Parents usually have quite an important role in helping their kids with their homework and school tasks. But, due to the current crisis, family routines have experienced serious changes. We want to share some tips and advice on how parents can help their children at home maintaining (or restoring) the balance in the family.
Today, with parents and children being stuck at home, adults have had to fulfill diverse roles: they are mothers, fathers, teachers, tutors, entertainers, and babysitters. No surprise parents are stressed! So we want to talk about different options to help you deal with your child’s school needs in a way that helps everyone, contributing to the happiness of everyone in the family, and creating a more positive environment.
We will discuss general topics of helping children while at home during a stressful period, but also what (and how) can parents help their children at home with their academic work.
How can online or private tutor at home help your child?
Many students have suffered due to the changes that our world has seen happening in the last months. Their grades have suffered too. If parents cannot offer the academic support their kids need, or play the role of teachers, finding an alternative, an online tutor, is the best option!
Not only will the tutor fill the gaps left by the online school lessons that the kids may struggle to follow, but it will help with the family dynamic since it frees parents of playing the role of teachers to their kids, with all the stress that may bring into the relationship.
Online or private tutors will help your children catch up, prepare for exams, and start the new academic year with confidence and up to the national standards. But not only that, your kids’ tutor will help them organize their time better, complete the school tasks they may find challenging, and will add stability and structure to the family time spent at home. Having an online or private tutor in these times is the best bet for your children’s future.
Whatever your kids’ needs are, we have the best tutors to help them.
Structure the family life
With all the family staying at home, it’s time to set up some rules! The first step in getting your children to do their homework and the chores at home is to create structure. Having all the family at home may have kids confused and they may find it hard to understand that there are different tasks to do, whereas before they may have identified the time at home as leisure.
Challenging situations, like a global pandemic, create a sense of lack of control. The best solution is to sit together and come up with a schedule with clear expectations that allows everybody to know what they have to do and when. Having the necessary guidelines to organize family life offers everyone some degree of control, especially if done together.
Obviously, the next step is to decide how to proceed so the structure is respected by everyone in the family. Establishing a compromise is the responsibility of the whole family and children must be included in the decision-making process. An easy way to do this is by deciding on prizes and consequences, motivating children to take part in daily chores without ending up in a tantrum. This will eventually also give parents the time they need to work from home, or do their own stuff.
How can parents positively motivate their children?
It’s been proven that self-motivated children are more successful. But even more interesting is the fact that families that set up a structure and follow it, experience much less conflict. During crisis times, this becomes a must.
Plan a schedule together
Families should sit down and make a plan together. Knowing how the day is structured and having a set routine helps not only kids but also the parents, to feel more in control in a time of uncertainty. With small kids, the adults may want to create a plan by themselves, but with older kids and teens, it may help to do it together to understand clearly what everyone is expected to do.
Involve the children in the decision-making
In fact, involving the kids in the decisions that may affect the whole family is a good idea. It doesn’t eliminate conflict but makes everyone involved in the decision-making, responsible.
Be empathetic and establish an open communication
These times are difficult for everyone. Adults have to deal with stress from work, from being at home, from their fears and insecurities. Children also experience all those feelings and creating an environment where there is open communication and empathy, really helps them to manage their own stress, consequently making them less confused and uncertain and helping them stay more focused on their school work.
A typical day at home
Families need to create a sense of routine at home, and the best way to do it is by setting up a schedule so children know what to expect during the day. Each family may have their own routines, but this is a basic idea:
- Morning routines: waking up, brushing their teeth, having breakfast, and some play-time in order to move forward towards school work.
- Afternoon routines: having lunch, doing physical exercise, and time dedicated to their friends. Some extra time for further school work would be a good idea.
- Evening routines: time to spend with the family and share fun activities together.
With kids spending all of their time at home while parents are juggling diverse roles, a risk is that screen time for children and teenagers could get out of control. For the last few months, kids have been using computers or telephones not only to do their normal leisure activities but to do homework, attend lessons and socialize with their friends.
During this time, parents need to control their children more closely in front of the many diverse devices we are surrounded by daily, as well as setting more strict rules in terms of how much screen time their kids are allowed.
Families that use their time together away from telephones and computers can enjoy more harmony and help children or teens to stick to their set routine.
Parent involvement in school work
Having kids at home doing their lessons online and dealing by themselves with homework requires a more regular presence of the parents. Goes without saying that little kids will need their mother or father to be present during the lessons and help them with the assigned tasks.
Even though the newer generations are said to have been born with telephones in their hands, the sudden change from traditional classes to online ones has brought to attention the fact that many kids cannot cope with the needed technology for educational purposes. That’s why parents have found themselves with the duty of supervising and offering support to their kids and teens during school hours and homework.
In fact, teenagers may be more independent, but that doesn’t mean they may not find the new system challenging and may be tempted to perform less in a situation where they are not closely controlled. Their parents’ role, in this case, is to offer academic and technological support and create an environment where teens can share their doubts and needs.
How can parents help?
We have mentioned a few things parents can do, like create a daily routine or offer support and supervision to their children with their school work.
But let’s be more realistic!
Parents can’t always juggle all the different roles they are forced to play while all the family is at home. So, what can they do? Well, an easy solution we have already discussed is to find online tutoring.
What other options are there for parents that want to help their kids at home?
If parents are set in their decision of helping their kids with homework and supervising their school work, there are other options to offer them the right tools to help their kids in the best possible way.
The first step is for parents to get involved in the classes their kids are having and understand the goals set for each kid depending on their age and level. They can achieve this by creating a communication channel with the school teachers and getting familiar with the school materials their kids are using.
Thanks to the internet today parents can access an almost unlimited bank or resources that could help with following their children’s schoolwork and offering them the necessary academic support they may need. Either is for languages, Maths, or Science, there are videos and specialized channels that will keep kids engaged while learning.
Resources for parents to help their children at home
We have selected our favorite sites to help you ease the burden of having to help your kids and find an innovative and fun way to engage them during this period. If you’re a parent with kids at home and you’re looking for some ideas to help them with their school work, you will find the following list useful!
Writing and Reading for kids under 12
OxfordOwl (https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/find-a-book/library-page/): great free library for kids aged 3-11.
Middle School Resources
A selection of the best books by teachers (https://www.weareteachers.com/best-middle-school-books/): rich digital library, mostly novels.
Older Kids and Teenagers:
The New York Times Learning Network (https://www.nytimes.com/section/learning): a great selection for teenagers with extra activities and suggestions.
Hit the Button (https://www.topmarks.co.uk/maths-games/hit-the-button): ideal for kids from 6 to 11 years old. Interactive games and entertaining activities.
Bedtime Math (http://bedtimemath.org/splash-of-math/): a new and engaging method to help children 3-9 with numeracy.
National Geographic (https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/): A lot of material for kids of all ages organized by subject. They cover geography, history, animals and many other topics.