Without any doubt, pandemic parenting is a challenge. The stress extends beyond keeping your kids safe from the virus, and there is much more you have to deal with. You have to keep them happily engaged indoors because it is the safest place right now. Education is a more critical concern as the pandemic shouldn’t stop learning. Fortunately, schools and universities have devised a hybrid model that offers learning continuity as things go on and off.
While this mix of online and offline education keeps education systems on track, learners face several challenges. The frequent switches between the learning modes get overwhelming for kids and even older students. Additionally, study-from-home has implications similar to work-from-home. Children can feel stressed, drained, and isolated sooner or later. As a parent, you must do your bit to help your kid handle these challenges. Here are some actionable ideas you can try.
Parental calmness is the key
Staying calm should be on top of your mind because your stress can easily affect your kids. See the situation in a positive light because everything about the hybrid model isn’t depressing. The silver lining is that there aren’t any disruptions in the academic year, and children are learning in safe environments. Gather information about your school’s hybrid plan because it will make you feel more in control. Discuss the upsides of the learning model with your child and listen to their challenges as well. Clarify their doubts and explain the safety precautions they need to take when they attend physical classes. A calm and composed attitude will make your children feel less apprehensive about the new normal of schooling.
Structure their home learning environment
When kids study at home, there are possibilities of countless distractions. Younger siblings and pets top the list of distractions, but students have much more to deal with. A lack of structure in the home learning environment can be stressful. Ensure that you provide a dedicated study area in a quiet corner of the house. An ergonomic setup will keep the child in the right posture and prevent fatigue. A reliable internet connection is another thing they require to study without disruptions. Small things such as planning a schedule and serving healthy snacks to your child can make a difference.
Ensure that the child is technically-equipped
Hybrid learning is all about technology, specifically the online part. Does your child have the right tools and techs needed to participate in virtual learning? Do they have a device that offers all the functions essential for online learning? Are they comfortable with using these devices, tools, and software? Is the school doing its bit with technology implementation? Perform a careful assessment of tech challenges and needs and ensure that your child is fully equipped for them. Connect with the institution’s IT department if you expect better from them. The right technology can help kids overcome barriers at home and keep pace with learning at school.
Provide extra help where needed
Even the best students and best teachers can go wrong with the hybrid learning model. The situation is unprecedented, and gaps will be there because it is new for everyone. Expect your child to face some issues with practical subjects like Maths, which require extensive practice. You can provide extra help by enrolling the child for Online Math Tutoring to cover the gaps. Although it will be the same model, specialized classes offer personalized attention for your child. Look for a reliable tutor with good experience in online teaching. Extra help can boost the confidence of your child.
Prioritize rest breaks
With hybrid learning, the learner seldom gets breaks from study. The isolation of studying at home can make things even worse. Long hours in front of computer screens can easily sap the energy of your child. It can impair eyesight and make them feel physically tired and mentally stressed. Ensure that movement breaks are a part of the study schedule. Encourage the child to stretch after every hour. They can join siblings for a fun activity during break time. Make sure that they indulge in physical play rather than a game on their computer or cell phone.
Help the child connect with peers
Social distancing is perhaps the worst impact of the pandemic. Whether your child goes to school or studies at home, they are bound to feel cut off from peers. Even at school, they will have to maintain a safe distance. Helping the child to connect with peers is a good idea. Connect with fellow parents and form an online community where children can interact and socialize. They can get together for academic help or simply have a good time as if they were together in person. Ensure that this community is a safe place without any threats like bullying and harassment. Keeping track of the time kids spend here is also important.
Stay in touch with teachers
Although the hybrid model has been devised with all good intentions, it may not work for everyone. Some students handle the challenges easily, while others find it too daunting to cope up with. Teachers are in the best position to judge the learning style of each student. You can trust them for their inputs. As a parent, you must stay in constant touch with the teachers and understand where your child is struggling. At times, they may need an extra push, and parents and teachers must collaborate to provide it. In some cases, a little motivation is enough to help the child conquer their fears and align with the new approach. Talk to the teachers regularly and keep track of the child’s progress. Discuss the options with them, and don’t hesitate to ask for help.
The final piece of advice is to be empathic and not burden the child with unrealistic expectations. Let them learn at their own pace and focus on the learning rather than grades. Do your bit to make hybrid learning a new and exciting opportunity for the child, and they will take things in a stride.