Here are some tips for parents to make online learning successful in your home. CHOOSE YOUR CHILDS ONLINE LEARNING SPACE It is important to allocate a quiet, dedicated, and comfortable spot for your child’s online learning as it will help them focus better. Ideally, they should sit at a table or desk that is clear of clutter. Please note that sitting on the sofa is not recommended by medical professionals due to poor lumbar support. THINK ABOUT LIGHTING AND POSTURE Make sure that your child’s monitor is sitting on a desk that has good lighting but is not in direct sunlight as it will be difficult for them to see the screen through the glare. To reduce eye strain, lower the device brightness and make sure there is at least 20 inches between the eye and the screen. Also encourage your child to take breaks between classes by looking away from the screen. They can also do some simple eye exercises like palming, blinking, rolling, and focusing eyes etc. As a parent you need to pay special attention to your child’s posture as it plays an important role in their concentration. The best way to sit in front of a monitor is an adjustable chair so their feet can be placed flat on the floor and the chair height adjusted such that their eyes look slightly down at the screen. Arm rests on the chair will help too. GET FAMILIAR WITH THE LEARNING PLATFORM IN ADVANCE No matter how tech savvy you are, finding your way around any new platform can take a few minutes to get used to. Make sure that you have familiarized yourself with the online learning space in advance of the class to avoid wasting time sorting out basic things such as logging in and using the platform. LOGIN EARLY Always aim to have your child ready with their laptop/desktop/smartphone/tablet on and ready a good 5-10 minutes before their lesson is due to start. This will avoid anyone feeling flustered and will give them time to log in properly. CHECK YOUR NETWORK CONNECTION It is worth checking internet connection strength before your child’s online class, allowing time to resolve any issues or restart it if it is not running as it should. ENSURE DEVICES ARE FULLY CHARGED This is the most important tip of all the tips to help your child with their online learning. If the device that your child is using runs out of battery in the middle of a class, you will waste valuable time trying desperately to find a charger and get back online. To avoid this, make sure that the device your child is using is fully charged before your child gets started and he/she has a backup charger or device nearby if possible. USE HEADPHONES If possible, encourage your child to use headphones as it will help block out any unwanted noise and distractions in the house and help your child focus better. LIMIT DISTRACTIONS Make sure that the television and music is turned off. Keep toys, electronic devices and other distractions away and out of sight. Wherever possible, keep siblings and other family members out of the room to avoid them from interrupting your child’s online class HAVE A BOTTLE WATER AVAILABLE DURING THE CLASS Make sure that your child has access to a water in a water bottle to avoid spills. MAINTAIN A SCHEDULE Ideally encourage your child to maintain the same schedule that they used to follow when they were going to school. You may have to enforce a “digital quarantine” to keep your child’s attention focused on the schoolwork. Until your child has completed the schoolwork limit the use of electronic gadgets other than what is needed to complete the schoolwork. You can also allow your child to play on a device during a designated break time but make sure they are aware that it is for a limited time. MAKE SURE THEY ARE READY FOR THEIR ONLINE CLASS Children will function best if they maintain their routine as close to normal as possible. Hungry children find it hard to focus, so ensure that they have had a snack or meal before their scheduled online class. Younger children especially will need reminding to go to the toilet before their classes start to avoid having to miss the class with a trip to the bathroom. DON’T LET YOUR CHILD TREAT THIS AS AN EXTENDED VACATION This time at home might feel like a vacation for your child, but it is important to remind them that their education still comes first. Homework, worksheets, tests etc. are important and will not be going away just because classes have moved online. GET FEEDBACK FROM YOUR CHILD After the online class is done for the day, get feedback from your child. Did they enjoy it? Did they face any connectivity issues? What did they learn that day? BE AROUND, BUT DON’T INTERFERE If your child is having online classes, it is important that a parent/adult is around to help with any technical issues that they may need help with such as connectivity. Parents should also periodically observe to make sure that the child is taking notes and not zoning out. This needs to be done without interfering with the learning process. If you find that your child is not engaging with lessons, please do reach out to the teachers for help.Please note that it is also important that you give them enough space to engage with their teachers and maximize their learning. KEEP IN TOUCH WITH TEACHERS AND OTHER PARENTS Make sure you are in touch with other parents and teachers virtually. You can use the WhatsApp class group SEI has created to share tips, describe any problems with the learning materials, seek help etc. Also, it is important that you check the WhatsApp group regularly for announcements and feedback from the teachers during the school day and respond where appropriate. Please make sure you communicate with the teachers if your child is not able to complete the assigned tasks or needs more support. ALLOW YOUR CHILD TO INTERACT WITH CLASSMATES via VIDEO CHATS Parents need to be mindful that being confined at home for a long period of time can cause a lot of stress for the child. The child will also be missing live social interactions they had with their classmates in school during these online classes. So, to avoid them from feeling socially isolated until it is safe for in-person interaction to resume it is important that you allow them to interact with their classmates online, beyond social media or text messaging. Video chats/facetime are often the closest thing to seeing someone in person but make sure you set the ground rules for social media interactions.