Though most schools are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, expectations for assignments and requirements for classes continue. In many instances, homeschooling or “no schooling” has been coupled with remote learning.
If your child’s school or program is introducing or has been using virtual learning, consider these best practices:
- Inquire about your school’s policies for safety and e-learning. Many schools are figuring it out as they go, so parents have a role to be alert to the technologies/tactics being introduced.
- If your child is using Zoom or other video chat services, check in with them regularly so you are aware of what is happening. Older children may need more space and not appreciate hovering, so be thoughtful with your presence.
- Discourage online interactions from children’s bedrooms.
- Follow the two-adult rule online, avoiding one-on-one live video exchanges between teachers and children.
- Keep distractions at a minimum by not introducing pets, costumes, toys, siblings, etc. during the classroom time, unless invited by the educator.
- In all settings, consistently remind kids that their image and audio can be appropriated by others, so they need to act appropriately at all times.
- If your child is using your device, be mindful of parental controls to keep them away from distractions, interfering with your work, or inappropriate content.
- When using Zoom, ensure that the enrolled students are the only participants by making sure Zoom classes are “private” and that teachers are using a password, portal or waiting room feature.
- Consider providing feedback to your teacher or administrator if the time frame/length of the on-line classes or the style of instruction seems ineffective or causes stress for your child.
- Continue to have conversations with your children about online safety using a variety of scenarios and talking them through simple, age-appropriate safety plans.
It is important to remember that our priority as parents during this unprecedented time goes beyond academics. We are called to provide a safe home environment, sheltering our children from the stress of quarantine and social distancing. This is an opportunity to reconnect with our families and children. In addition, a lot of our daily life activities can be instructional; we can teach useful life skills by having kids help with chores, cooking, laundry, along with reading together, enjoying a movie as a family, playing outside in the yard.
Circle of Grace (2018) is a Christian safe environment curriculum that helps form and educate children and youth about the value of positive relationships with God and others. If you are interested in this curriculum for use at home with your children during quarantine, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on safety during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit https://dovesnest.net/COVID19.
Anna Groff is executive director of Dove’s Nest.