Families are struggling with remote learning right now. Many have hit the proverbial wall and feel that there is no relief in sight. As hard as it is on parents, we must keep in mind that children are struggling too. Their world has been turned upside down. However, all is not lost. Students CAN learn online, even if it is inconvenient and challenging. Often, it is all about attitude.
Negative feelings about online learning often have a root cause. Talking to children can help get to the issues that cause the biggest problems. Asking open-ended questions can open the doors of communication and let parents know where to focus their attention. Keep in mind that this conversation is best held when families have a quiet moment together- not right in the middle of a stressful morning routine. Let the child know that they are understood and that this can’t be an easy situation. Changing the negative feeling about remote learning is not going to happen in an instant, but having a positive, understanding parent in their corner is sure to get the ball rolling in a better direction.
Teachers have been using positive reinforcement for ages in the form of earning coins, fuzzies, class parties or treasure box items. Why not try this strategy at home? Intrinsic motivation is great and all, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Sometimes the path forward is paved with rewards. This doesn’t mean that parents need to spend a ton of money. Goals can be set to achieve things like video game time or picking what is served for dinner. Some parents may choose to type out a contract for their child to sign to keep them accountable. It is important for parents to do what is best for their family.
One of the best ways to ease the problems that come with remote learning is to get teachers involved before parents feel they are at their wits end. Teachers want to help! This situation is not easy for them either and having a cooperative team is in everyone’s best interest. Express concerns in a clear, respectful way for best results. A good teacher will work with parents to come up with ideas to increase engagement and motivation.
Challenging situations can leave parents drained and frustrated. Adjusting expectations and giving grace continues to be important as we all navigate through the new normal. Using these ideas to keep kids engaged sets a good example for kids and keeps everyone in the family as mentally and emotionally happy as possible.