Distant education in the era of COVID-19 pandemic

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This is an opinionated piece, so please feel free to disagree with what I write here. At the end of the day, I do not claim to have all the answers here, but I aim to provide some important things for those who may be struggling too. My hope is that those will find a place in this article. If you are looking for more content like this, check out my other stories on Medium or follow me on Twitter @jessicabellou.

We live in a world where we can choose how much distance we want to leave from our friends and relatives, and so I feel it’s vital that we focus on how we can become better people and understand others. As part of this new world order, it’s vital that our children learn social skills so that they will be able to thrive when they grow up into adulthood which may mean spending time away from their peers for long periods of time.

It has been said by many people that remote learning is good because it’s easier for students to learn without being there to help them. Although this is true, sometimes it can get very overwhelming for parents if their child is facing significant problems when they start school online at home. For example, as I’m writing this, my 3-year-old daughter has gone downhill very quickly. She needs extra assistance, she wants to go to her class on time and also to help her classmates in the classroom with any extra demands. It seems that she is quite overwhelmed by everything at once. Sometimes she cries when she doesn’t want to play with anyone anymore and she won’t stop crying when someone leaves the room. There is a need for our parents to give her a break so that she does not experience the same stress while dealing with her everyday routine.

If you are a parent who has such a teenager that your kid is experiencing extreme anxiety, it is vital that you take this time away to spend time with them. Most schools have already opened up for remote teaching within a few days, so think about why you are still waiting on your child. How can you continue to watch what and who your child is playing with on-screen if they are having a meltdown from the heat? Being stuck in front of your laptop isn’t helping your child at all.

On top of this mental issue, most teenagers at school now have access to virtual classrooms as well. So what’s your excuse when your child is constantly being bullied at school this whole week? It’s hard enough dealing with bullies in real life, especially when you are far more vulnerable, but they have access to technology as well. Let your child do the things that you do in person! When you are in the middle of something, have a conversation with them, and don’t make excuses for yourself. Your child has to know that you understand what they are going through. They cannot ask anything else. You need to show them that you care and try to listen. Even though they are physically apart, they need someone to talk to them about how they are feeling. That could be their best friend or even their teacher and mentor. Show them that you’re thinking of them and not just your computer screen! We need to find ways to keep everyone safe and not let people bully our children. Our teenage kids need to remember what it’s like to be loved and not just shown off. Try to instill values of kindness and understanding of each other, whatever your family culture or background may be, as long as you stay calm. Don’t use technology to make fun of your child in front of others because it’s only making them worse. Encourage your family member’s friends to visit them during lunch breaks or after school or pick them up from school. Go somewhere together for playdates and treat them like they are your best friend even if they aren’t really friends. Make sure you have time aside to make a sandwich for both girls and your girl can talk to you about her feelings. Use technology wisely and create moments that your child feels comfortable sharing and creating a nice environment in their room.

Parents could also put a lot of effort into finding solutions to school work so that they can help their child in the “real world”. Having access to technology should only serve the purpose of homework or studying. Kids learn from what they see and so it seems that watching videos of doing homework is a bit pointless and boring for their children. It takes the mind to figure our stuff out as well, so as not to push ourselves. Instead, they should sit at their desk with a pen and paper, using flashlights as light sources, and then turn off the lights on-screen and allow themselves to do their own thing. Set timers so that they have enough time to complete their books, but without having excessive expectations. Give them time to think about their feelings instead of being pushed around. Give them toys and make sure they’re used to playing with them. Just allow them to create some imaginative tasks until they feel they find their feet and get back into reading and doing their homework. With every video that you watched, you had to pause and think. Now that you have a solution in place, allow your child to create memories and experiences and make a memory board. Tell them about all of the objects they created and let them decide which ones to keep. Keep an array of toys on your desk so that they only have to select certain items. Help your child build up memory for every activity that they like to do. Not everybody likes doing this, and it’s hard for the brain but it’s crucial that they remember how hard they can be because later they will be pushing their limits. When you don’t see your child as being different than others because other kids have access to technology or the internet, they feel less pressured to succeed. Maybe you want to set up a camera so that you can check in on them every minute or even every hour. After all of their stresses, help them relax with you by letting them get away from their screens. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in our busy lives, but it’s hard on children. These are the kids that have grown into adults, and they are not ready for the challenges ahead. Be kind and let them have some time to themselves so that when they are older, they have more support, and they can fully appreciate the opportunities of today instead of having to wonder “Why me?”

Finally, help them remember that they are valuable beings who deserve to have everything. Everybody is the master of their body, so help teach them to respect each other. What has happened at school this week has taught my children that they are valued and seen as part of society. As an adult and a mother, it’s our responsibility not only to bring up our children but to help them to be great adults who care and love. Do not judge their behavior or actions just because you were in that room. People can change and are capable of changing, so why not give them this chance to be happy without worrying about what others will say in front of their face. Everyone deserves to live.

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