Online classes can make it difficult for your child to learn — no matter how old they are. After all, it's different than what they are used to.
So whether you have students taking virtual classes or are continuing your child's education throughout the summer, here are some tips to help you navigate this time.
Encourage development with simple actions throughout the day
• Engage. Get on your child’s physical level. Pay attention to your child and his or her facial and body expressions. Really listen to what your child is saying.
• Encourage conversation. Ask about what your child is doing or plans to do. Wait for a response and even respond back.
• Extend language and learning. Repeat what your child says and add more words to extend his or her vocabulary.
• Practice. Practice skills your child has already been working on in everyday routines to continue their learning at home. Hands-on activities such as helping make meals are great for incorporating early math (measuring), language (sequencing, what is next?), reading (reading the recipe or ingredients) and motor skills (stirring, dumping). Other hands-on routine activities might include having your child help write (or draw pictures for) items on a grocery list; helping with laundry (matching pairs of socks, sorting clothing for each person, talking about wet versus dry, putting clothing in versus taking clothing out); cleaning windows or floors (i.e., talk about wet vs dry, cleaning fast vs. slow, talk about clean vs. dirty, count the number of window to clean).
Ways to make up for a lack of meaningful peer interaction
In order to make up for the lack of peer interaction, parents should interact with their child more. Having conversations, telling stories, reading, playing games, listening to music and enjoying time together will help your child develop important social interaction skills. Taking time to listen to your child without scolding or interrupting will help your child feel as though what he/she has to say is valued.
It may also be beneficial to set up virtual playdates with your child’s friends. Being able to see and talk to friends, even through a screen, will help your child stay connected.
Activities for children and their family
Enjoy this extra time you now have with your child or children. Below are some suggested activities you can do to stay engaged:
• Read books.
• Make a scrapbook of important people or items and go through it together.
• Sing songs and recite nursery rhymes.
• Go on discovery walks. Look for colors in nature or in the neighborhood, numbers on houses or buildings, letters on signs and shapes in nature and on houses. You can also listen for different sounds, including a lawnmower, a bird chirping, a car driving or a neighbor talking.
• Dance to music.
• Play hopscotch. Practice drawing squares, writing numbers and jumping and hopping skills.
• Make obstacle courses inside the home or outside.
• Have fun looking for cloud shapes or animals in the sky.
• Provide your child with a ruler or measuring tape and let them have fun recording the length of items outside, including rocks, sticks, etc. Talk about which is the longest and which is the shortest.
• Play “I Spy”