the school. This physical activity could very well turn out as the bonding time for the family. My kid, and I love to play shuttle badminton or cricket together in the evenings and that’s our special time, which we don’t want to miss.
With these simple commonsense ideas, please try to limit the screen time for the kids. As we all know the adverse effects of too much time spent on the gadgets for the younger kids. So as a parent, it falls onto us to use this Online Schooling in a way, that’s only beneficial for the child rather than having adverse effects. Please let me know how you are preparing your child for the forthcoming Online Schooling season.