Not everyone learns effectively online, but unfortunately, it seems to be the only way to continue education until COVID-19 is successfully eradicated from the country. Aside from waiting for schools to open back up, parents can only support their children through online learning-especially when it comes to their adolescents.
Children of all ages lost their external structure and peer network when the schools closed down. But for teens who constantly want to explore their identities, increase their independence, and are generally more aware of what’s going on in the world, being expected to learn while cooped up inside the house can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining.
That said, how can you help your teen through this difficult time? Here are the best ways to support them with online schooling and other aspects of their life in quarantine.
Refrain from setting high expectations
Every parent wants their child to do their best, but right now, your teen’s average grades might be them at their absolute best. Were their grades better pre-pandemic? Probably, but as we’ve said, not everyone can learn effectively in front of a screen.
With that in mind, it’s best if you avoid setting high and unrealistic expectations for your child, especially not during a pandemic. Online learning for SHS students and JHS students is not as easy as it looks, even though they are basically sitting in front of a computer all day. So, sit down with your child, encourage them to do their best, but let them know that you do not expect them to perform as well as they did before the pandemic. Children don’t want to fail intentionally, and doing this will not “encourage” them to let their grades drop.
One thing worse than having to sit down in front of a computer all day is to have to be distracted while doing it. Children learn best when they can maintain focus on the task at hand, whether listening to the Zoom class or doing an assignment. Hence, the younger sibling asking them to play or the loud banging of pots and pans in the kitchen won’t help them learn as effectively as possible in this kind of set-up.
To limit distractions for your high school student at home, here are some things that you can do:
- Forbid other siblings from going near the study area while your child is working
- Dedicate an area for their school work, preferably in a quiet and isolated part of the house
- Avoid talking to them while they are studying unless it is important
- Turn down the volume of the TV, radio, or other noise-making electronics while class is in session
- Encourage other family members to keep quiet while your child is working
- Block outside noise from entering their room or study area; alternatively, you can give them a pair of noise-cancelling headphones
Encourage mental breaks
Paying attention to your teen’s mental health is always important, but it’s crucial now more than ever. The combination of online school, isolation from friends, the inability to go outside, and the tragedies happening worldwide are enough to put anyone into a state of anxiety and depression. Even if your child does not show any signs of such, it is still important to check in on them from time to time.
Aside from that, encouraging mental breaks is a great way to help take care of your child’s mental health. Teach them that it’s okay to take a break if they feel stressed, anxious, sad, or generally “out of it.” We all need a mental break every once in a while, your child even more so.
Support hobbies and interests
Children have a life outside of school, but when it comes to online learning, they may feel trapped in an endless cycle of school and not much else. They can’t play outside, meet with friends, go to places they love to hang out. As a result, your child may not be as motivated to learn as they were before the pandemic.
To help your teen feel “unstuck,” encourage them to spend time with hobbies and interests, be it playing music, reading books, or spending time with their craft. It doesn’t have to be anything particularly productive. As long as they find joy in it, allow them to spend their free time on it and remember to be supportive.
Even if your child seems to be coping well with online school, it pays to be a vigilant parent. With these tips, you can show your support and help your child succeed in an online school, even if “success” means getting passing grades on their report card.