As adults, this pandemic has given us difficulty to balance both work and life. Imagine what it’s like for our younger kids who were forced to stay at home for a long period of time due to the closing of schools and travel restrictions. The tendency for children is to get easily distracted, thus, unable to focus on his/her tasks or lessons. Helping our young children distinguish learning and playtime would allow them to have a keen interest in their lessons and help in retaining lifelong learning. Of course, playtime is just as essential for creativity and personality building, so knowing how to balance the two would definitely aid in your child’s holistic development. Here are some ways to help your younger children establish that boundary:
Creating a special and personalized part of a room dedicated to schooling can help distinguish your child’s learning and play environment. Adding a desk, an ergonomic chair, and essentials to establish that “working” feels such as pencils, sharpeners, pens could help in setting the mood for the area. These spaces must also be distraction-free so make sure it is free from toys or any items that could make your child lose his or her attention.
Go over what the school and teachers expect around online learning so that your children would know what is expected of them. Have them follow a routine similar to what they’ve experienced during regular classes (getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc.) instead of lying in bed in their pajamas, which could lead to less learning. Establishing these rules and goals gives them a guide on how to go about their day.
Playtime is often used as a motivational factor for online learning. This leads to children viewing it as a coveted commodity and finishing their tasks haphazardly. Instead, you can use natural consequences which are established through rules. An example would be setting a specific time in the evening where your child could only play for an hour on the iPad or computer once he/she finishes their tasks. That way, they could take their time doing their best in their tasks throughout the day instead of rushing to finish immediately. Not finishing their tasks before the set schedule would disqualify them from the chance of screen time.
Having break times are essential especially for children with a short attention span. Having short breaks in between tasks would help in retaining attention and focus for the lesson. This also prevents eye strain and work fatigue.
Just like following a routine, setting up weekends as rest days allow your children to distinguish learning time and resting time. Make sure to do fun activities with your kids that would take their minds off of school tasks. Plan activities ahead so that they would look forward to every weekend.