Is your child having an online school fatigue? How can you better support your child?
Friends, let’s face the fact. In today’s time of having classes behind two dimensions of screen, it is difficult for children to keep the enthusiasm to the same level as in the traditional set up. The initial euphoria of seeing other children and teachers behind a screen, has drained off, and an overall dullness of being in a one sided lecture has set in (esp. for children below 12 years of age). However as long as your child is more or less ok with the classes, it is advisable to continue with the same, for it brings predictability to otherwise broken routine. For children less than 12 years, a reminder may be required for their classes. Don’t nag, just a polite reminder and leave it at that.
As a parent, keeping a few high levels of structure can help the child to make the best out of this mode of academics.
(i) Fixed sleep time: For days when there is a school, it is advisable to have the lights off aiming at 9 hours of sleep for the child. Let the child wake up earlier (instead of sleeping late) if the child thinks the body needs less sleep.
(ii) Morning ritual: Unless it is one of those days when you as well as the child dozed off beyond the alarm (even then be kind to yourself and your child, and be ready to re-prioritize. It builds flexibility in the child and a sense of what is urgent and what is important)…try having an expectation of morning rituals like brush, bath and breakfast. Let the child go around and look for the device that the child is expected to use for online mode. Resist from offering your help for chargers et all. Have at least 30 to 45minutes in the morning based on the age of the child for this. Or night time planning (the way child would have gone through the whole bag and school dress arrangements in the traditional set up). A child over 8 years of age is good to make his or her own bed too. Having expectations helps a child to keep looking forward to small dosages of achievements. All throughout, be supportive instead of nagging or critical.
(iii) Have two rules for passive screen based entertainment during and before the school hours.
a. If there is a break of less than one hour between two subsequent classes, the child should delay the passive screen based entertainment to post completion of school time. This is the way it would have worked, had the child gone to the school, isn’t it? The constant switching between external passive entertainment and internal active learning entails heavy use of the brain. The transition is tough as well. It is rather better if the child closes the device and moves around between the classes. For older children if they wish to catch up with assignments, it is ok as it is interactive. Be clear that if the child switches to youtube videos or video games during the classes, the child will lose the right to continue for that particular class and is expected to read the rest of it on his or her own. This is a fair expectation and augurs with natural consequences.
b. Unless the school is starting after 1pm, avoid the routine of the child starting the day with a passive screen based entertainment. Here doing assignments or using screens for educational purposes or to attend classes of any kind (music,dance etc) is not included. Have a rule of pushing the entertainment post school classes.
Now as we know it is tough to be as motivated for the online classes as it would have been for traditional set up, show empathy and give freedom for the days when the child simply doesn’t wish to sit for some of the classes (let it not be driven by you though, like ok, it is the 15 thAug celebrations or a special assembly online, it is alright if you skip it. Schools are much more than academics… that is the thought we wish the child grows up with). For the missed classes encourage the child to find out what is being taught and cover it up on his or her own. You could also coordinate with school for a recording of the topic. Remember the whole online schooling is new for the schools as well. They were as unprepared for this mode as you or your child was. A feedback from parents can give them ideas to make it more user friendly with the child being overseen by the parents instead of the teachers now.
Another point here, immaterial of whether the child attends or skips the classes, let the basic rules stay the same i..e no screen based entertainment before school time is over. This would help the child to build alternative modes of self stimulation even if skipping the school.
Finally believe that the child will learn and grow. Let your actions not be led by a worry about the future — Will my child fall out of the habit of sitting in the school in proper posture and taking notes as the school demands? Rest assured that with the adaptability that young children have, they may at max take about two to three weeks of time to settle down in the old routine back.
I hope with this you are able to derive your own insights here on the topic. Feel free to reach out to me for your child’s behavior related questions or concerns. With children, the earlier the intervention….the better it is.
Originally published at http://kirantevtiya.wordpress.com on November 21, 2020.