How Parents Can Help Kids Thrive as Online Learners

Lizzie Ottenstein
Shreejana Mainali
A parent guiding a child with online learning using a laptop.

Teachers and students have adjusted to online learning at this point, but what about parents? Some parents are struggling to keep their kids focused and engaged learning at home while juggling work and home life. If you’re a parent whose child is learning online, here are a few tips to help best adapt and thrive in the new normal. 

Create a distraction-free study space

Kids nowadays are more distracted than ever and being home certainly doesn’t help. Kids are bound to get sidetracked by TV, apps, video games, phones, or toys. To keep kids focused, parents should create a work conducive learning environment with limited distraction in a quiet part of the house. Organize necessary things like a desk, chair, computer, internet access, and a printer so Make sure your kid has everything they need to concentrate on their assignments and do them well. 

Set up a schedule (and stick to it!) 

Maintaining a school schedule at home in the absence of an actual classroom and teacher can be a challenge for some kids. To help maintain a schedule while learning online, parents should help their kids make a weekly schedule that works with online school. Discuss class schedules, assignment deadlines, and other commitments. Print out the schedule and hang it up in your kid’s study space as a daily reminder of what lies ahead. 

Let your kid play teacher

Students learning online may need an extra push to get and remain engaged with class material. British psychotherapist Philippa Perry gave some advice for parents that may come in handy: have your child teach you what they learn. This will help them consolidate what they learned and give you an idea of your child’s learning style and their level of understanding. The best way to learn is to teach! 

Learn your kid’s online learning platform 

It’s crucial for parents to be familiar with the platform their kid is using to learn. Request an orientation from their instructors and ask a lot of questions to make sure you’re able to navigate it. Monitor your child’s progress through this platform, how they’re using it, and whether or not they’re submitting assignments on time. 

Celebrate accomplishments

Keep your kid engaged and motivated by rewarding them for their accomplishments — it can actually increase motivation! Give your kid some positive reinforcement by reminding them they’re doing a great job and encourage them to keep up the good work. 

Navigating online learning is a new experience for all parents and is especially challenging given the demands of COVID-19. Doing the things above can make the online learning process easier for you and your child. Kids look up to their parents. The most important part of online learning might just come from you. Set a good example for your kid as you both adapt to the online learning environment together.