By Natascha Pearson
January 28, 2021: Parents all over California are pulling out their hair as another semester has rolled up and our counties have not opened up their school districts. As a Humboldt, California resident, I felt safe with our low numbers and the promise of a reopening. With the exception that nothing has changed, here are a few quick tips to keep your child focused while going into the next semester.
Write out a schedule and have your child adhere to it. An alarm clock that is scheduled for Zoom appointments will keep your student’s attendance up, such as the Nument 5 Times Alarm. Let’s say your child has an alarm that wakes them up, and then they have an hour or so to do their morning chores. The next alarm will remind them of their first class. After their first class, they indulge in homework. An alarm goes off for their second class and after attending they check their schedule and are reminded to do an hour of physical activity (perhaps a list of physical activities that they can do around the house or in the yard,) and then they can eat lunch. Afterward, they attend their third class. An hour of homework or art follows the class, and it is almost as if your student attended a full day of school!
Get posters to hang around their room. Not their favorite television show but Educational Posters to help with homework and further understanding. It might seem like a cheat, but your student will learn by searching the posters and memorizing the information on them. Creating a similar environment as their classroom will put them in the headspace that this is study time, not playtime.
Pre-make their lunch. They don’t have to bring their bag lunch to their bedroom desk but having designated snacks and a lunch to eat will keep your child from asking for food and using it as an excuse to distract them from their studies. During this time where we’re stuck indoors for a great portion of the day, healthy snacks, and lunches are vital to have a functioning mind and body. When you think of the amount of time that you are being taken away from your own work at home situation by your kids demanding food you will find your child being more self-sufficient if you prepare ahead.
Check their work. Every child can be at fault for telling a white lie and now is no different. After the day has finished checking their assignments, particularly tests, to see that their grades reflect that they have been studying. It is easy to click through the answers and move on to the next assignment without receiving a passing grade, there is no teacher after all over their shoulder telling them to keep their nose in the books. Take the time to check the assignments and for every wrong answer have them figure out the right answer. They will be less likely to take shortcuts knowing that they will have to revise the wrong answers later.
Playtime is in the afternoons. Just like when the kids are in school, we don’t let our daughter out to play until after 3 pm. Keeping to an isolated group of friends that are in your “COVID” circle is crucial. This is also a good window for videogames. With the restrictions of not being glued to the screen an hour before dinner seems like a good time to allow your children screen time. Video games heighten hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills, and releases dopamine, the right amount of which is healthy for our children.
Go to bed early. Just because there’s nowhere to physically go in the morning a scheduled bedtime will help your child wake up in the morning preparing for the next day of work. A book before bedtime will help the creative mind work within the realm of dreams. If your child is having a hard time sleeping, don’t ignore it. Play music for your child, leave the door open, put on a nightlight, whatever it takes to make sure they fall asleep at a decent time. Make sure your child eats dinner and any dessert at least an hour and a half before bedtime. Eating at night will cause the digestive system to be in action which can be a cause of not sleeping.
By making changes to your home to allow proper space for studying and activities you will find that your child no longer has to come to you for help or to look for a distraction but is focused and self-sufficient. Their grades will reflect their new routine and there will be less obstacles with a thorough studying habit along with a healthy amount of play time. School will become a healthy focus that will give you the space you need to excel in your own work.