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A brief overview

While we have all slowly started to adjust to the new way of going about our daily lives during the COVID19 outbreak, many people are still struggling to adapt to the new system of virtual learning and the added demands of being a parent with children learning at home. Parents are not only having to take on the role of caretakers while juggling the demands of the world of work, but many are also having to become teachers at home too. 

We know that the additional stress of having to guide your child step-by-step through the whole process can be taxing. 

That’s why we’ve put together this virtual learning survival guide to help you maintain balance in your personal life and achieve your health and wellness goals – all while helping your poppets learn at home. To all the parents out there, we hear you and we’re here to help.

What is virtual learning and why do parents find it so stressful?

Virtual learning is a web-based learning environment that allows students to access learning materials and resources using the internet at home. Virtual learning can often be stressful for both the parent and child, and this new way of accessing the classroom may be unfamiliar for children who are used to the type of face-to-face interaction they usually receive at school. It may be particularly difficult for the younger ones to adjust to learning with a lot less physical contact. 

This new way of learning may also create a lot of instability for you as a parent. Suddenly your regular routine has been disrupted and your carefully thought-out schedule has to expand to fit in those extra responsibilities. Virtual learning often means that parents need to put aside some time to help guide their children through the online learning process. Often, children need to be shown how to use this new technology – and you may not even know how to use an online learning system yourself yet. This can be really stressful for parents who are not naturally very tech-savvy. 

But, there’s no reason to panic yet. With a little patience and practice, the process will get easier and easier each time. The important thing to remember is not to absorb this stress. It’s essential that you prevent any unnecessary anxiety from affecting your health, your healing and your well-being. 

The two different types of virtual learning  

There are different types of online learning, each which requires a different degree of support from you as a parent. For example, fully virtual classroom classes are presented synchronously online where students and teachers attend live lessons. This means that it may require a lot less constant attention from your side as you can simply set the lesson up on the computer and the teacher will take it from there. 

However when doing asynchronous online lessons, learners are able to attend pre-recorded classes at any time of the day. While this is the most flexible system and it could help you better fit their lessons around your busy schedule, it may require you to set a more structured routine for your little one. There’s a greater need to create a more disciplined approach to learning here so that the required work gets done and lessons are not skipped or missed. So, what’s the best way to set a study-at-home schedule? 

Setting a schedule and creating a sense of stability 

Learning online at home often means that there is no set timetable or structured routine in the way that there is at school. For both child and parent, this process can be disruptive and some order might alleviate a bit of tension on both sides. By coming up with a fun daily schedule that allows time for learning, outdoor activities and playtime, it might ease some of your anxiety while giving your child the time to take a break and recharge. This gap would also allow you the space to get some of your own work done in between lessons. 

Try to make the learning process as natural as possible. Instead of trying to generate an hour-by-hour timetable, set aside a number of hours a day you’d like to dedicate to class time and allow time for activities such as sport or normal extracurriculars and maybe even have some fun baking a new sweet treat. The trick is to have reasonable expectations. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Some days might be really productive and other days you may not get through everything that you hoped you would – and that’s okay! 

Parenting

Challenges to learning and stress-free fixes 

Despite the new and unfamiliar challenges that come with virtual learning, there are some small tweaks you can make to your daily routine that will help you manage this new learning system with ease and make the transitions as smooth as possible. So, what are the most common learning problems children have and how do you tackle them?

1. Frequently distracted

If your child is having trouble focusing, it helps to choose a designated study space and remove all potential distractions such as toys or games that are not educational. Whether you decide to set their study area up in your office or in your living room, ensure that this place is quiet, organized and free to be used at any time. 

This doesn’t mean that the room has to be plain and uninspiring. Decorate the room with fun posters, drawing boards or stickers to make the room a place that your child feels comfortable to learn in and excited to be in. Try to make the decoration process a team effort and maybe even paint the walls a fun bright colour together. It’s been said that green is the color of concentrating, and that colour can influence learning by increasing focus. So why not give it a try?

Another idea is to try and meditate or start a daily yoga routine together with your child every morning. It’s never too early to start these types of healing and mind-management techniques. Go out into the garden, find a beautiful spot and place your yoga mats next to each other. Try to do the different yoga poses together or simply let your child sit there quietly and appreciate the sound of the trees and the birds. Meditation is the perfect tool to increase mental focus and improve concentration. This simple morning routine sets a great tone for the day and could help your child learn better later in the classroom while allowing you to have a few minutes each day where you can clear your mind and truly unwind.  

2.  Lack of motivation 

Encouraging online learning can be difficult. But there are a few easy changes that you can make to get your child excited to learn and steer clear of any resistance. Try get them more involved by creating to-do lists and let them tick off everything they’ve finished they go. This will give them a sense of accomplishment and will make them more eager to learn. You could also come up with little things to reward them every time they complete a difficult lesson – such as including more free time and playtime outside for good work. Small things like setting out some healthy snacks to boost their energy might also make a big difference. If they are feeling tired or frustrated, do some fun exercise together outside to get the blood rushing.

While a good study schedule is essential, it might be de-motivating to do the same thing everyday. It’s important to get out of the study space every now and again and have some fun. Run, take a walk or play catch outside – whatever works best for you. A change of scenery and some mild physical activity could be a real game-changer. With these simple adjustments, you’ll maintain a better work-play balance, renew energy, and allow your little ones to go back studying with a clear mind and more motivation. This time outside also gives you the chance to work on your own physical fitness and well-being at the same time.

3. Trouble understanding the content 

No child is the same and while some may adapt easily to this new way of learning, it may take some more time and practice for others. But there’s no need for this to cause a spike in your stress levels. Some confusion is only natural when it comes to something as new as this. As a parent, it’s essential to learn when to let go of these small issues and refrain from absorbing any unnecessary stress. This is the perfect opportunity to practice the art of letting go and effectively manage your anxiety. This tool could really impact your mental health positively over time. 

The secret is patience and approaching the issue with a problem-solving mindset instead of frustration. There are a variety of solutions and a whole range of available resources to assist your child if this method of learning doesn’t work for them the right way. Expand your learning resources to incorporate online tools like PBS kids and CoolMath which will give your little one the extra help they need to engage with the content by explaining these lessons in a different way. Also try looking at something like K-12’s online classes for other types of learning activities to continue school at home during coronavirus. 

Most importantly, make sure that they know they can always ask for help, and be sure to encourage them and applaud them for their progress. You’ll see, they’ll get the hang of it in no time.  

Your health and happiness 

It’s important in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of life to remember to stop and appreciate the good moments. Everyday you can make small changes to take active steps to live a more meaningful life. With the everyday stresses and a never-ending rush, these easy-to-implement, small lifestyle-focussed changes could make a real difference in the state of your mental health and wellbeing. Practices like daily exercise, positive mind training through meditation or yoga and healthy eating habits can do wonders for developing a more positive outlook.

Also be sure to put aside an hour in the day to take a hot bath and spend some time alone with your thoughts. Go into the garden with your favorite book and spend a few minutes allowing mind and body to get in sync with nature, free from any distractions. Make time to focus on your own health and happiness everyday. 

How WellBe can help

At WellBe&Co, our goal is always to help you live as healthy and stress-free as possible. We know that it’s important to try and balance your responsibilities as a parent with your needs as an individual. That’s why we want to give you the right tools to help you live a more mindful and meaningful life. 

Follow our Instagram page to get daily tips and updates about new workouts, healthy eating and inspirational messages that will get you moving towards a more wholesome way of living in no time. We also have weekly blog posts just like this to keep you motivated and help you tackle the week ahead. Our better body blueprint training guide is also a great way to get your fitness journey underway. 

Start the process of achieving a happier, healthier and wellthier you with WellBe&Co today.

Gemma Oberholzer

About Gemma Oberholzer

I guess you can say I'm a serial self-improver. Since I was a kid I can remember being weirdly thrilled at the idea of learning something new and figuring out how to use that new found knowledge to better myself. This perpetual learn-grow itch eventually lead me to the field of Health and Wellness and it's here I've been, fascinated for the last 8 years of my study and work life. From Human Life Scientist and learning the mechanics of physiology and intricacies of metabolic biochemistry, to Food and Nutrition Scientist where I deepened my understanding of diet and it's key role in human performance and health. Geared with this comprehensive education and better appreciation for human health, I've since been able to practically apply this in my career through the fields of research, product development, brand management and marketing. In 2018, I was finally able to bring all these learnings together and so my passion project, WellBe&Co, was born. WellBe&Co is a personal and corporate wellness company specializing in easy-to-implement, lifestyle-focused nutrition, training and health solutions. It's here that I've gained invaluable insights into the human-side of the health and wellness industry in a way that has enabled me to provide relevant content and value-adding services to individuals and companies alike and live out our mission to build communities that know better and grow together through better health.

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