Have you been wondering how to make online learning better for your child? If the answer is “yes” then you’re not alone.
This school year is gearing up to be unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Parents, students, and teachers are navigating major unknowns. And school reopening plans in many regions change daily.
Lots of schools are still forming reopening plans. Some are experimenting with hybrid learning. And many are conducting classes entirely online.
For kids, online learning presents a whole new set of challenges. It’s harder to get personalized assistance from teachers. It’s more difficult to manage assignments and meet deadlines. And it takes extra effort to stay motivated.
As a parent, how can you make online learning better for your child? In a time when so much of education is virtual, how can you ensure your child is thriving academically, staying socially connected, and also experiencing the joy of learning?
Wondering How to Make Online Learning Better for Your Child?
Let’s take a look at some ways you can help your child adapt to this new, virtual school year.
1. Connect With Teachers
This school year isn’t only hard on families, it’s challenging for educators, too. It’s harder than ever for teachers to give personalized instruction to each of their students.
Start this year right by opening a dialogue with your child’s educators. Stay involved, ask questions, and make sure your child’s teachers know right away if there’s a subject your child is struggling with.
Making a quick phone call or sending a brief introductory email is a great, simple way to get the conversation going.
2. Prioritize Time Management
Create a structured learning schedule. This way, your child knows exactly when they need to be in class or doing schoolwork.
Developing a habit around learning will help your child understand that learning time is non-negotiable. Even better, it will give your child a feeling of predictability and safety.
3. Maintain Strategies to Cope With Stress
The constant unknowns that come with a global pandemic aren’t just stressful for adults. They can cause stress for kids, too.
When people experience stress, the body releases a hormone called cortisol. Prolonged, high levels of cortisol can interfere with attention and memory functions. And this makes it increasingly hard for children to learn. The great news is, there’s a hormone called oxytocin that can actually combat cortisol’s harmful effects.
“Oxytocin hits the same structures of the brain as cortisol,” says M.D., Pamela Cantor, “yet oxytocin is more powerful because it can protect children at the cellular level,”
So, how can you lower your child’s stress levels by getting some more oxytocin in their life?
“Relationships that are strong and positive cause oxytocin’s release, which helps produce feelings of trust, love, attachment, and safety,” Cantor says, “This not only helps children manage stress, but also offsets the damaging effects of cortisol and produces resilience to future stress.”
4. Keep Relationships Intact
Connections with teachers, friends, and family are a powerful tool for lowering stress, and keeping your child engaged with their schoolwork.
Make sure your children are connected with their friends through Zoom calls or distance play dates, and keep channels of communication open with extended family.
Look into finding an online tutor who can work one-on-one with your child on specific skills, or find a mentor who can boost your child’s confidence in a field that interests them. Set your child up with a pen pal, and schedule time each week to write letters and share experiences with a child living in another country.
Filling your child’s life with personal connections, real friendships, and loving family will help create a feeling of safety, and that feeling will help your child focus on their learning.
5. Enrich Your Learning Environment
Online learning can be a powerful resource, but it’s not a real replacement for the magic of in-person education.
Enrich your child’s online learning experience with activities outside of their traditional schoolwork. Turn on podcasts that spark their interest, set up a hands-on science experiment, and keep art supplies on-hand.
Education Reimagined’s Distance Learning Resource Center offers an amazing number of online education resources, ideas, books, videos, and links to help parents enrich their family’s learning environments.
6. Remember, Play is Essential to Learning
When your child is at play, they’re not simply wasting time. They’re learning about the world we live in, developing cognitive and physical skills, working through emotions, conquering fears, and discovering their interests.
“Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength,” points out the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Play is important to healthy brain development. It is through play that children at a very early age engage interact with the world around them.”
You can take part in your child’s playtime, but remember to let your child take the lead, “when play is allowed to be child driven, children practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, discover their own areas of interest, and ultimately engage fully in the passions they wish to pursue.”
Give your child the benefit of playtime, so they can tap into their deepest and most impactful learning experience.
7. Keep it Physical
Studies show that regular bouts of physical activity actually help kids focus on their schoolwork.
Take a morning bike ride, let your child run around outside, or if outdoors isn’t an option, take time to work physical activity into your indoor environment by taking a yoga or dance class.
Being physical will enhance your child’s ability to focus when they’re in class and doing schoolwork.
8. Find an Online Tutor
Virtual learning is different than in-person learning, and it’s much harder for a teacher to provide the kind of one-on-one support they would in the classroom.
Tutors provide individual guidance, ongoing encouragement, and learning that’s customized to your child’s pace and style.
Finding a tutor for your child can help them build confidence and become empowered in subjects where they may be struggling. And tutoring can also further your child’s knowledge in subjects they’re passionate about.
9. Be There for Your Child
Online learning is a real adjustment, and whether they’re in first grade or high school, your child needs you to be involved.
Be there to answer questions, help overcome challenges, connect with teachers, troubleshoot technical glitches, provide resources that support their social life, and also give them positive feedback and encouragement.
At any age, kids will benefit from the fact that you’re on their side, giving the love and support they need to thrive in their education.
10. Get Free Support from TakeLessons
At TakeLessons, we’re making it a priority to provide support during this virtual school year. This week, we’re offering free, online tutoring in math and reading from TakeLessons’ top educators. Students from kindergarten to first grade can ask questions, get personalized assistance, and kick off the virtual school year right with this interactive opportunity.
This learning-filled week is designed to build momentum behind the new school year, giving kids the empowerment, confidence, and support they need to thrive academically.
Sign up for these free tutoring lessons today to make back to school fun, rewarding, and exciting!
Remember, We’re All in This Together!
If you’re wondering how to make online learning better for your child, you’re in good company.
Online learning is hard. It’s more difficult to connect with your child’s educators. Challenging to keep your child engaged. And it can feel overwhelming to take on the responsibility of your child’s education at home.
Try the 10 tips above to spark your child’s love of learning. These steps will keep them tackling their schoolwork, and make their online learning experience better than ever.