Due to school closings and confinement, children (and sometimes their parents) have to work from home. A situation not always obvious. What are the mistakes to avoid so that the work sessions go smoothly? Anne Zanelli and Nada Gilon, two elementary school teachers, give you some tips.
Since Monday March 16, all schools and the childcare facilities are closed until further notice to prevent the spread of Covid-19. In addition, all travel has been restricted since the address by the President of the Republic. Parents’ daily lives are thus turned upside down. Indeed, they sometimes have to juggle between telecommuting, babysitting, and homework help to make sure kids aren’t cut off from school for too long.
For this, they must support and accompany their children when learning the lessons and performing the exercises. This is not easy and can sometimes turn into a nightmare and end in crises or arguments. To avoid these situations, Nada Gilon, primary school teacher for the Academy of Creteil and Anne Zanelli, teacher of a primary school in Orly, gives you some tips to avoid making these sometimes irreparable mistakes.
Mistake # 1: skipping breaks and free time during confinement
As in school, it is important for children to have breaks and free time to have fun and especially to breathe and clear their mind, even if it is only for a few minutes. “It also lets them know that they will be studying another subject after the break”, explains Anne Zanelli. Usually, in primary, the children have a 15-minute break in the morning and another in the afternoon. These moments of respite allow the children to be more attentive after the temporary stop.
Indeed, according to Anne Zanelli and Nada Gilon, it is useless to devote an hour or more to a subject, because after 30 minutes for 6 to 9 years old and 45 minutes for 9 years or more, children are not more concentrated. It is therefore difficult to capture their attention. It is therefore preferable to always separate the work sessions, to take breaks between each subject and to give them free moments during the day to want to let them do what they want. Teacher Nada Gilon says the length of this free time varies, depending on the situation or the child.
Be persistent when your child does not understand the lessons or exercises
“If the child cannot understand a lesson or do an exercise, it does not matter, there is no point in stubbornly trying to make him understand. It is possible to explain concept one to him, two or three times, if he still does not understand, there is no point in doing it six or seven times because it can abrupt him. We must move on to something else “says Nada Gilon. The teacher therefore advises parents to ignore the notion that the child did not understand and to come back to it the next day or two days later because by insisting the child can turn, “develop a blockage towards the notion or duties in general”.
Anne Zanelli agrees with Nada Gilon. “The situation is already quite destabilizing for the child, this moment must not become a source of conflict, anxiety or ordeal for both the child and the parent. If the child does not succeed, we must postpone the work session until it is not an ordeal for him “, says the professor. Anne Zanelli explains that we must see this situation of confinement as a chance to participate in the educational development of her child: “it’s an evil for a good”.
Another mistake: shouting or getting mad at your child
As with the previous error, there is no point in getting upset, raising your voice or yelling at your child when they don’t understand a concept. Your nervousness and your cries can rush him, scare him, destabilize him, hold him up and no longer make him want to work. The attitude to adopt so that the work sessions go smoothly is to be patient and kind. “These are the watchwords when helping your child to work, if you do not feel able to adopt this attitude, it is better to let your child work alone”, says Nada Gilon.
“If the child is facing a difficulty and he does not understand a lesson or cannot assimilate information, he should not be forced to understand it at all costs. We must simply leave this difficulty of aside, write it down so that you can share it with your teacher later, and above all you shouldn’t lose your temper and get angry, on the contrary you have to put things in perspective and stay calm “, says school teacher Anne Zanelli.
Leave your child all day in front of a screen
Between childcare, telecommuting and homework help, it’s understandable that some parents don’t have the energy to be able to occupy or play with their children. However, the solution is not to leave them during breaks, free time or all day in front of their favorite cartoons, either in front of the screensbecause they have multiple harmful effects on health. In addition, “they capture all their attention”, says Anne Zanelli. Children have to be entertained otherwise.
To impose too much rigor during confinement
No need to put pressure and impose too much rigor. “If your child does not feel the urge to work for a day, it does not matter, it should not be forced by saying that there is a schedule to be respected. You can put off learning the next day lessons”, underlines Anne Zanelli.
Go beyond the child’s agenda
“During this confinement period, many parents will want to get ahead of the child’s program, something not to do”, reveals Anne Zanelli. In fact, according to Nada Gilon, children should only review the lessons learned at the start of the school year or in past years, and do the exercises given by the teacher during these times of confinement.
“Do not try to teach your child a new concept because you could do it wrong. As a result, he will always have a hard time understanding it. Parents must also refer to and stick to the teacher’s operating techniques, for example for division methods, because if you teach him a new technique, it can destabilize him and can even make him lose the notion “says Nada Gilon.
If parents feel able to teach their child a new lesson, Anne Zanelli advises them to limit themselves to the child’s program and for that, she recommends that they check the summaries of the textbooks, available on the publishers’ sites. .
Thanks to Nada Gilon, primary school teacher for the Creteil Academy, and to Anne Zanelli, teacher at an Orly primary school.
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