It’s no secret that now more than ever, children are learning at home as more schools have begun offering online learning due to the effects of the pandemic. However, with many parents also working remotely, it can be difficult at times to keep your child engaged and motivated while learning online. However, it doesn’t have to be a point of contention, as long as you’re a little flexible and inventive.
At Playgarden Prep, we’ve developed an online preschool curriculum designed to keep kids learning and having fun while also making it as easy as possible for parents to participate in the process. We’re dedicated to helping your child learn and reach their goals, just like you are as a parent.
Here we’ve collected some tips to help ensure that this happens and to continue to make online preschool and homeschooling as informative and engaging as possible!
The First Steps
To get started and motivate your child for their online homeschool or preschool classes, there are a number of ways to get them inspired, such as:
- Leading By Example: One of the best ways young children learn is by copying others, especially their parents or siblings, so leading by example can be a great way to help them make the most out of their online learning experience. Keeping a consistent approach and a positive attitude is a great way to inspire them. You can also show them real-life examples from books or movies that might help spark their interest as well.
- Checking In Regularly: Another way to ensure your child stays on task is by checking in with them regularly to see what’s motiving them. Children can have short attention spans so what might have served as motivational tools last year (stars for being good or an extra snack) might not be the same this year. Ask them how they’re feeling and if there’s anything you can do to help, as well as what they’re trying to accomplish to get a better idea of what inspires them and the goals they’re working toward.
- Offering Praise Often: When your child is working, offer them praise often to help inspire them and make them stay focused on learning. Take notice of how they’re progressing and offer praise and encouragement when it’s due. This will help illustrate how proud you are of them and make them strive to impress you more.
- Help them Build their Work Ethic: Bolstering your child’s attention and motivation in the online classroom is much easier if you also work in tandem on building up their work ethic. This is because although online preschool and learning from home might be temporary, but a love for learning a problem-solving can last a lifetime. When you discuss their schoolwork or homework with them, try to place emphasis on the skills they’ll be learning, as well as fostering a sense of accomplishment and following through on things. You’d be surprised at how quickly these things can become a habit with the right encouragement. You can ask to tap into the same energy as some of the other things that inspire them, whether it’s playing games with their friends, or their love for dancing.
6 Motivational Strategies for Preschoolers
- Maintain a System of Accountability
One of the best strategies for keeping your child motivated is by maintaining a system of accountability when it comes to their online preschool duties. If you find it difficult to maintain a sense of accountability with your child, their friends or peers likely can, so schedule regular check-ins with friends, family members, and peers that will talk to them about what they’re doing in school.
Much in the same way that children learn by example, they also thrive with a sense of habit and routine, as do adults. Implementing a familiar daily routine that involves sticking to a schedule, using tools online that will track their progress and checking in with them occasionally can also be beneficial. Additionally, there are site blockers, digital checklists, and other things that can keep them on task!
Providing rewards for a job well done and incentivizing learning is a great way to keep preschoolers motivated. For example, if they finish a particular task or learning module, schedule some extra time for them to play their favorite board game or hit the swings in the backyard for fifteen minutes with you. Every little bit helps.
- Make Online School Time Something Special
Sure there won’t be any in-class pizza parties or birthday celebrations, but that doesn’t mean you still can make your child’s online preschool experience special. You can plan a Zoom celebration online or a class party and invite friends and family, or have a trivia night or watch a movie together. Be creative and you’ll think of something inspiring and fun.
- Continue the Learning Outside of the Classroom
One other great way to inspire a love for learning and self-discovery in your preschool is to continue the learning process in a fun way outside the classroom. If they’ve been learning about plants, plan a trip to the botanical garden if it’s open; if they’ve just learned about the solar system, download a stargazing app to use together on your smartphone or tablet.
Many children respond well to visual learning, as well as when it comes to tracking their progress, so try keeping a chart or calendar for them to update each day. You can mark how far they’ve come and how much more time it will take for them to reach their daily, weekly, or monthly goals.
Now, having a routine is a good idea, but it’s also good to mix things up every once in a while and go off-script occasionally. This will keep the online learning experience both fun and unexpected. You can get creative when it comes to adding some variety by:
- Changing up the Times: You can switch around the times for online learning to add a sense of variety to your preschooler’s day. If you’re working from home or taking care of the kids during the day, then there’s nothing that says you can start and end school a little earlier or later on some days, putting aside some time to do something special.
- Break the Day Up: Just like you have breaks in a traditional brick-and-mortar school, or at the office, so too do children need such breaks throughout the day when learning from home. Scheduling break times can help them stay focused and make certain they’re not overdoing it and the time spent in front of the computer learning is of the utmost quality.
- Try to Experiment: Don’t be afraid to experiment a little when it comes to online homeschooling to see what works best. For example, if your child is having a tough time making it through their reading assignment, turn it into an audio assignment; if they’re reading a book and struggling, look for the same book on tape.
3 Trouble-Shooting Tips
Sometimes, homeschooling such a young child is easier said than done, but it’s important to stay motivated and not despair. There are some things you can do if you run into roadblocks, such as:
- Adjusting Expectations: Not every child learns at the same pace. Sometimes, online curriculum modules take longer for some to complete than others, so if this is the case for your child, don’t be afraid to adjust the expectations a little to make their pace more comfortable. Celebrate victories and set a daily minimum they need to accomplish, with consequences if they don’t; then, start fresh the next day.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help: If you’re struggling to keep your child focused and on track, don’t be afraid to ask for help and appeal to their teachers, especially if your child has a favorite one. It’s their job to offer insight into how your child learns best, so don’t be afraid to reach out for some additional help when needed.
- Rule Out Other Underlying Issues: Sometimes, when children are having trouble completing their online preschool assignments or can’t focus, there’s another issue at play. Talk with them and make sure that it’s not an external issue they’re struggling with that’s impacting their motivation and focus. Additionally, if they seem like they need to take a break for a while, let them. Being stuck inside behind the computer can be just as stressful for them sometimes as it might be for you.
Contact us today for more about online preschool and homeschooling!
For those who want to learn more about teaching their child from the comfort of their own home, the team from Playgarden Prep would love to tell you more about our online preschool curriculum. For more information, contact us online today or call (646) 504-4716.