Is your teen struggling with online schooling? The shift to online learning has been challenging for everyone. Parents are at their wits end due to their teen not coping with school. Teens may be struggling to concentrate, showing little interest in class, or even lying about handing in assignments.
They no longer have the usual support from teachers or the structure of the classroom. They struggle to stay organized and keep up with lessons. Homework may suddenly be overwhelming.
These situations not only affect the child, but parents as well. Parents are feeling anxious and are getting depressed. It’s even affecting their relationship with their spouse.
If you’re feeling the stress, please realize that you’re not alone. Families across the world can relate. Many children are having a hard time with new ways of learning during this pandemic.
If you’re worried your child is falling behind with online learning, we’ve got a few tips for how parents can make day to day life as stress free as possible.
Routine is so important, especially when everything around us is so unpredictable. Get up at the same time, get dressed, have breakfast, write out a schedule for the day.
2. Basic Needs
Your child’s basic needs should be met first. Make sure they have breakfast and snacks and water every two hours. Kids also need mental breaks, as well as movement breaks. This is true regardless of age.
Make a daily schedule of what needs to be done each day. Plan the classes and include breaks. This allows our kids to know what to expect for the day. Include links to online classroom IDs and passwords if necessary. Set reminders on their phones about class start times, due dates, and any other tasks.
Make sure they get enough sleep. Set a bedtime and unplug the WiFi every night between bedtime and morning wake up. They’ll hate you for it, but I promise that not getting enough sleep will make your teen even more grumpy than usual. My friend puts all devices in her bedroom cupboard at night. Kids can fetch them in the morning when parents are awake.
5. Set screen time limits
Again they won’t like this initially, but setting clear boundaries actually gives them a sense of safety and control. Although screen addiction is a reality (and can affect teens behavior negatively), it’s very important that children have social interaction with their peers as well. During this pandemic, often they’re only access to their friends is online. Therefore cutting out screen time altogether is not the way to go. Set clear times and boundaries for school time and free/playtime. This allows them the freedom and control to know when they can chat with their friends.
This pandemic has not only taken away social interaction from our children’s lives, but also sports and exercise, which are as important. The correlation between lack of exercise and depression is widely documented. Exercise can improve mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and a negative mood. Exercise can also alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal. My husband and I usually go for an hour-long walk every morning before work. As our youngest son has online schooling in the morning, my husband now walks with our teen. He leaves a grumpy sleepy teen, and returns much happier and ready to start the day. It also gives them some time to catch up and chat about things that might be worrying him.
7. Space to work
Create a quiet and comfortable space to work with few distractions. Find out how your child prefers to learn, and support that. Discuss how they learn best and brainstorm ways to improve their learning setup at home. Do they prefer to work in a quiet room? Do they like soft music in the background? Some teens might get distracted by other on screen apps. You can turn off notifications for Apple devices by using “screen time” to limit time on apps. If using an Android device, you can turn on “focus mode”, to limit access to certain apps during specific times.
Some teens need more movement breaks than others. Allow them to stand up for a few minutes during a virtual lesson. Have a good stretch and a drink of water. Some children prefer to log into their online classes on his cell phone. This allows them to move around the house or stroll out into the backyard without missing a moment of class. Others might like something to fidget with during class. Fidgets don’t need to be expensive, and many items can be found at home and are quiet. They can try pipe cleaners, rubber bands, beaded bracelets, clay, a small handball, or paper clips, for example. All these items can help keep kids’ hands busy while they learn.
9. Time with peers
It’s important to remember that school is not all about academic learning; they also learn social skills. While they can’t see their friends face to face, they can still maintain these relationships through video chats & online games. They need that social interaction and to regroup with friends after lessons.
If you’ve implemented all these steps, and your teen is still struggling or refusing to apply themselves, then you need to dig deeper and find out the WHY!
You might also find this article helpful: 10 Proven Ways To Develop Leadership Skills In Teenagers