Essential Tips for Parents of Online Learners

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      The effects of Coronavirus on families with kids

      With schools closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, parents everywhere are facing a new set of challenges as they find themselves juggling work obligations and overseeing their kids’ e-learning.

      The worldwide lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of the virus is redefining people’s routines and lifestyles. Unable to receive support from their network of family, friends, and teachers, parents are taking time off work to help their increasingly agitated and anxious kids with e-learning.

      Mother and son reading a book on the sofa

      Transferring the educational process online: The challenges for families

      Some of the problems of transferring education that families are facing are:

      • Digital Literacy: Not all parents are proficient in the use of technology that allows them to help their kids log in to distance learning systems and participate in classes.
      • Time Management: It can be difficult for parents to find the proper time to help with their kids’ education, as they are now working from home themselves.
      • Course Material: Finding and organizing the material for classes is also proving difficult and time-consuming for some parents.

      Learning from home

      The parents’ role in organizing remote learning

      When it comes to distance learning, the parents’ main role is to establish routines and expectations for their kids at home. It is important to enforce a structure, making sure students get up, get dressed, and are ready to attend class at a reasonable time.

      Parents should help to set up a quiet physical location for learning that is dedicated to school activities. They should encourage the reading of print material and stay in touch with online tutors for guidance.

      Tips for organizing a kid’s remote learning place

      • Set up a clutter-free area, which helps kids focus.
      • Reduce distractions, such as noise, playful pets or phone use.
      • Use helpful accessibility features to organize files and make use of a digital calendar.
      • Get a comfortable chair in order to ensure a healthy, ergonomic set-up.
      • Make sure the lighting is good, which is known to improve mood and productivity.

      Monitoring your kid’s online classes

      While most online tutoring classes are designed in a way that does not require parents to be present, it is up to parents to decide whether they want to remain near their kids for their duration. If a young child struggles with distraction problems, it can be useful for a parent to be nearby to get the kid back on track. For older children and teenagers, parents should trust that online teachers have the experience required to keep remote learners’ focus.

      Mother and son with a laptop

      Helping your kid concentrate during an online class

      To help distance learners concentrate during an online class, parents should try to identify when their kids’ most productive time is and schedule classes for then. Parents can also help with concentration by removing distractions from the learning area and ensuring their kids are getting enough rest and downtime. For younger kids struggling with concentration, parents should encourage breaks and try to make the e-learning experience fun by incorporating games.

      Active children and moving around during online classes

      Movement during online classes can be a great way to improve focus and stimulate the brain. Not only is movement fun for younger children, but it also increases oxygen levels and brain cell production. Younger children should be encouraged to move around during class as long as it is not distracting for lessons.

      Refusing from online learning offered by schools: should parents teach kids on their own?

      It is understandable that parents who are working full time, while also in charge of household duties, feel like they have a lot on their plate at the moment. It comes as no surprise that many of them are overwhelmed and refuse from official e-learning offered by schools in favor of their own teaching.

      However, remote learning is now mandatory and in order for students not to have to repeat a grade once post-Coronavirus normalcy resumes, they should refrain from doing so and use the school’s and online tutoring services’ assistance instead.

      Health issues

      Online learning’s effect on kids’ health

      Despite its many benefits, studies warn that online learning can pose a threat to kids’ health. Mentally, the isolation that comes with studying from home can bring on anxiety, depression, difficulties focusing, and internet addiction. The negative physical effects from spending a long time in front of a computer include muscle and joint injuries and eyestrain.

      Exercising during an online class: Should kids do it and, if so, how often?

      According to official guidelines, children older than 6 and adolescents need at least an hour of physical activity a day in order to enhance their growth and development. As they have shorter attention spans and are active in shorter bursts than adults, it could be helpful to do moderate exercise during an online class if this is not deemed distracting by the online teacher. This amount of exercise does not have to be done all at once: kids should be encouraged to move around for a few minutes every hour.

      Two girls stretching their arms with a female trainer guiding them
      Appropriate physical exercises

      Some appropriate exercises to try during class include the following:

      • Step-ups
      • Skipping rope
      • Balancing on one leg
      • Squats
      • Running in place
      • Jumping jacks

      Screen time and kids’ vision

      When using screens for a prolonged period of time, children can experience various vision issues. Extensive screen time can lead to discomfort, dry eyes, fatigue, blurred vision, and headaches.

      Researchers are concerned that the load imposed on our eyes from screens increases the risk for development of nearsightedness, while it is also argued that blue light exposure from digital devices might increase a person’s risk of eye diseases like macular degeneration later in life.

      Connecting your computer to a larger screen

      To reduce eye load, it could be helpful to connect your kid’s computer to a larger screen. If that is not an option, you can always magnify the text on your screen and adjust your angle to make reading easier.

      The recommended distance between your kid’s eyes and the screen

      Your kid’s computer screen should be positioned so that it is between 20 to 30 inches from their eyes and it should be tilted away from them at a 10 to 20-degree angle.

      Smartphones, which have smaller screens, tend to cause more stress to our eyes and a healthy distance to view them from is 16 to 18 inches away.

      The importance of good illumination

      Studying from home amid the COVID-19 crisis, kids are spending a lot less time outside in natural light. Dopamine, which is essential for preventing elongation of the eye that leads to nearsightedness, is stimulated by light and so it is vital for kids to have good illumination in a study area.

      Reading from digital devices in a dark room means your eyes are constantly adjusting between the brightness of the screen and the dim room, which can cause discomfort, leading to lower concentration and disorientation. Having a good source of light will boost students’ mood and improve their learning.

      Eye exercises during class: Should your kids do it and, if so, how often?

      Eye exercises can provide comfort if your eyes are starting to get irritated from many hours spent in front of the computer. Eye exercises are quick and simple to perform and they have even been said to increase productivity and eliminate headaches.

      Kids can do them anytime, even during an online class if they feel eye strain. As eye exercises are non-distracting and only take a maximum of two minutes, they can be repeated as often as required over an hour’s lesson.

      Young woman taking off her glasses and rubbing her eyes tired of computer work
      Effective eye exercises for relaxation

      Some effective exercises to help kids relax their eyes are the following:

      • Shifting: Shifting involves moving or rotating your eyeballs from one direction to another, which helps the eye muscles stay healthy.
      • Palming: Palming is a yoga technique that requires you to close your eyes and place your two hands over them for a period of 2 minutes.
      • Zooming: Zooming works to strengthen the eye muscles by keeping your focus on your raised thumb while you slowly move it three inches away from your face and back.
      • 20-20-20 rule: The 20-20-20 rule technique helps to ease digital eye strain by having a person look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes when working on a computer.
      • Figure 8: The Figure 8 exercise relaxes your eyes by having you focus them on an area on the floor 8 feet away and moving them in the shape of an imaginary 8 for 30 seconds at a time.

      E-learning on the rise

      Having schools closed today due to lockdown measures imposed by governments worldwide in the fight against COVID-19 means that digital education is on the rise more than ever. Many parents are finding themselves in the position to be in charge of their kids’ learning for the first time and they are facing challenges.

      Kids of different ages have different needs in terms of learning and parents must adapt to remote learning fast in order to maximize their children’s potential. To navigate this new digital landscape, parents should focus on creating a stress-free environment for their kids to learn in and must familiarize themselves with new technologies.

      Help your kids learn with Eurekly!

      Eurekly is here to assist parents whose kids are still adapting to online learning. One of the best online tutoring platforms in the world, it has a great number of highly experienced tutors in a wide variety of subjects. Try it yourself and give your kids the opportunity to learn online safely by taking one of many of the classes Eurekly has to offer!

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