Enforce Some Time Off
Always, always make time for downtime in your child’s school day. You should also consider shuffling around a bit of the family schedule so that everyone gets to take a mini-vacation. Reduce some of the obligations your family has and let your kid skip out on some extracurricular activities once in a while. Burnout will persist if you do not give them time to decompress.
Older kids should be allowed some time alone, especially if they are introverted. They may hide their burnout more easily than extroverted children, but that doesn’t mean they do not need a moment to breathe undisturbed. Are your kids shutting down and not participating? They probably need a break.
This break can either be a 10-20 minute snack break or something else. You might suggest stepping outside, taking the dog for a walk, or some time to curl up with a book. Let your kids choose an activity. For instance, your little one might start approaching burnout and throw a tantrum. When that happens, coax them away from the computer, make them a snack, and put on a TV show they enjoy.
After all, your child’s mental health is as important as physical and emotional health. Even a 10 minute break can do wonders for their mood.
Don’t forget that your standards of education—and what your child is capable of—are not going to be the same, either. Do not rush your child. They will be okay, as long as they are allowed room to breathe and grow on their own time.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
One of the biggest challenges that teachers, parents, and children face during their online lessons is breaking up time. Younger children are not going to learn if the teacher is talking to them for the entire class time. They need to be able to do work on their own, to try things out, and to interact with one another. That is why some teachers are using technology to make their online classrooms as interactive as possible.
If you have younger children, the curriculum is generally more flexible, so parents are able to help their kids out a bit more with remote learning fatigue. You can take a break from the Zoom classroom to use online video and audio, e-books, interactive apps, and other programs to teach your child some valuable lessons. For example, you might show your kid a couple of music videos pertaining to whatever they were learning, since it will engage and entertain them simultaneously.
Older students might be a bit more complicated, since their school days are much structured. However, as a parent, you are fully capable of getting in contact with the teacher and discussing what your child needs to succeed. If you think there are some programs or technologies that will help your student through a lesson, you can certainly make that suggestion.
All this technology, and the one thing humans forget about is actually communicating with one another. Things can begin to feel robotic and preprogrammed the longer this pandemic goes on; everyone is missing face-to-face interaction. So, now is the best time to get into the habit of checking in with your kids to see how they feel. Ask about their emotions. Most of all, acknowledge their feelings correctly. Do not just tell them that everyone is dealing with stress and uncertainty.
Questions like, “I get the sense that you are overwhelmed, is that right?” and “Do you want to tell me why you are frustrated?” should get the ball rolling.
Help them to understand why these times are so distressing. Your children are developing in a time when nothing feels normal, and they are bound to have opinions on what is going on. Even younger children are going to have something to say, so listen. For children, the ability to openly talk about their feelings without being judged is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. There is no right or wrong in what they tell you. Validate their emotions, and you will see their stress levels diminish almost instantly.
Also, your child—especially older students—are going to come up with very realistic issues that they are going to have to cope with later on. This includes worries over college and graduation, of finding a job, and so on.
If you have an introverted child or one who is neurodivergent, they may not be open to talking about their feelings. Rather than forcing them to communicate with spoken words, you can try art. The art does not have to be an elaborate painting. Rather, ask them to express themselves with pictures and words. It might be just a stick figure and speech bubble, but it will give you insight nonetheless.
Remember to be open about your fears and concerns as well. The display of vulnerability will not only teach your children a valuable lesson, but they will feel capable of speaking more openly to you, as well.