Strategies for Staying Sane When Helping Your Kids on Zoom
Using Zoom has been something of a mixed blessing for parents who are trying to home-school their children and, at the same time, manage their professional lives and commitments. Whilst it has helped in terms of keeping lines of communication open with teachers and fellow students, clearly, it’s not a substitute for face-to-face contact. For parents and schools, this has been an aspect of the pandemic crisis that has led to a whole new approach to learning, and it brings stresses and frustrations that can undermine the potentially positive benefits that we need to seek out.
For the Under 5’s
While early years practitioners are trying their best to provide helpful remote learning activities, some parents of small children are struggling to get their kids to sit still long enough to do anything. It’s probably going to be pretty stressful all round, so the main strategy for this age group is to accept that getting even 5 minutes engagement on Zoom is about the best you can hope for. If the setting is still charging fees, request activities that use only the kind of resources you have in the home and ask for guidelines links to useful sites, and maybe Zoom storytelling sessions where they can say ‘Hi’ to their friends.
We know that kids often feel confident and competent with technology, as many of them will be very familiar with using devices, apps etc on a daily basis. Their lack of fear, coupled with a natural curiosity, means that they need to understand the ‘rules’ of Zoom so that their behaviour on-line is appropriate.
As a parent, be clear about following the school’s guidelines and set ground rules for behaviour. Ensure that they look as neat and tidy as they would in school, and that they realise that on-line school is still school! This means being respectful , polite and focused.
It is recommended that after 20 minutes of screen time your child needs to focus long distance for at least a minute to support visual health.
Tip! When your child is in lessons: Remember the ALERT approach. Are they:
Resilient ( Keeping going)
Age 10 and Above
Although it can be more difficult to influence and monitor the behaviour of this age group, it is still important to stress visual health in terms of taking a break from working on screen. Students also need reminding about appropriate dress, language, and interactions with other students.
It’s particularly important that they take the opportunity to learn how to use Zoom effectively in terms of contributing to the session, listening to others, and not being drawn into poor behaviours.
At this age, students need to begin to think more about managing their learning and also their nutrition and exercise as they will be missing out on the activities that support these in the school setting.
We can, and we have to learn from our current situation. Zoom or other platforms are here to stay for now and we need to ensure that our kids are safe, engaged, and learning.