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Tips For Parents Assisting Kids With Online Learning

Tips For Parents Assisting Kids With Online Learning

The sudden transition into remote work can be stressful on the student. 76% of students feel in lower spirits than before the pandemic, having caused nearly 9 in 10 parents to be concerned that their child may fall academically. However, teachers and parents can work together to help students minimize their distractions and improve their remote learning.

Worldwide, at least 90% of students are stuck at home due to COVID-19, and most need tech access to participate in online learning. However, technology can also divert the student’s attention away from curriculum during eLearning hours. Disabling phone notifications and turning on “do not disturb” mode can help. A step further, Apple’s “screen time” and Android’s “focus mode” can help limit distractions. Screen time allows users to set time limits on specific apps and features, and focus mode allows users to block access to specific apps on a set schedule. 

Setting a new life schedule can be helpful, too. It’s easy to let normal schedules slip when everyone is home, but you don’t have to keep your old schedule to have a consistent routine. Students with schedules built around a type of activity rather than specific plan may have greater success in improving their focus. Furthermore, a schedule with announced transitions to keep your child engaged when switching tasks. Give time warnings before a transition, and stick to them. Get your child’s attention, give directions, then say “go.” Using a visual timer can help your child understand how much time is left before switching gears. Try the “Time Timer app” for this.

When learning is fun, it’s easy to get kids engaged. Schedule virtual playdates for your child to catch up with friends, let students collaborate and help each other with school work through digital, and keep in touch with other parents to share ideas on what works. Find more tips to enhance home learning in the infographic below.

Tips for Online Learning at Home

The sudden transition into remote work can be stressful on the student. 76% of students feel in lower spirits than before the pandemic, having caused nearly 9 in 10 parents to be concerned that their child may fall academically. However, teachers and parents can work together to help students minimize their distractions and improve their remote learning.

Worldwide, at least 90% of students are stuck at home due to COVID-19, and most need tech access to participate in online learning. However, technology can also divert the student’s attention away from curriculum during eLearning hours. Disabling phone notifications and turning on “do not disturb” mode can help. A step further, Apple’s “screen time” and Android’s “focus mode” can help limit distractions. Screen time allows users to set time limits on specific apps and features, and focus mode allows users to block access to specific apps on a set schedule. 

Setting a new life schedule can be helpful, too. It’s easy to let normal schedules slip when everyone is home, but you don’t have to keep your old schedule to have a consistent routine. Students with schedules built around a type of activity rather than specific plan may have greater success in improving their focus. Furthermore, a schedule with announced transitions to keep your child engaged when switching tasks. Give time warnings before a transition, and stick to them. Get your child’s attention, give directions, then say “go.” Using a visual timer can help your child understand how much time is left before switching gears. Try the “Time Timer app” for this.

When learning is fun, it’s easy to get kids engaged. Schedule virtual playdates for your child to catch up with friends, let students collaborate and help each other with school work through digital, and keep in touch with other parents to share ideas on what works. Find more tips to enhance home learning in the infographic below.

Tips for Online Learning at Home

Nature vs Tech: Why Outdoors Activities Are Essential

Safe Teens and Techonology

Technology definitely has a time and place in our schools and we owe it to our pupils to teach them proper ways to use their devices for learning and communicating. However, we can also probably agree there are some downsides to all of this tech in our student’s lives.

Technology which opens our students up to a variety of pitfalls of dangers that range anywhere from cyberbullying to the health consequences of inactive lifestyles.

As educators, it’s no great surprise today’s technology is changing the way we monitor our children, communicate, interact, and engage with our students and, everyday we are on the frontlines watching and coping with the consequences as they unfold.

This makes it essential that we slow down and re-evaluate the role we allow technology to play in our classrooms. This is especially vital when we consider teens are digitally connected for 9 hours everyday! Yes, that is almost the same amount of time spent in school. If that statistic isn’t jaw dropping enough, we need to factor in that their younger counterparts clock in over 6 daily hours and children younger than 8 net nearly 3 hours a day!.

This data inevitably means that our children are missing out on important opportunities and activities to interact, explore, observe, and learn about the world around them. Instead of building new relationships or mastering valuable life skills, our boys and girls are inevitably living a distracted life. This is difficult for us to face, because we can only control what our students do during the hours we have them entrusted to our care. One simple way we can counteract too much technology is by examining the importance of outdoors activities and find ways for kids to strike a happy balance.     

Why Outdoor Activities are Essential for Kids

Over the course of the last few decades, a lot has changed in education as we strive to include more technology and teach for the test. While this has helped push in more STEAM activities and HAL opportunities, it has also led to a significant decrease in the amount of time allocated for recess, physical education, and the fine arts. To put this trend into perspective, according to the National Wildlife Foundation, today’s children are spending approximately half the amount of time outside than we did when we were kids.

Listed below is a small sampling of why outdoor activities are essential for kids:

  • Poor indoor air quality is common in many schools. Fresh air is healthy!
  • There is an increased risk for obesity, hypertension, and more that comes with reduced exercise and sedentary lifestyles.
  • Green spaces have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety levels in children- and even adults. 
  • The outdoors provide exposure to dirt, germs, and bacteria which boost a child’s immune system.
  • Activities like gardening in the outdoors can help students develop observational skills and learn science concepts.
  • Sunlight provides beneficial vitamin D which can help energy levels and strengthen bones.
  • Adequate exposure to sunlight also helps set a child’s circadian rhythms, which will help them develop a proper sleep schedule to enhance social and educational performance in school.
  • Outdoor activities and green spaces naturally improve many of the symptoms related to ADHD in children.

The Dangers of Too Much Technology

The reasons why outdoor activities are essential for kids is pretty solid, but we can’t overlook the possible dangers associated with too much technology. Our students’ devices might be entertaining, but there are real reasons educators need to be concerned. The following list shows why we need to help students find a healthy balance with technology in their lives:

  • Direct links between overuse of social media and increases in depression, feelings of low self-esteem, and anxiety have been documented in young people.
  • Devices can interrupt or cause distraction during key learning times in a classroom.
  • Our kids might be set up for a lifetime of joint and neck pain if they don’t embrace proper ergonomics.
  • Digital devices and fast paced stimuli can actually physically alter a child’s brain.
  • The glow from our screens and constant notifications can disrupt circadian rhythms and sleep schedules leading to poor sleep.
  • Overusing technology limits one-on-one communication opportunities for kids which may inhibit relationship and social skills development.

Looking Forward…

Technology is obviously here to stay and we can’t feasibly ban all devices from our schools. However, a little mindfulness and proactive planning can go a long way. With a little creative thinking  we can help students find a healthy balance with technology and nature.

What are your some ways you handle technology versus nature in your school?

Technology definitely has a time and place in our schools and we owe it to our pupils to teach them proper ways to use their devices for learning and communicating. However, we can also probably agree there are some downsides to all of this tech in our student’s lives.

Technology which opens our students up to a variety of pitfalls of dangers that range anywhere from cyberbullying to the health consequences of inactive lifestyles.

As educators, it’s no great surprise today’s technology is changing the way we monitor our children, communicate, interact, and engage with our students and, everyday we are on the frontlines watching and coping with the consequences as they unfold.

This makes it essential that we slow down and re-evaluate the role we allow technology to play in our classrooms. This is especially vital when we consider teens are digitally connected for 9 hours everyday! Yes, that is almost the same amount of time spent in school. If that statistic isn’t jaw dropping enough, we need to factor in that their younger counterparts clock in over 6 daily hours and children younger than 8 net nearly 3 hours a day!.

This data inevitably means that our children are missing out on important opportunities and activities to interact, explore, observe, and learn about the world around them. Instead of building new relationships or mastering valuable life skills, our boys and girls are inevitably living a distracted life. This is difficult for us to face, because we can only control what our students do during the hours we have them entrusted to our care. One simple way we can counteract too much technology is by examining the importance of outdoors activities and find ways for kids to strike a happy balance.     

Why Outdoor Activities are Essential for Kids

Over the course of the last few decades, a lot has changed in education as we strive to include more technology and teach for the test. While this has helped push in more STEAM activities and HAL opportunities, it has also led to a significant decrease in the amount of time allocated for recess, physical education, and the fine arts. To put this trend into perspective, according to the National Wildlife Foundation, today’s children are spending approximately half the amount of time outside than we did when we were kids.

Listed below is a small sampling of why outdoor activities are essential for kids:

  • Poor indoor air quality is common in many schools. Fresh air is healthy!
  • There is an increased risk for obesity, hypertension, and more that comes with reduced exercise and sedentary lifestyles.
  • Green spaces have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety levels in children- and even adults. 
  • The outdoors provide exposure to dirt, germs, and bacteria which boost a child’s immune system.
  • Activities like gardening in the outdoors can help students develop observational skills and learn science concepts.
  • Sunlight provides beneficial vitamin D which can help energy levels and strengthen bones.
  • Adequate exposure to sunlight also helps set a child’s circadian rhythms, which will help them develop a proper sleep schedule to enhance social and educational performance in school.
  • Outdoor activities and green spaces naturally improve many of the symptoms related to ADHD in children.

The Dangers of Too Much Technology

The reasons why outdoor activities are essential for kids is pretty solid, but we can’t overlook the possible dangers associated with too much technology. Our students’ devices might be entertaining, but there are real reasons educators need to be concerned. The following list shows why we need to help students find a healthy balance with technology in their lives:

  • Direct links between overuse of social media and increases in depression, feelings of low self-esteem, and anxiety have been documented in young people.
  • Devices can interrupt or cause distraction during key learning times in a classroom.
  • Our kids might be set up for a lifetime of joint and neck pain if they don’t embrace proper ergonomics.
  • Digital devices and fast paced stimuli can actually physically alter a child’s brain.
  • The glow from our screens and constant notifications can disrupt circadian rhythms and sleep schedules leading to poor sleep.
  • Overusing technology limits one-on-one communication opportunities for kids which may inhibit relationship and social skills development.

Looking Forward…

Technology is obviously here to stay and we can’t feasibly ban all devices from our schools. However, a little mindfulness and proactive planning can go a long way. With a little creative thinking  we can help students find a healthy balance with technology and nature.

What are your some ways you handle technology versus nature in your school?

What To Do When There Is Nothing To Do

We all have days at home that are boring.  You can’t think of anything to do that’s fun and exciting.  You just feel like just hanging out in bed watching videos on your phone. After all, what else is there, right?  Wrong. You don’t have to fly across the country or spend lots of money to have a fun, interesting time.

Here are a few ideas. Once you start thinking about the world around your home, you’ll see other activities that you can do to have fun without spending any money. By the way, you still get to use your phone when doing these things.

1. Take something apart.

This is really cool, but you need a parent to help you. Ask for a broken machine. It can be a lawn mower or a tower computer or an old toy or bike. Then ask your parents for the tools you need. Before you start, go online and read about the safety steps you need to do the work. You might need eye protection or gloves. Then grab a screwdriver and get going!

You’ll see how gadgets do what they do. You’ll learn about the insides of machines and maybe even figure out what is wrong with them. You’ll also learn how to use tools, something everyone needs to know. Taking something apart is perfect for when your parents are doing a task beside you.

2. Become an ornithologist.

That long word looks terribly scary, but it means that you study birds. This is so easy and doesn’t cost much. All you need is a book from the library on local birds and a pair of binoculars. You could even use your phone. Just take pictures of any birds you see then go online to find out what kind of birds they are.

Warning: bird watching can be surprisingly fun and lead to a life-long hobby, not just something you do on your summer vacation.

3. Make a movie.

For this, call the friends who, like you, are bored. Get together and talk about what kind of movie you want to make. It could be a documentary, where your movie is about something real. It could be a drama, where you write a script and play pretend. Then start recording videos. You will need to learn how to write a script, how to talk clearly, how to question people and how movies really work.

4. Build a bowling alley.

You need some outdoor chalk and a flat place—like your patio or driveway or the paved area around the school. With the chalk, draw the place where the “pins” will go, then outline a lane, with a line where you roll the ball. Get some empty plastic pop bottles and fill them about one-third full with water. Then get a ball—a baseball will do.

You will need to practice throwing the ball to make sure that the lane is the right length. The bottles may need more or less water. Play around with your bowling alley until the ball rolls right and the bottles are filled so that they need a good hit with the ball to tip over. Once you start building your bowling alley, you might be surprised by the people who stop to watch you and play.

What is there to do when there’s nothing to do? Go for a walk in the fresh air and use your imagination.  You may just find that the adventure will never stop.

We all have days at home that are boring.  You can’t think of anything to do that’s fun and exciting.  You just feel like just hanging out in bed watching videos on your phone. After all, what else is there, right?  Wrong. You don’t have to fly across the country or spend lots of money to have a fun, interesting time.

Here are a few ideas. Once you start thinking about the world around your home, you’ll see other activities that you can do to have fun without spending any money. By the way, you still get to use your phone when doing these things.

1. Take something apart.

This is really cool, but you need a parent to help you. Ask for a broken machine. It can be a lawn mower or a tower computer or an old toy or bike. Then ask your parents for the tools you need. Before you start, go online and read about the safety steps you need to do the work. You might need eye protection or gloves. Then grab a screwdriver and get going!

You’ll see how gadgets do what they do. You’ll learn about the insides of machines and maybe even figure out what is wrong with them. You’ll also learn how to use tools, something everyone needs to know. Taking something apart is perfect for when your parents are doing a task beside you.

2. Become an ornithologist.

That long word looks terribly scary, but it means that you study birds. This is so easy and doesn’t cost much. All you need is a book from the library on local birds and a pair of binoculars. You could even use your phone. Just take pictures of any birds you see then go online to find out what kind of birds they are.

Warning: bird watching can be surprisingly fun and lead to a life-long hobby, not just something you do on your summer vacation.

3. Make a movie.

For this, call the friends who, like you, are bored. Get together and talk about what kind of movie you want to make. It could be a documentary, where your movie is about something real. It could be a drama, where you write a script and play pretend. Then start recording videos. You will need to learn how to write a script, how to talk clearly, how to question people and how movies really work.

4. Build a bowling alley.

You need some outdoor chalk and a flat place—like your patio or driveway or the paved area around the school. With the chalk, draw the place where the “pins” will go, then outline a lane, with a line where you roll the ball. Get some empty plastic pop bottles and fill them about one-third full with water. Then get a ball—a baseball will do.

You will need to practice throwing the ball to make sure that the lane is the right length. The bottles may need more or less water. Play around with your bowling alley until the ball rolls right and the bottles are filled so that they need a good hit with the ball to tip over. Once you start building your bowling alley, you might be surprised by the people who stop to watch you and play.

What is there to do when there’s nothing to do? Go for a walk in the fresh air and use your imagination.  You may just find that the adventure will never stop.

Important Safety Tips while Using Public WiFi

Safety Tips while using Public WiFi

You do not have very go far these days to access free public Wi-Fi. It is available in airports, libraries, cafes, hotels and government buildings. This is helpful but it is important for both adults and kids to make sure they do not trade safety and security for convenience. Just because the public building you are in is reputable, does not mean the Wi-Fi connection is secure.

When using your smart phone or computer in a public hotspot, you need to be careful to ensure the Wi-Fi network is encrypted. Otherwise, it opens you up to the risk of having your online accounts hacked. This could result in cyber thieves stealing your personal information.

Here are two basic safety tips to keep in mind to protect your information.  And then we will explore additional ways to stay safe while online in public.

1.  Check to see if the Public Wi-Fi Network is Secure.

As mentioned, we are not worried about the people who control the Wi-Fi network.  The risk is when others around us are in the business of hacking into the personal accounts using the network.  It could be the person sitting across from you in a coffee shop, or just outside on the street. 

If the public Wi-Fi network does not ask you to enter in a WPA or WPA2 password, the network is not secure. As you are probably thinking, this is most places.  The most common public Wi-Fi networks that require a password are internet providers with home you have an account.

2.  Make sure any website you are on has https at the beginning of URL.  

An example of this is https://youraccount.com or https://yourbank.com.  Secure websites will encrypt your information as you use the site.  Unsecured sites do not have the “s” in them, such as http:// (your information is not encrypted and kept safe if you don’t see the “s”)

Unsecured websites will also show a padlock that is unlocked.  Here is an example of what a secured website looks like.  Notice how with website URL with https also has a closed lock.

secure encrypted website

Clicking the lock will reveal more information about the secure site.  Now you can be sure you are on a secured website.

On a mobile website, it will look like this.

secure encrypted mobile website

If you are using a site that is not secure and locked, you open yourself up to hackers that can access your personal accounts and steal your data.  This could mean your name, address, phone number, address book and photos.

Hackers need see you on a public WiFi to be able to monitor our activity, so one sure fire way to to prevent this (regardless of being on an unsecured network) is to encrypt your data by using a trusted VPN. It can be turned on when you wish, such as when you are in public or traveling.

Here are ore ways to protect your personal information when using public Wi-Fi.

  • It is good idea to have different passwords for each of your online accounts. This way if a cyber thief gets a hold of your email and password on one of your accounts, they will be unable to log into other accounts using the same password.
  • Educate yourself on the various ways cyber attacks happen even when you are in the safety of your own home network, such as Phishing, Vishing and SMishing. Hacking through public WiFi is less common than these other methods used.
  • Do not email important information about yourself for any reason.  This includes credit card details, bank account information and your personal government ID number. You should never do this even if a network is secure, not even from home.
  • When accessing accounts in public, whether it is your own computer or a PC in a library, always log out when finished.
  • Take advantage of 2 step verification methods being offered within your personal accounts.  This will add further security because 2 step verification means you cannot log in until you enter a secret code that is sent to you by text or via the Google Authenticator App.

If you are in doubt about the security using any public Wi-Fi network or website, it is best to restrict your activity online to general use, such as searching Google while you are not logged into your Google account.

Do not log into any personal accounts and if you find it necessary to do so, disconnect from Wi-Fi and use your personal cell data.  Even then, it is always important to ensure the websites on your account pages start with https in the URL.  Most major accounts websites are secure, but if you do not see https something may be wrong.

If you are in doubt about the security using any public Wi-Fi network or website, it’s best to restrict your activity online to general use, such as searching Google while you are not logged into your Google account.

Don’t log into any other personal accounts and if you find it necessary to do so, disconnect from Wi-Fi and use your personal cell data.  Even then, it’s always important to ensure the websites on your account pages start with https in the url.  Most major accounts websites are secure, but if you don’t see https something may be wrong.   

You do not have very go far these days to access free public Wi-Fi. It is available in airports, libraries, cafes, hotels and government buildings. This is helpful but it is important for both adults and kids to make sure they do not trade safety and security for convenience. Just because the public building you are in is reputable, does not mean the Wi-Fi connection is secure.

When using your smart phone or computer in a public hotspot, you need to be careful to ensure the Wi-Fi network is encrypted. Otherwise, it opens you up to the risk of having your online accounts hacked. This could result in cyber thieves stealing your personal information.

Here are two basic safety tips to keep in mind to protect your information.  And then we will explore additional ways to stay safe while online in public.

1.  Check to see if the Public Wi-Fi Network is Secure.

As mentioned, we are not worried about the people who control the Wi-Fi network.  The risk is when others around us are in the business of hacking into the personal accounts using the network.  It could be the person sitting across from you in a coffee shop, or just outside on the street. 

If the public Wi-Fi network does not ask you to enter in a WPA or WPA2 password, the network is not secure. As you are probably thinking, this is most places.  The most common public Wi-Fi networks that require a password are internet providers with home you have an account.

2.  Make sure any website you are on has https at the beginning of URL.  

An example of this is https://youraccount.com or https://yourbank.com.  Secure websites will encrypt your information as you use the site.  Unsecured sites do not have the “s” in them, such as http:// (your information is not encrypted and kept safe if you don’t see the “s”)

Unsecured websites will also show a padlock that is unlocked.  Here is an example of what a secured website looks like.  Notice how with website URL with https also has a closed lock.

secure encrypted website

Clicking the lock will reveal more information about the secure site.  Now you can be sure you are on a secured website.

On a mobile website, it will look like this.

secure encrypted mobile website

If you are using a site that is not secure and locked, you open yourself up to hackers that can access your personal accounts and steal your data.  This could mean your name, address, phone number, address book and photos.

Hackers need see you on a public WiFi to be able to monitor our activity, so one sure fire way to to prevent this (regardless of being on an unsecured network) is to encrypt your data by using a trusted VPN. It can be turned on when you wish, such as when you are in public or traveling.

Here are ore ways to protect your personal information when using public Wi-Fi.

  • It is good idea to have different passwords for each of your online accounts. This way if a cyber thief gets a hold of your email and password on one of your accounts, they will be unable to log into other accounts using the same password.
  • Educate yourself on the various ways cyber attacks happen even when you are in the safety of your own home network, such as Phishing, Vishing and SMishing. Hacking through public WiFi is less common than these other methods used.
  • Do not email important information about yourself for any reason.  This includes credit card details, bank account information and your personal government ID number. You should never do this even if a network is secure, not even from home.
  • When accessing accounts in public, whether it is your own computer or a PC in a library, always log out when finished.
  • Take advantage of 2 step verification methods being offered within your personal accounts.  This will add further security because 2 step verification means you cannot log in until you enter a secret code that is sent to you by text or via the Google Authenticator App.

If you are in doubt about the security using any public Wi-Fi network or website, it is best to restrict your activity online to general use, such as searching Google while you are not logged into your Google account.

Do not log into any personal accounts and if you find it necessary to do so, disconnect from Wi-Fi and use your personal cell data.  Even then, it is always important to ensure the websites on your account pages start with https in the URL.  Most major accounts websites are secure, but if you do not see https something may be wrong.

If you are in doubt about the security using any public Wi-Fi network or website, it’s best to restrict your activity online to general use, such as searching Google while you are not logged into your Google account.

Don’t log into any other personal accounts and if you find it necessary to do so, disconnect from Wi-Fi and use your personal cell data.  Even then, it’s always important to ensure the websites on your account pages start with https in the url.  Most major accounts websites are secure, but if you don’t see https something may be wrong.   


Direct Links to Our First Page Articles:
Tips For Parents Assisting Kids With Online Learning | What To Do When There's Nothing To Do | Safety Tips while Using Public WiFi | Why Outdoors Activities Are Essential