Making Sure Kids Stay Happy and Healthy During Online Classes
It can be hard to make sure your kids stay happy and healthy during online classes. The sudden shift to a virtual format has been anything but easy. If you’re a parent watching your child struggle as they try to adjust to the online format, here are a few suggestions for ways that you can help.
Set Your Child Up with a Dedicated Home Classroom
There are dedicate a space for your child to do their school work. Much like working from home, a dedicated space creates boundaries and helps establish school-life balance.
It also gives you the chance to create a specific area that is optimized for school. You and your child can personalize the space to help them stay organized and positive every time they enter the area to “go to school.”
Don’t Let Your Kid Work on Something for Too Long
It’s officially recommended that an adult not work on the same task for more than two hours at a time. For children with shorter attention spans, that number drops dramatically. If you have a preschooler, their attention span maxes out at a whopping 5 to 20 minutes.
If your kid is spending too much time on a project or a piece of homework, don’t be afraid to break up the job for them. Helping them learn to regulate themselves and take breaks will be a skill that they take with them for the rest of their lives.
Help Your Kid Unplug Often
The focus of getting through online school is obviously on the “online” part. However, it’s also good to consider the time when your kids are not in class, too. A few suggestions for ways to help them include:
- Turning off distractions like notifications on their mobile devices.
- Using the “screen time” or “focus mode” features to curb access to unnecessary apps.
- Limiting screentime in the evenings and weekends.
- Making sure they aren’t getting too much blue light before bedtime.
They may not love it at the moment, but helping your child unplug when they aren’t in school will do wonders for their mental state.
Regularly Check In with Your Kid
While unplugging and being in the present are important, you also want to ensure that your kid isn’t spending too much time completely on their own.
One way to address this is by planning family time. Look for hobbies like cooking or reading that you can do together. Additionally, simply spend time talking with them. You can use these occasions to check in and see how they’re doing. For instance, if they’re feeling tired, you can talk about the connection between fatigue and depression and then use that as a segue for more health-related conversations.
Make Sure Your Child Isn’t Alone Too Much
Along with private conversations, you can also help your child maintain their social lives. You can do this by setting up Zoom playdates, letting them make phone calls, or even planning a full-blown virtual party for your kid. Because every family in your circle is likely in the same boat, be sure to plan far in advance.
You can also help them stay connected in more subtle ways. For instance, have them write an email or even a handwritten letter to one of their friends. Whatever the activity, look for ways to help your kid avoid the closed-off feeling of prolonged isolation.
Tend to Your Kid’s Basic Health Concerns
It’s also important to help your kids understand the importance of basic health maintenance. This should focus on three areas, in particular:
- Sleep: Make sure that they’re getting the right amount of sleep for their age.
- Exercise: Consistent exercise helps keep the body healthy and stress at a minimum.
- Eating: A well-rounded diet is critical for growing minds and bodies.
Once again, helping your kids learn to consider these important things while they’re also balancing virtual school is a life skill that they’ll continue to benefit from for decades.
Set Your Child Up for Success
Finally, it’s also important to grease the wheels for your child’s educational success wherever possible. This can be done in many ways, such as:
- Charging their digital devices while they’re sleeping.
- Maintaining a consistent and clear schedule for them.
- Teaching them about Zoom etiquette and how to communicate online.
By doing what you can behind the scenes, you can help your child feel supported and encouraged every day.
Cultivating Happy, Healthy Kids During Remote School
The education system may be in a rapid state of change at the moment. However, that doesn’t mean that your kids have to suffer from the negative side effects of the ongoing academic evolution.
Do your best to come by their side and support them throughout this transformative time. While we may not know what will come next, if you can stay strong for your kids during this time, you can rest assured that your family won’t suffer, regardless of what the future may hold.