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Getting the most out of online classes for kids

Students are turning to online for their social and educational opportunities now that COVID-19 has made social distancing a must for their families. Although these are strange times, and online classes will not be your child’s norm forever, we thought we would give some tips on making this screen time the best you can for them.

Reminder: these are messy times, and your child’s education is not going to look like what you thought it would have a year ago. Be sure to give you and your family some breathing room!

1. Eliminate distractions

Although this may sound obvious, it’s really hard to do. Parents are on conference calls, younger brothers and sisters are running around. Plus there is a ton of fun content on Netflix, right?

You know how best to make your child focus, but here are some ideas we had that may help:

  1. Put the child in the guest room for their classes: arguably the quietest room in the house with the least amount of distraction.
  2. Consider calming music that can help them focus: A light, low-volume classical piece is great for this, as long as it is low enough that it won’t be picked up by the microphone.
  3. Turn off phone notifications during their classes, or go outside to use your phone: This helps a lot as kids are constantly drawn to adult’s phones, and their games and apps are sending out lots of notifications.
  4. Make yourself unavailable: I don’t know about you, but my child loves my attention when I am home. If you’re not around, they’ll have to figure out some things on their own or rely on their teacher for information and guidance- which makes them the authority figure, not you.

2. Engage with a friend in the class

Sometimes having a friend around, even online, is really helpful- especially if that person will want to interface with your child between class times. This interaction can hold your child accountable for their homework. For theatre classes, this may include memorizing their lines, learning their music, or finding costume pieces around the house.

3. Get recommendations from the teacher

When teachers have a lot of experience working with kids, they can frequently give parents recommendations on how to engage their child’s learning outside of the classroom. Send your teacher an e-mail and see if they can help!

4. Figure out what time of day is best for your child’s learning

Is your child up at night reading? Or are they studious in the early mornings? Figure out what daily routine is best for your family, especially in these pandemic circumstances. Then look for classes that fit that schedule, or find classes that can meet at flexible times.

It might be tempting to schedule a class while you have that weekly conference call with your coworkers, but if your child isn’t going to pay attention, then it won’t be as beneficial to either of you as you thought.

5. Learn about the style/platform of the class

How does your child learn digitally? Does your child require attention from the teacher in an interactive format, or would an online video work well for them with no interaction? How about what they’re studying? Does it lend itself to a team atmosphere, or is it a solitary activity?

Once you’ve determined what works best for your child, we hope that these tips and techniques will make your life much simpler and more productive during these uncertain times.

Consider joining us for online classes as well! We teach in an interactive format with limited class size so every student gets attention from their teacher. Grades K-2, join us for PLAYlabs on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10am for a different story every session. Grades 3-5 can join us for Acting Up!, a journey through the process of acting using creative drama techniques, on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10am. Classes begin April 13th.