School’s (kinda) out, but it’s not the time to scream and shout. Most of our children have been told to practice Home-Based Learning (HBL) and we parents need to know how to help our little ones cope during these erratic times.
“Mom, I’m home.”
Yes, they’re home. Our children are home, thankfully. With COVID-19 blazing through the months of March and now into April, many schools have announced the introduction of HBL. Just recently, the Singapore government has mandated that schools will be shifting to a full HBL plan from April to the beginning of May. This will be a whole new world to our little ones who have probably never experienced online-based classroom learning, especially those who just started schooling this year.
While it’s a great initiative aligned with social distancing measures that have been implemented during COVID-19, HBL does pose its own set of challenges for both students and teachers alike. The switch has happened so quickly and students and teachers have to swiftly pivot from classroom teaching to online lessons. This means that students have to be extremely disciplined to stick to HBL schedules that have been given to them – by no means does online learning mean more time to surf the net during lesson time. Teachers also have to prepare daily online lesson plans and restructure their classes to suit the allowances of a digital classroom for at least 30 students at a time.
Supporting your child during HBL
There are a lot more challenges that go unseen and unheard. As a parent, here are 5 things you need to know to help your child cope with the challenges of HBL:
1. Prepare and plan ahead
Get all the Wi-Fi passwords ready, all the account details, all the school timetables ready and within reach every single day. Then, plan out what your little one will have to do for the day. Schedule in some breaks throughout the day as well to prevent your child from feeling too stressed and overwhelmed by the sudden change. A great rule of thumb is a 5 minute device break every 30 minutes for your child to rest his/her eyes and mind.
2. Talk about it
Ask your child how he/she felt about these new HBL arrangements. Is he/she coping well? Is he/she getting used to it? Is there anything you could do as a parent to make it easier? Get to know your child’s needs and wants when it comes to HBL. It’s new to all of us, and much more so for your little one who’s experiencing it first hand. Checking in on your child helps them feel supported throughout this brand new experience.
3. Encourage, praise, support
Speaking of supporting your child, remember to encourage and praise them whenever you can. Let them know how proud you are of them taking in these new changes like a champ and soldiering through HBL no matter how challenging it got. Praise him/her for the efforts he/she puts in every day to show up on time to that online class and complete the designated homework for the day. A few words of affirmation can go a long way and help boost your child’s morale during these tough times.
4. Make time for quality family time
While it’s important for your little one to keep up with school homework and revision, it’s equally critical that your child gets some well-deserved rest to re-charge at the end of every school day. Use this down time to set aside those devices your child may have been using for the entire day and make time for family. Whip out those old board games like Monopoly or The Game of Life for some of that wholesome family fun!
5. Don’t get mad if they don’t get it right
We’re all trying our best to adapt to the ever-evolving situation that is COVID-19. And for us working parents, we know more than anyone else the challenges that working from home can bring. The same goes for our kids who are trying the best they can. Some may even have trouble adjusting to the new HBL measures – they might miss their friends from school, they might be upset about the situation at large, they might not be able to adjust to the new form of teaching. Whatever it is, don’t get mad and try to empathise, comfort, and soothe your little one. After all, they need your support now more than ever.
Both our children and ourselves are trying our best to cope and adjust to the ever-evolving situation. As parents, it’s important we support our little ones more than ever during these unpredictable times. While HBL may be a completely novel concept to many of us, it’s up to us to help our children adapt to this and make the most of it. At the end of the day, these little actions all add up in strength against the fight of the global pandemic we’re living in. And through it all, we’ll be there by our children’s side.
Please remember to take steps to continuously protect yourselves and your loved ones. Follow the necessary healthcare guidelines pertaining to your country.