As a parent, what is my role, and what can I do to best support my child’s education?
Page 1: What Is My Role?
As schools continue to respond to the impact of COVID-19, you are probably supporting your child’s learning at home. You may be doing this while adjusting to the “new normal,” whatever that looks like for you. All of this might feel overwhelming and stressful.
Take a deep breath! Here’s something very important to remember: Supporting your child’s learning doesn’t mean you have to take on the role of the teacher. You don’t have to recreate the school day. And you don’t have to teach an entire lesson.
Keep in Mind
As a parent, you are constantly helping your child learn something. Maybe it’s how to ride a bike, do chores, or get along with others. Supporting learning isn’t a new role. Now you’re just supporting a different type of learning.
So what do you have to do? What does “support learning” actually mean? It means that you:
- Create a time and space for your child to learn. For information on getting your child ready to learn, see Page 2.
- Encourage your child to learn and to do any work that is assigned. For more about how to find out what your child should be learning, see Page 3.
- Answer your child’s questions or help when needed.
- Balance learning with social and emotional needs. For more information on how to support your child socially and emotionally, see Page 6.
By this point, you’ve probably had to reorganize your daily life. You might have changed your schedule or set up temporary learning spaces for you and your child or children. Whether you’ve been supporting your child’s learning for several weeks or are just getting started, the tips below might be helpful.
- Prioritize your needs. There’s a lot on your plate right now. It’s hard to do everything, so decide what’s most important for your family each day.
- Relax your expectations. The house might not be as clean as you want. Your child might have more screen time than normal. It’s OK!
- Start slow. It’s hard to make a lot of changes at once. Start with one subject, maybe the one your child enjoys most. When that’s going smoothly, add another.
- Take a break. This time can be stressful. So take a break and do something fun. This is a great opportunity to make special memories with your kids.
- Make changes as needed. At the end of each week, think about what worked and what didn’t (the schedule, learning spaces). If something didn’t work, it’s OK to try something else. Remember, this is new. It may take several tries to figure it all out.
- Take care of yourself. It’s important for you to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. It might be as simple as finding a few moments of alone time or getting enough sleep. You can’t take care of others if you’re not healthy.
- Don’t feel guilty. It’s alright if everything isn’t perfect. You’re probably dealing with a lot right now, and it takes time to adjust.
- Remember, this is temporary. It may be weeks or months before children return to school, but eventually they will.
Keep in Mind
You know as well as we do: Every kid is different. Some are constantly on the move, others prefer quiet activities. Some like structure, others prefer to do their own thing on their own schedule. Some zip through learning activities, others struggle with these tasks.
You know your child best. As you read through the following pages, keep in mind that you might have to adjust the tips to meet your own needs or those of your child. This may be particularly true for kids who struggle with learning or for kids with disabilities.