Expert advice on how to help your child study effectively at home

Expert advice on how to help your child study effectively at home

Avika Daya, an educational psychologist from Budding Minds, shares advice on how to ensure your child continues to learn during the lockdown.

Parents reading a book with daughter
Parents reading a book with daughter/ iStock

Schools in South Africa were supposed to close on March 20 and open on March 31. Due to the coronavirus, they were closed two days earlier and will only be open after midnight on Thursday, 16 April 2020. 

READ: Education dept issues guidelines for schools on coronavirus

This has left many parents and pupils worried about the impact this will have on studies. 

Daya, an educational psychologist, says it is normal for both parents and their children to be concerned. 

She says parents can help ease their children’s minds by first acknowledging their feelings. 

“Let them know that it's completely okay to be feeling anxious and concerned,” says Daya.

“Parents should then normalise the situation by reminding their children that everyone in the country is in the same boat.  They are not alone in what they are feeling and they are not alone in thinking about how this affects their studies. This situation is best taken one day at a time."

One of the ways to deal with frustration is to keep them occupied. 

Daya says parents can encourage their children to use their creativity to relieve stress.

“If they are open to it, they can use a creative outlet to relax the mind, such as drawing or painting or even writing about their feelings in a journal,” she says. 

READ: Choosing the right course to study after matric

She also warns against spending too much time on social media. 

“It is important to not be continuously consumed by the news and social media as this can increase anxious feelings,” warns Daya.

READ: Can the excessive use of social media lead to depression?

How to help your child to continue learning at home

Daya says the first thing is to know which subjects or concepts your child struggles with.

“Make a list, or get your child to make a list of the concepts they are struggling with and put some time into strengthening those areas.  If it is a concept you as a parent don't know too much about, search on the internet or video call a tutor for some assistance,” she says. 

Daya adds that another way to effectively study is to allocate specific time to study. 

READ: 5 effective activities you can do to prepare your child for school

“Stick to some kind of routine or daily schedule.  This doesn't have to be overly organised and anxiety-provoking.  Important things to include may be allocating a set amount of time to school revision (or reading of new chapters in the textbook, so that you are prepared once school reopens) and some outdoor activity to keep active and healthy,” she says. 

Apart from having a schedule, Daya says parents should set goals. 

“Create small realistic goals for each day that your child needs to accomplish. Remember that if there are some day's during the lockdown when your child feels completely demotivated and doesn't want to do anything, that's also normal.  We're all trying to figure this out together,” she says. 

It is also important to set aside time for rest. School holidays are meant to be a time where children get to relax.

"Another aspect to remember is that if part of the lockdown coincides with what was supposed to be your school holidays, enjoy some of the time off," she concludes.

READ: Prepare your child mentally for school

Image courtesy of iStock/ fizkes

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