Side effects and steps to cope with it
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
The covid situation today has forced us to adapt to changes which are both different and difficult. Adults are adapting to working from home and schools are switching to online learning for children . The way Education was imparted has turned around. While teachers are surely doing every bit required to suit the syllabus for e-learning . The stress that a parent as well as the child are going through are plenty. This transition from classroom based learning to online classes can be a challenge as children are not used to this structure. It’s a totally new way of learning for them .
Students are feeling demotivated and confused as there is no physical contact with their teachers and peers. Schools follow a structured pattern of studies throughout the year which cannot be implemented while at home .
Though the human resource development ministry has asked schools to limit screen time for students, many institutes are not following the new directions.
With parents working from home and giving full time to kids as well, it’s a tough situation for everyone.
As a mother of a teenager ( in junior college) and a toddler ( in junior kg) I am going through 2 different phases of children’s anxiety.
They both are showing varied behaviour patterns which has forced me to pen this article.
Negative Effects of Online Learning:
1)Behavioural changes in students is a major repercussion to long hours of internet based learning. Excessive arguments, refusals, opposition, defiance and withdrawal are common changes noticed by parents.They are getting cranky , restless and have increased mood swings.
2)Is E-learning enabling thorough learning? The answer to this cannot be completely justified but according to a survey in Sacramento California, children marked that they could not understand a concept taught online, thoroughly .A few students said the online classes were irritating and tiring. They feel they are not learning ANYTHING.
3)Health issues cropping up for students : eye strain, headaches and stress induced complaints. Redness and itching in eyes is the most common problem students are facing.
Many parents complain that long term online classes are adding to obesity and disturbed sleep patterns.
3)Screen fatigue is a major physical side effect on students resulting in shorter attention span. Online learning added to OTT ( Netflix , Prime) viewing has increased screen fatigue in older students.
With restrictions on going out , OTT is the only outlet of entertainment for children.
4)No face to face interaction. Mark Edmundson, an English professor at the University of Virginia, argued in a Time opinion piece that online education creates a “monologue and not a real dialogue” . It develops social isolation in children.
These are a few of the negatives of the current system of online classes. And especially in the case of younger students mostly below 10, keeping them engaged requires a one-on-one contact. It gets worse for them.
How to deal with this type of stress:
At the moment, first and foremost it is important for parents and teachers to acknowledge the anxiety that students might be feeling.
* Be kind and understanding of children. This is the first time for students studying on a computer as well. They are being robbed of playtime, regular school hours, their friends and many other things.
* Listen to them. Keep aside an hour or so just to hear them out. Comprehend what they are feeling , their fears, their apprehension. Have open conversations. They should feel comfortable to speak to you or your partner.
* Break time is most needed. Make sure to derive maximum physical movements during stipulated break time . Ask them to move around in the house and engage with siblings. In my case, my son invariably starts playing with my little one and is easily refreshed.
* Finding some time to relax to destress is critical, especially during a challenging time like this. Things which you as a family can enjoy , you must explore. Keep weekends for family fun times.
* Sleep is the most powerful drug for anyone . A proper sleep schedule for children will help ease brain fog and stress. They will be refreshed following a good sleep time table.
* Physical exercise . Importance of it cannot be overlooked. Increase in productivity and concentration is a positive output of any physical activity that your child wants to indulge in . Be sure to help them be regular. My son strives his best to squeeze in 30 minutes of exercise which makes him feel sharper and alert throughout the day.
*Sunlight is a natural source of Vitamin D . And daily sunlight exposure can improve your sleep quality and also strengthen your immune system.
Get outside on the terraces or gardens for some sunshine.
* Nutrition is also another important tool which can eliminate negativity and stress in children. Giving them a balanced nutritious diet also helps.
Because a healthy outside starts from the inside.
The best way to teach children these self-care strategies is for parents to follow them too. The above mentioned points are definitely helping me deal with my teenager , easing him into the online learning schedule.
I also want to point out a few things that I have been doing to make my toddler adapt to online learning. While the above points are generic and mostly adaptable by older children , the below mentioned tips are very specific. They could be useful (or not) for your little one , I cannot guarantee. You must give them a try.
* Starting out , I try to set the mood of my very demanding daughter . I indulge her with a breakfast which she likes and not force feed at all.
* Playtime of 15-20 mins exclusive to her before her online class , and I know for sure it’s a good day. ( no crankiness before the class)
* Bath time waits till we finish the class . But dress up is a must. Dressing her in her favourite t-shirt or dress is a mood-changer.
(And a game winner !!)
* To keep her occupied when the teacher is teaching , I give her colouring books and her favourite crayons. ( Yes , I colour with her as
well). At least she’s at her study table and ends up listening to her teacher. Yayyy!!! Helpful !!
These are a few pointers which help me in making my daughter sit through her online class. In Spite of all these, there are days that she throws tantrums and does not want to study. It’s Okay!!. We have to understand that sitting in front of a computer or an iPad is very strenuous for them. It cannot be a substitute for their teachers and they are trying.
Stars 🌟 and smileys😃 and a few cookies 🍪 are motivation as well and a little bribe never hurt anyone, right ?
Try these points and let me know if they helped . Some days will be nice
Some will be very grinding..
We have to be patient
and very understanding…..
This too shall pass !!!!!
And they will be back in their classrooms soon!!!
*Nidhi Singh *