Now that I have your attention this BLOG isn’t really all about the heading ‘Parents – be aware of nagging’. It was always my intention to provide you as parents with tips, tools and strategies to best support your child/ren now that they will be learning @ home.
Here are my top 10 tips:
- Be aware of nagging – now that students will be working from home, as are many parents, it can be easy for parents to try and take more control in what your child is or isn’t doing. Unfortunately nagging never works at the best of times and in my experience most students generally do the opposite in spite anyway. Therefore my advice is to continue to support their independence and ask them questions like ‘What is your plan?’ or ‘What do you need to do in order to…?’ or ‘What are your priorities today?’. This is a much better approach to try, and is more likely to succeed, than if you tell them what they should or shouldn’t be doing.
- Ask them what support they need – instead of making assumptions on what they need, ask your child how they would like to be supported when working learning @ home and what involvement they would like from you as the parent. My other tip is when you would like to have a discussion with them ask their permission before doing so ie ‘is now a good time to have a quick chat?’
- Desk space – ensure students have a space that is conducive to learning. Ideally they should be sitting at a desk or table and should not be on their bed or lounging on the couch.
- Using a planning tool – whether students are at home or at school ,they should be using a planning tool of some sort to manage their time – diary, planner, calendar, whiteboard planner, electronic diary, an App etc. Most students live in the now and in order to manage time they need to see time. By not using anything students often don’t see more than a day or a few days ahead. As a result this is why work is sometimes left until the last minute to complete and then becomes quite stressful and overwhelming for everyone.
- No listening to music – I regularly get asked this question and listening to music is not conducive to learning and then retaining the information. This should be the case for both school work and completing homework/study/revision. If a student does have to listen to it then I usually recommend music without words.
- School day routine – ideally students (secondary school more so) should be sticking to the same routine as they usually would in attending school ie the usual school day timetable.
- Encourage them to be a good self advocate – encourage your child to still ask questions and seek information from their teachers when they don’t understand something. For some kids this will be easier to do via email than asking questions in a class room full of students.
- Breaks at the end of the school day – usually I recommend that students come home from school and have a short break before completing homework. However as they will now be at home learning, and most likely been sitting down all day, I believe they should have at least a 30-45 minute break before starting any additional work.
- Managing distractions– encourage them to remove any distractions from where they will be doing their school work or homework. This includes their mobile phones (they can be kept in a central location and checked in breaks) and turning off any notifications from social media on their devices that pop up. If you have a child that really struggles with distractions and goes off onto other pages or apps, when they should be working, then you might need to discuss with them about putting a blocking App in place.
- Mental Health – keep talking to your child about how they are feeling and the importance of their mental health. Encourage them to get outside, where possible, even if for a walk and to also keep in touch with their mates. For me this aspect is probably the most important one as a parent to be aware of. I usually say to parents you know your child better than anyone and often know when something is or isn’t right. It can be useful to keep regularly checking in and not to just assume that by hearing nothing that all is okay.
These are unusual times for everyone and some students will naturally adapt to learning @ home better than others. It won’t suit everyone and for those that do appear to struggle with it, I suggest that parents get in touch with the school and your child’s teachers, to let them know the issues you are having and to discuss potential options. Please note though teachers are learning and navigating this as well and may not necessarily have all the answers but I am sure will be willing to assist where they can.
Where you can (as I know many of you will be trying to work as well from home), be there to support your child/ren. My final point is to be prepared for ups and downs along the way which are normal even at the best of times. The most important aspect of this is that students don’t stay down in a dip for too long and can make their way back up. Here’s a link to a blog I have written about this previously which might also assist.
Best wishes in navigating what is likely to be the new norm for sometime.
For more support, please join in on Wednesday 22 April at 8pm for a facebook live, where I am excited to announce I am teaming up with Kate Fitzsimons, International Youth Speaker & Teen Resilience Coach to discuss keeping your teen motivated, focused & engaged with Learning @ Home.