The year 2020 transformed lives at home and business for literally every human across the globe. New normals are being defined in all aspects of life: working for the office, purchasing home supplies, hobbies & education for children, consulting a doctor, etc. With the internet becoming ubiquitous and devices built around it, technology dictates our lives in many ways. The high risks associated with children physically attending classes, where chances of maintaining social distancing are nil, online classes is the ONLY mode of education in the short term.
The kid’s ability to rapidly adapt himself or herself to new technology, and new ways of doing things is easy. Millions of kids have already transitioned into this very well. In this new normal, parenting methods are also evolving. Parenting is a lifelong journey, with every day being a new one to adapt to new realities of life situations. Here I touch on this new aspect of ways to ensure that their children make efficient and productive use of online learning as a way of life.
Parenting Dos for children’s online classes
- Build a conducive atmosphere for the child to attend classes. Assist the child to “get ready” for the class by running all the usual morning routines, including wearing uniform and grooming to get a sense of seriousness. The routines done before the online class days should be followed now too.
- Ensure everything that the child needs during the class is available and placed next to him/her. The child should not ‘leave’ the class to get stationary or books in the middle of a session – maybe have them keep the school bag ready with everything needed for the day.
- Become familiar with online meeting platforms like Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams. The child will, at times, need technical assistance with joining the class. It will be good to know all the features beforehand rather than while firefighting a disconnection situation. See useful tips to optimize internet speeds here.
- Provide the child with appropriate infrastructure to attend a class like a chair with a comfortable seating posture, uninterrupted internet connection, writing table of the right height, etc. The child should not get distracted dealing with such matters to ensure that their productive time with a teacher is time well spent.
- Just because the child is at home, they may not realize the time when class is starting. Parents should ensure that children join the online class on time, just like they would if they were in school.
Parenting Donts for children’s online classes
- Don’t let the child eat food while attending class. Eating and getting distracted during the class does not allow the child to concentrate on what is going on in class and will also be inappropriate for a class. A bottle of water within reach of the child should suffice.
- Don’t attend the class along with the child. This usually puts pressure on the child and the teacher, which inhibits the learning process. When the teacher asks the child a question and the parent is tempted to prompt an answer to help.
- Don’t interrupt the class and speak to the teacher unless specifically asked to do so. If there is any genuine need to interact with the teacher, it is best done after it is completed. In case the child doesn’t seem to have understood what is being taught, it’s best to encourage the child to ask the question himself/herself.
- Don’t allow the child to become part of unrelated discussions at home while in the middle of a class. Being physically at home, one tends to take the liberty of asking or checking certain matters with the child during the class session. This should be avoided totally.
- Don’t allow the child to play with other mobile or laptop features and apps. A child getting the license to use an electronic gadget can lead to unintended consequences if left unattended for a long time. A parent cannot assume the teacher is monitoring all children in the online class. The parent should keep tabs on the child to make sure they don’t go astray.
These are trying times, and this mode of education will be largely prevalent in the short term. In the long term, too, in some ways, this way of life will become a practice for students to get access to experts from across the globe. Education for special skills or additional coaching or continuing education will no longer be constrained by location, and online distance education will be here to stay in some form or fashion.
While the above is a good set of thinking points for a parent to ponder, I am sure you will have something unique to your situation. Feel free to leave a comment on what worked well for you or if you’d like to share any specific precautions with other parents.