Parenting Tips #1: How Can You Apply Healthy Parenting during Home-based Learning Period?

This week marks the first month of the implementation of Home Learning. While some may do it cheerfully, some are struggling – and to be frank, the joy of Home Learning does not always last. Home Learning will be in effect until the end of the semester, so every parent needs to equip themselves with the right strategy and attitude to tackle the challenges, make the most of Home Learning, and finally finish this semester well. We suggest some practical tips for parents to tackle the challenges in Home Learning.


Take a Break, Manage Your Stress, and Evaluate

The first thing to acknowledge over and over again is that we are not perfect parents and not all of us are professional teachers. Forgive yourself for not always in your 100% version of yourselves at home. There are good days and bad days. Try to be kind to yourself as we all know that the struggle of home learning is experienced by almost all parents worldwide. And most importantly, God understands each of our struggles. You are not alone. Manage your stress, calm down, and take a deep breath.

Try to think reflectively and evaluate your home learning situation, since every parent has a different context that cannot be generalized. Here are some of the things you can consider:

  1. Your children’s traits
  • Age and grade level: Children in the Senior School level should be able to meet the lesson with minimal to no parental support. Younger children in Junior School will naturally need more parental assistance. Toddlers need high parental assistance.
  • Pace and style of learning: Some children learn fast, and others are rather slow. Some children can understand a complex concept in no time, others need more time to digest or simply need further explanation. Also, pay attention to your child’s best style of learning: are they a visual, auditory, reading/writing, or kinesthetic learner? (Read more about the style of learning here)
  • Strengths and weaknesses: Some children learn and finish their tasks well under pressure or a tight deadline, some have “locomotive” energy that does not seem to stop, while others may have a more laid-back approach that needs more in-between break times. The latter is usually having a difficulty to function well under a huge amount of pressure and tends to be overwhelmed easily. Some children may tend to procrastinate and have a lack of self-motivation to learn.
  1. The subject that your children learn and its method of teaching and learning

There are various ways of learning and the method of teaching that can be implemented during Home Learning. Some lessons need more punctuality and discipline. Some lessons are more complex than the other. Some lessons are done in a one-way instruction approach from the teacher with pre-recorded videos. Others use Zoom for online class or meeting that requires more interaction and response. Some teachers give students the task to read books or do hands-on projects with a set deadline. Some activities need more assistance, some are not.

To put it simply, parents need to understand what subject that children are currently studying and its method of learning. Pay attention also to your children’s assessment or exam schedules.

  1. Try to evaluate in which area that this Home Learning needs to improve

Make some personal questions to yourself:

  • In which area do my children need to improve? Is it their discipline or punctuality? Is it their motivation? Is it their focus and attention span?
  • In which area do I, as a parent, need to improve? Is it my way to communicate things with my children? Did I try to impose my child to learn something quickly? Am I being too worried? Did I unconsciously vent my frustration to the children? Make a personal journal if necessary.
  • In which area do the school or teachers need to improve? Is it the conflicting schedule? Is it a way of communicating their expectations? While evaluating this, keep in mind that teachers also continue to give their best and sometimes they struggle too.


Set a Preparation and Make Schedules with Reasonable Expectations

As we continue to stay at home for a longer time, husbands and wives need to start to work on their balance in managing time between helping children with their studies, working from home, and family time. A continual discussion, task-delegations, and strategic planning of children’s weekly schedules are highly recommended.

  1. Making Schedule or Timetables for Younger Children

Parents can make weekly timetables for their children. For parents with younger children (Kindy to Junior School), make the schedule together with your child, so it becomes an agreement between the both of you, and you don’t have to be the one dragging your child to study. A teacher from SPH Pluit Village suggests to divide a Home Learning schedule into 2 to 3 parts a day – don’t stack all the lessons in one day, or your child will quickly get tired and overwhelmed. Be reasonable: children learn best only when they can focus one at a time.

Don’t forget to include age-appropriate breaks between the learning sessions and also to be flexible with any changes or adjustments along the way.

Example of a daily schedule for one-day Home Learning (HL):

  1. Prepare Ahead
    Open the video links of the lesson or print out any materials that are needed beforehand to minimize distraction. This will also reduce too much transition time in between which makes Home Learning less effective.


For Parents with Younger Children: Be More Engaged and Creative

As younger children easily get bored, parents need to be creative to turn their lessons into a fun activity. Some of the teachers may also provide ideas to learn in a fun way.

Parents with younger children need to be more engaged and involved because they need a higher degree of assistance at their age. Parents need to check the emails or SeeSaw and communicate with the teachers more intensely.

And yet, also make room for your children to work or study independently. You certainly don’t want to be a “helicopter parent” who always controls everything and don’t give your children enough space to grow. Therefore, finding the right balance between being involved and letting your child on his/her own is essential.


For Parents with Older Children and Teens: Be Their Mentor and Best Friend

Parents with teenagers need to be more mindful and try not to dictate or impose them. Teenagers are not easy to deal with as they often need more personal space. Instead of being a “bad cop” in the house, you can take the role of a personal mentor and friend. Being a mentor and friend means to give constructive advice, be a good listener, and offer help when needed – not monitoring them 24/7 and make them feel intimidated.


Compliment Your Children

Aside from giving punishment when children misbehave, we also need to remember to give them the reward that they deserve. Praising your children is different than bribing your children – it’s not a bribe, but an appropriate reward after your children have done their tasks well. Give them a verbal compliment or a simple pat on the back. For younger children, give them a hug or a high five, or a “point & reward system”. All of these will be a morale booster for your children to study more excitedly.


Continual Communication with Teachers is Key

This is something that parents need to constantly keep in mind. If anything happens, if you or your children have questions, if something still unclear, communication with teachers is always the key.


Share your Experience with Fellow Parents

The parent community is there for a reason: a platform where you can share any burdens. Try to share your problems or difficulties with other parents, they might have a better solution for you. Or, if you have your own Home Learning success story, sharing it will be very helpful to other parents who are struggling. This is a difficult time for all of us and the community is the best place to uplift and encourage one another.


Devote your Home Learning to God

As you navigate the complexity of Home Learning, get closer to God through prayer and personal devotion. God knows what your struggle is and He can and will help you get through this phase. Parents need to exercise spiritual discipline before they ask their children to do it.

Remind your children also to pray every day before and after Home Learning. It helps you and your children to exercise gratefulness that you can pass another day of Home Learning. It also teaches your children to be dependent on God, not their own strength.

The journey of Home Learning is still pretty long; we are still halfway there. But it will soon pass and all of us can do this together. Instead of grumbling or blaming the situation, take this opportunity to gain new experience as a family. Home Learning is not ideal and it is not always easy, and yet it can be very much rewarding at the end.

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