The coronavirus is forcing grade school students to change from traditional face-to-face classrooms to online learning. This can be difficult, not only for students, but for parents who are helping their children through this transition.

“I would tell parents to be patient and keep a positive attitude,” said Melissa Dawn Gatlin, Ph.D., LSC-University Park associate professor of education.

 “Children look to adults to gauge how they are supposed react to new situations. Stay calm and your child will be less anxious about learning in a new way,”she said.

A critical component of academic success is a good study environment. The location should match the age and ability of the student. It also can depend on the personality of the student and what the student is learning. Having one or two places set aside in the home for school is a good idea.

“Some children study well in their room away from the noise of the house,” said Gatlin. “However, some younger children need the guidance of an adult as they work so a kitchen or dining room table would work best.”

When it comes to advice for parents, Gatlin offers these suggestions; “I would ask parents to remember two things; first, try to be patient with your child’s teachers. Many of them have never taught online and they are being asked to do their job in a completely different way. Second is to relax. Do not feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. Children are resilient. They can rise above struggles and continue to learn.”

Good communication skills are also critical for success in online learning. Connecting with your child’s teacher now can help both you and your child understand what is expected of them. It’s also a good idea to send a quick email once a week checking in with the teacher, regardless of the age of your child.

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