Distance learning has definitely taken its toll on the relationship I have with my middle child. Let’s face it… learning on the computer is NOT his cup of tea. So, how do I help my child stay engaged in class?! Well, I hate to admit this, but when we first started, it was a lot of yelling and tears for both of us. 😭 But after taking a step back (and doing some research), I came up with some strategies that have certainly lessened the stress and frustration for my son and me. If you are experiencing this as well, maybe they can help you too.
❤️ Have Movement Breaks to Stay Engaged
I made it a point to take note of when he has breaks in his class schedule. During those breaks (5-10 minutes max), I purposefully plan an activity. Whether it is walking down to the mailbox, shooting some hoops outside, or my favorite, taking your laundry upstairs (which requires more than one trip). 😉 This way, your child has the opportunity to do something active, and spend a minute or two with you.
❤️ Break Up Assignments
For each subject, my kiddo has 3-4 different activities… reading a passage or watching a video, the workbook or practice page, and usually a computer program for a certain amount of time each day that tracks skill progress. In the end, it is a lot for him to sit down and complete these different assignments all at one time. So, we have a deal. He does one of the activities and then gets a break for 10 minutes. I will admit, some days it is harder to persuade him to get back on task after a break, but at least we aren’t having tears over how much work there is to do. And all assignments are getting done each day now too.
❤️ Limit Distractions to Stay Engaged
When I first set-up our distance learning spaces, I thought that my two oldest children could sit side-by-side at their desks. This way, they could help each other with technology issues, or to stay on task. NOPE!! That was not a good idea on my part. I ended up moving my son’s desk into a separate room, where he could more easily focus on his teacher and the lessons he was learning. It has greatly helped my child stay engaged in class. He will even shut the door, so that it is quieter in the room. I also make it a point to remind my other two kids not to go in there and bother him. 😉
❤️ Remember to Check In
I found that I need to poke my head in the room every half hour or so, just to make sure that he is doing okay and participating in class. This way, he has learned that I am holding him accountable for his own learning and that he needs to be an active participant in class. Sometimes I just look in on him and other times I will come in and sit down to watch and listen for a little bit. I think that he just likes having me there for a bit. (And when it comes time to do the assignments, I have a better understanding of the expectation from the teacher. 👈🏼)
❤️ Sometimes You Need a Reward System to Stay Engaged
I know that external rewards are not always the best thing to rely on when it comes to children, but sometimes you just have to go with what works. Now, I’m not talking about huge rewards, but using something that will motivate your child to continue working hard even when they don’t really want to. My son really loves LEGO, so I bought a couple of sets and every day that he stays on task and completes his classwork, he gets to add 10 LEGO pieces to the build. He was so proud of himself when he completed the first build set we worked on. Now, we are at the point where we don’t always have to use the reward, but it is there just in case nothing else is working that day. 😉
❤️ Do Schoolwork with Them
My oldest has no problem sitting down and doing her assignments after she is done with her face-to-face sessions. But my son prefers to have me sit next to him while he completes his classwork. We have gotten into a routine that he sits with his computer next to me on mine and we both do our “work”. He gets some special time with me and I get to be more involved with what he is doing in class.
I hope that you find some peace of mind and less frustration through these ways to Help Your Child Stay Engaged in Class. It has not been an easy road in my house, but I feel like we have mended our relationship and come to an understanding that for right now, this is what school looks like and we need to make the best of it. These changes have been a big shift for everyone involved; teachers, parents, and our children, but together, with support, we will get through this time in our lives.
If you have some tips you would like to share of things you do to help keep your kiddos engaged in class, please post them in the comments below. I am still looking for new ideas that can help keep my son on track. I appreciate any advice I can get! 🥰
Written by: Janessa Fletcher/Brittany Coleman
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