The recent pandemic is stressful, not just for adults, but also for children as well. According to health policy researchers, they get double the stress and pressure. They’re suddenly removed from their friends and classmates. They fear for the lives of their loved ones, as well as their own, because of how easy it is to catch the virus that causes COVID-19.
In a recent study published in the Journal of American Medicine Association (JAMA) Pediatrics, children are prone to increased mental distress during health crises. The researchers, who studied over 2,330 schoolchildren from China’s Hubei province, found that over 18 percent of students reported symptoms of anxiety. About 22.6% were experiencing depressive symptoms. And that was just being in lockdown for a little over a month.
Everything’s just out of their control, leading to increased anxiety and pessimism. The pressure presses down even more on them with online classes. They have to adapt to a new style of learning, through the lens of a webcam. Plus, your kid is also pushed to do major school activities from their home, a place that they associate with relaxation and enjoyment. It’s a familiar pain for you, who also has to work from home.
The pandemic may be coming to a close with highly-effective vaccines being approved for public use. However, remote learning may still become the norm, as social distancing is still enforced by the government. It’ll be a while before your child finally goes back to school.
Here’s how to make your child’s online learning experience fun, if not, bearable.
Create a Designated Learning Space
Your kid needs a space where they can physically and mentally separate school from their home. Their designated learning area should minimize distractions. As such, it shouldn’t be in their own room and nowhere near their play area. A small portion of the living room next to the window is great because it exposes them to natural light. Your kitchen is also a great place for learning time, as it’s often away from distractions like the T.V.
Even if your child is in their designated learning space, they could still get distracted by the noise going around the house. Turn off the television during their studying hours. Refrain from using the vacuum cleaner during their school hours, especially if they’re in their online Zoom class. Declutter their learning area too, so their eyes aren’t drawn to anything else while they’re trying to focus on their work.
Set a Schedule
Some online schooling programs may be asynchronous, meaning that they learn without the supervision of their teachers. While this gives your child freedom and flexibility to learn at their own pace, it can also make them prone to getting distracted. They may spend too much time on their game consoles or sleep in because there’s no bell to chase or wait for. Work with them to create a schedule with ample breaks for playtime and food. This way, they can get away from the stress throughout the day and come back to their work refreshed. If you don’t have the time to guide them during their classes, get them a private online tutor to make sure they stay on top of their studies.
Make the Experience Comfortable
Your kid’s going to spend hours upon hours in front of the computer. Repetitive mouse movements and typing can lead to injuries as they grow older, like repetitive strain injury, tendonitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. If you want them to avoid these issues, provide them with peripherals that keep them comfy throughout the day. Give them a chair with adjustable height and back support. This way, they can modify it according to what’s comfortable for their spine. Ergonomic computer peripherals like a v-shaped keyboard and vertical mouse keep your kid’s hands as close to their natural position as possible, minimizing tension and wear in their muscles and nerves.
The pandemic has been difficult for adults and children alike. Having to adapt to online learning just adds even more pressure and anxiety for your child. These tips help them stay on-track and comfortable during their online schooling experience.