Online instruction has everyone sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time. In the real classroom, students are often moving from table to rug or to different learning centers. Unfortunately, this is not possible when learning virtually. Expecting our children to pay attention for long periods of time can be unrealistic depending on their age. However, there are strategies parents can employ to increase engagement.
Plan small exercises together
Make a list of exercises for your child to do during breaks or when they are feeling sluggish during class. If your child is a non-reader, draw or take pictures of the activity to post. Ask them to pick 3 exercises to complete for a quick “pick me up”. Some examples are: 5 jumping jacks, walk around the house, different types of stretches, run in place.
Encourage your child to make connections to what they learn in class
- Teach your child that anything they learn can be applied to their own lives. They can make these connections themselves or with your help. Ask them questions like, “Does this remind you of anything?” Model for them by saying, “It reminds me of …” These connections are important because interest and curiosity keeps students engaged.
- Check in with your child and ask what they learned about in class. Challenge them to connect one subject matter to another.
- Ask your child what the most interesting part of the lesson was. Then ask them to learn more about it in class. Tell them to be ready to tell you more about it after tomorrow’s lesson. To increase engagement, offer your child opportunities to learn more about the subject matter. For example, they can learn more by reading another book, an online journal, newspaper or magazine article, or interviewing an expert.
Make sure your child has all their essential needs met
- Give your child a good hearty breakfast to keep them awake and alert throughout the morning. Limit added sugars to avoid its aftereffects. The more sugar they eat, the sleepier they will feel.
- Have healthy snacks ready for break time, include proteins and healthy sugars to keep them alert and focused on learning.
- Make sure they have a closed container full of water near the computer.
Make sure they are in a quiet learning environment
- Limit distractions around them, such as siblings or television. Avoid busy areas like kitchens or high-traffic living rooms.
- Have all school supplies organized. This creates easy access when they are online (pencils, crayons, paper, journals, books).
All of these strategies can be employed both for online and in-person instruction. However, while teachers have this information as experts, we often forget that parents need this information as well. At Mundo Academy, we are passionate about helping students achieve their best. We know that parents are an essential part of a child’s success. As such, we strive to keep you informed on research-based strategies to help your children. Check out our other blogs with helpful parent tips such as “How to Create a Good Study Routine.”