The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic is vast and is affecting many aspects of our lives. One of the biggest impacts has been on our educational system. First, schools were forced to shut down completely, an unprecedented mass disruption to educational institutes that is happening in some capacity even still. This fall, schools were faced with the difficult decision to reopen at various levels. Some parents were able to choose what they thought to be the best option for their family, whereas others had the decision made for them depending on the school district or their own demanding schedules. What is helicopter parenting? It is a parent who is hyper-involved in their child’s or children’s life.
For those parents opting for a virtual option, life is unprecedented. It has been a huge adjustment for the children as well. Most parents are finding themselves in a position of learning to be a parent, teacher, counselor, and friend all in a day. Not having taught before, many are asking themselves, how much is too much?
Here are five ways you can support your child without being a helicopter parent
1. Set clear expectations upfront and have them be responsible for implementing them
Set guidelines as to what needs to be done before the day starts, which may include dressing as if they are going to the actual school building, having a good breakfast, and setting up a workspace that is conducive to learning. Have them do these daily “must-do’s” independently. Useful tools may include an alarm clock and a chart to keep them on track.
2. Establish daily check-in times with your children
This is an age-appropriate suggestion, as younger children will need constant supervision. But for older children, as tempting as it may be to ask how they’re doing multiple times a day, keep in mind if they were at school, you wouldn’t be there to check on them at all. Decide on certain times of the day when you will check in on them, so they know what to expect and won’t feel interrupted. And of course, if they need help, they should know they have access to you at any time.
3. Encourage your kids to ask their teacher for further explanation of assignments
When your child is confused or has questions about their work, it’s best to direct them to their teacher (if this option is available). Just like when they are in school, the teacher is the primary person to provide clarification and instruction. Too much help from the parent can lead to giving answers or doing work for the child. This will hurt the child long term because their teacher will not know where they are struggling.
4. Engage in conversation about their day when their school work is done
Making time for family dinners may be more important than ever. Despite feeling like you are spending every waking moment with your children these days, dinner continues to be a perfect time to talk about the day and hear how they feel about this new norm. If everyone is on different schedules and dinner doesn’t work, plan a few minutes before bed to all unwind together.
5. Communicate with their teachers
Many teachers welcome emails or a phone call for questions and concerns about your child. Virtual meetings are an option as well. Use these resources as a way to communicate rather than jumping on your child’s virtual space to ask a question during class.
Give Yourself Some Time to Adjust
These uncharted times are difficult to navigate and may feel overwhelming at first. Following these simple principles from the start will set a precedence and prevent unnecessary frustration while you embark on the journey of virtual learning.
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