Dr. V.S. Gayathri
Ways to Support Your Child During Online Classes
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought in several changes, not just for adults, but children too. One of the most important one being the shift of education from physical to virtual. According to data, more than 1.5 billion children and young people have been affected by school closures worldwide. Almost every child has been attending online classes. The virtual ecosystem has several pros and cons. Most importantly, it has affected the younger generation in many ways.
According to the statistics put forward by Vidyasaarathi’s ‘India Lockdown Learning’ report, 60% of the students spend around 1-4 hours on e-Learning; followed by 31% spending 4-8 hours and 8 percent spending 8-12 hours studying online.
Parents, as well as teachers, play an important role in this. Moreover, a parent has to play multiple roles now because they have to help their child in different ways during online education. They also need to be a teacher and an educational guide for them because the kids are in no physical contact with a teacher.
With online classes, kids are at a higher risk making them vulnerable in many ways.
Data states that 79% use smartphones to study online, while others use different mediums for online classes. They also need to take 4 to 5 classes on an average in one day. Often this becomes more difficult for kids with learning difficulties.
So, let us understand what kind of difficulties your child might be facing during online classes and how can you help them as a parent.
Why do children face difficulty?
Recent statistics indicate that 31% of students are finding it difficult to focus and 12% finding it difficult to get doubts clarified while studying online.
1) Disconnect with the teacher: Since they are not able to interact physically with the teacher, there is sometimes a disconnect for many kids. Mostly the main communication is through an online interface where there can be external hindrances or through a written form. Here, the child won’t be able to express properly, and often the main problem gets masked.
2) Writing is difficult within the time frame: Another problem that the child might face is with the speed of writing. Since the classes are of short duration or they the not meeting face-to-face, writing or copying within that time frame becomes difficult for many kids. This way they often feel left out or get stressed that they are not able to finish the work in class.
How can you respond in this situation?
The first and most important is to listen to your child. Do not ignore if your child says that he/she is facing some problem. Try to understand the problem that your child might be facing.
1) After talking to your child, it is important to discuss the matter with the child’s teacher as they are people involved in the interaction. Discuss the difficulties that your child is facing with the teacher. Both of you might be able to bring out a solution.
2) You can request for the lesson material beforehand so that you can prepare your child a bit earlier than when the lesson starts in the class. This way, he/she will be less anxious and won’t feel left out. The child will be able to cope up at their own pace with prior preparation.
3) You can discuss with the teacher to avoid putting your child in spotlight because that might stress them. Rather, the teacher can interact one-on-one and ask the child individually about any issues after the class.
How can you help your child at home?
Since online classes are probably here to stay for some more time, you can think of ways to help your child if you see signs of distress or other behavior changes. Or you can also prepare your child beforehand so that he/she is more comfortable.
1) Have a specific place for the child to attend classes. Give them a comfortable zone without any external disturbance. Once they get accustomed to the place, they will gradually get comfortable with taking the class there as well.
2) Help them organize. Spend some time with your child as he/she does their homework. Read out the instructions for homework. Do not always tell them the right answers, but show them the process. Help them prioritize their work. Gradually, they will get into a routine and will be able to organize and schedule better. They will have better control over tasks.
3) Talk with your child about classes. As mentioned earlier, prepare them for the classes beforehand. Assure them that you are here for any support. However, do not make them dependent on you, rather engage them in the process to achieve a result.
4)) Celebrate small wins throughout the day. Applaud and appreciate your child’s efforts. Tell them that they did well. Rather than pressurizing them, help them learn one small step at a time.