With COVID-19 numbers still high everywhere in the country, and in-person learning for kids being delayed, distance learning is the new back-to-school reality we faced in the last couple of months.
As parents, you probably have many questions flying about in your head— ensuring your kids stay engaged and learning this school year; I know I do.
Gaining new skills is rewarding and fun, but the process of learning can be challenging. What's more, distance school education provides an opportunity for distraction.
Distance learning for children is not always ideal. In fact, many kids don't do well in it. They find it difficult to focus, and they feel unmotivated.
For several working parents, online distant learning has become synonymous with stress. We were all stressed out when schools suddenly closed, and kids had to start their learning at home.
Even teachers were thrust into uncharted waters, and it was a bumpy ride for everyone. Online classes were to blame, but it doesn't have to continue like that.
When your child is motivated, they can learn well. Online or offline— the medium doesn't matter.
So why are our children unmotivated in online classes? And how do we get them to be motivated again?
The answer to that first question is a simple one. At home, children have many other non-digital distractions. And often few or no alternatives to help students refocus, and no built-in breaks like the recesses at school.
But, the good news here is that parents help them!
Education research has revealed a few simple tips and tactics parents can use to keep their children engaged.
Before we get started,
Remember that you need to be supportive rather than annoyed when your child is not motivated to learn.
To motivate them is to bring their dopamine levels to a healthy place. Being accusatory does not help accomplish that, but being supportive definitely will offer them motivation in the classroom.
Sit with your children and help them identify the sources of their stress and encourage them to talk about it. Because becoming aware of the stress is the first step in managing it.
Concentrating on what really needs to get done, doing an excellent job at it and being mindful of their social and emotional well-being will be what helps them get through this.
The teachers during pandemic can also help by exploring new ways to make home learning kids engaging by using easy and fun ed-tech tools. Getting motivation for teachers is just as important as encouraging kids and assisting parents through these times.
8 ways for motivating learners through online education for children:
Give them routine and structure
Sticking to a schedule gives the stability your kid needs to keep their eyes on the prize (i.e. learning new things!). Plus, it limits their instincts for going rogue. When their expectations are set, it is more likely they will be reached.
Establish friendly accountability
Sometimes parent motivation might not help your kid, but a push from their friends might help! Suggest setting daily check-ins with their friends over texts or on calls. This can help your kids realize they're not alone and give them a tangible reason to want to study.
Experiment a little
If your child is struggling with reading a book, give them an audiobook or read to them aloud. If mathematics is "too boring," try solving the problems on a whiteboard or out in the garden. A simple change in scenery can also do wonders for your child's motivation.
Break up their day
Let the children have a slower-paced morning and do their studying after lunch, for example. But make this agreement in advance, decide mutually— "If you take the morning off, you will have to get the schoolwork done before getting to play with your friends later today."
Change up the timings a little
There's no magic in the hours between 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. That's simply when everyone is used to school happening. So, there's really no harm in testing out different times of the day for studying.
Mark the occasion
Give your kids something they can look forward to— some motivational activities for students. You can plan a small celebration, like a virtual picnic or a Zoom dance party. Or give them a family movie night as a reward as both incentive and a break.
Let them see their progress
Have a calendar or some other visual to mark things so they can SEE all that they've achieved and how much more is left.
Do an activity related to their lessons
Build upon what they're learning in their eLearning for schools. If the kids are learning about our solar system, the two of you can together map the night sky with an astronomy app.
Offering motivation for children to learn better in online classes is not that hard if parents can let go of their own security and support them to flourish in their own ways.
You can even find motivational classes for students to get your kids to learn with enthusiasm.
Try stepping out of your own comfort zone to offer your kids new and exciting ways to learn both in and outside of their online classes. Basically, be willing to learn with them as you go forward, and you will see them follow your inspiration and be actually excited to learn!