As the old saying goes, “home is where the heart is.”
In 2020, however, home is where everybody is. Now with nearly six months of practice, we’ve had time to adapt to working and learning from home.
As the fall school season develops, however, it’s easy for parents to get overwhelmed at the task of managing daily life—especially with young kids at home all day and engaged in virtual learning.
Here are 6 Ways Immigrant Families Can Overcome the Challenges of eLearning:
1. Plan to Succeed
The physical act of going to work or school enforced accountability. It made us take action, even if that action meant simply leaving the house.
In this new reality, however, the act of getting in the car and driving to school has been replaced by moving from the kitchen to a computer desk.
That’s often easier than it sounds, especially with young kids.
Because we’re home more often than ever before, it’s essential that families structure each day with a consistent schedule. Take advantage of the digital calendar tools you and your kids are using, and make a shared schedule that syncs to all of your family’s devices.
Once your plans are in place, encourage your kids to embrace each day in the same way they did for previous school years. Provide set recess breaks and snack times to create reliable patterns. This kind of planning and time management will have very positive effects on your kids’ academic performance.
Plus, if you are working from home, a set schedule will keep your kids disciplined while empowering you to stay sharp and engaged in your own career.
2. Leverage Your Support System
While this new academic environment of eLearning presents its own challenges, it also provides exciting new opportunities.
For instance, many households are enthusiastically including their extended family to help their kids learn, study, and do homework. If you live in a multigenerational household, this could be a particularly compelling option.
Consider recruiting your kids’ aunts, uncles, and grandparents to help teach your kids after hours—especially if they have aptitudes or training in a particular field of study.
In addition to helping enhance your kids’ educational growth, your family and friends can be great allies in protecting your career. On especially busy or conference-call heavy days, make sure you have someone in the family watch your kids so you can focus on work.
3. Limit Screen Time
While it often feels like our lives exist fully in the digital world, it’s essential to set boundaries.
Too much screen time has always been a concern for parents, but in 2020, it has evolved into an issue that has to be closely monitored. We’re all spending long hours in front of screens, and it’s vitally important to go offline when time permits.
Our advice is the same for parents and kids alike: get outside, read books, and hang out (safely!) with friends.
By limiting computer time, you’ll keep computers and tablets in the world of school and work, showing your kids (and reminding yourself) that there’s plenty of fun to be had without a screen.
4. Stay Motivated
From speech patterns to ways of thinking, kids closely watch and learn from their parents.
Now that your kids are spending more time at home, you’ll have countless opportunities to influence the way they see and interact with the world.
It’s particularly important for you to stay motivated and organized, especially when it’s so easy to get overly relaxed at home.
Remember that your kids are always observing your behavior. If you can stay dedicated to your work and your parenting during such an unpredictable time, you will teach your kids a great deal about perseverance.
5. Take Brain Breaks!
While motivation is key, it’s often just as important to take a break. And by taking a break, we mean get moving!
Studies show that when kids exercise before learning, they are far more likely to absorb information and perform better on tests than kids who are sedentary.
It’s no secret that higher levels of screen time are also associated with depression and exhaustion. Brain breaks will help your kids stay more physically relaxed.
While you can’t change the set hours of eLearning, you can ensure your kids get much needed time away from the computer. To help with the many hours of sitting, you can also consider getting standing desks (or simply putting computers on raised surfaces).
6. Stay Connected to your Child’s Teacher(s)
When learning went virtual last spring, everyone was caught off guard. Relationships and certain avenues of communication were rattled.
Take a moment to set up recurring meetings with your kids’ teachers. It’s important to be proactive and establish a direct line of communication.
This will ensure you always know how your child is doing in school, help you stay on top of projects and deadlines, and allow their teacher to introduce new ways to help your kids excel.
It’s an exciting and challenging time to be a parent. With patience, planning, and a house full of activity, this could be one of the most memorable seasons of your life.
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