As the schooling and homework environment becomes increasingly more digital, parents around the world are now facing new challenges in helping their children stay focused online. With kids turning to the internet for their every query, online learning is part of daily life, and it’s very much here to stay. And while many parents are worried about how much time their children are spending on technology, there’s no reason that online learning can’t be beneficial. Try these simple tips, designed with parents in mind, to help your child succeed with online learning and turn it into a productive, enjoyable experience.
1. Make moments for offline activities
For a series of tips concerning how to help your child learn online, this might seem somewhat contradictory, but hear us out. Children, especially during their younger years, learn more effectively by interacting – whether it’s with their friends in class, or with teachers. Imitate this interactive environment whenever possible free from the screen, and balance what your child is learning online with real-world, hands-on activities that can help your child consolidate or practice their newfound knowledge.
2. Set up regular routines and screen time periods
If your child is learning remotely, they’ll be sticking to a regular school schedule, but if online learning is part of their homework assignment, or you’re just looking to encourage them to explore educational activities online in their free time, then a daily routine can be helpful. Carving out space in your child’s often busy day helps them know what to expect, and sets them up for good time management habits in the future.
It’s also important to bear in mind that children are spending increased time in front of screens at school, and their online time at home shouldn’t be spent in back-to-back blocks. Schedule regular screen-free periods in their online learning time so you can offer them the opportunity for a break that keeps them both engaged and focused. Using a parental control tool like Qustodio can help you set regular screen-free periods across all your kid’s devices without having to worry about timers, or screen time totals.
3. Switch off and remove distractions
During a regular work day, how tempted do you feel to check in on your messages, or scroll through social media? It’s difficult for us to resist the urge, and kids feel the same way. For younger children, find a space free from their favorite toys or activities they do in their free time, and for older kids or teenagers, pause notifications on their devices – especially the one they’re doing their work on!
If your child is being regularly distracted, it could also be because they’re bored. In this case, allowing them to take a quick break before getting back to their online learning could be a way for them to find better focus the next time round. Another reason for distraction could be that they find the task at hand too difficult. Helping them tackle online learning tasks step by step, or breaking down projects into smaller, more manageable activities can help them feel less overwhelmed.
4. Set out clear goals
It can be difficult for kids to understand what’s expected of them if they don’t know what they’re supposed to be focusing on. Before online learning sessions, help start your child down the right path by creating a list of goals to help them during their study. You can even divide goals into long-term and short-term, looking at the bigger picture as part of their ongoing learning, and honing down on the individual steps in their daily study.
Don’t be too ambitious with what you want to work towards. Goals should ideally be actionable, attainable, and specific.
Vague goals such as “I will study more” aren’t measurable or manageable – what does “more” really mean to you, or them? A goal like this can be easily changed to “I will study for 30 minutes every day,” or similar, to make it more manageable and easily achievable.
5. Keep the motivation coming
It can be hard for your child to devote time to online learning when they’re not particularly enthusiastic about the subject at hand. That shouldn’t be reason enough for them to give up, but you’ll have to be your kid’s biggest cheerleader and support them through the process. Discipline is a learned skill which is acquired over time, so helping them keep a positive attitude throughout their learning process will go a long way.
Every child is motivated in different ways, but some ideas to try include:
- Let them guide the way, choosing which online learning activities they’d prefer to spend their time doing. If you’re worried about your child sticking only to what they know, you could prepare a shortlist of activities or apps for them, so you get to make the initial selection while they still feel they’re able to make their own decision.
- Avoid criticizing and nagging for negative behavior, and even rewarding for positive actions. By offering your child 15 minutes extra game time for a successful study session, or taking it away as punishment for not completing something, you’re controlling their behavior rather than their motivation. Offer constructive feedback that helps them feel more autonomous, and more motivated to do it differently next time.
- Focus on the learning, rather than the performance. Learning helps your kids try out new skills, and the sense of accomplishment and achievement they’ll have once they finally master them can be great motivation to carry on. Trying, failing, and getting things wrong is all part of the journey!
- Encourage honest, open communication. Let your child know they’re okay to tell you about what they enjoy and dislike doing, what they’re finding difficult, or what they feel good about. Sometimes just validating how your child feels, or lending an ear can be enough for them to work through what’s holding them back.
Although every child learns differently, these effective tips are designed to help them build long-term skills that help them learn better, while also taking ownership of their online study as they grow. With these approaches under your belt, we’re sure you’ll be well on your way to helping your child succeed with online learning.