Maintaining the growth of your children’s social skills during quarantine homeschooling
Author: Mancie Silloriquez
Learning institutions have now resolved to online education for children to continue schooling in the safety of their homes. This method will most likely stick through until the end of the school year or even for a longer-term depending on the progress of COVID-19 prevention.
Now that children spend all their time at home, chances for social interactions are scarce. Social development is a crucial part of growth to become an ethical well-versed adult, especially in the critical age of 3 to 11 years old.
Importance of Social Development
Socialization at a young age builds a framework for a child’s sense of self and skills that will be retained for the rest of their lives. This activity will allow the development of empathy, discipline, values, and beliefs they will adhere to when interacting with people of different relations.
As we may face longstanding cultural changes due to the pandemic, with activities all online, gaps may appear in kids’ social development. This may instigate dependency on virtual rather than personal interactions for health and safety.
Luckily, kids are resilient so long as parents are continuously supportive of their well-being—providing structure in day-to-day activities and constantly initiating two-way communication.
Nurturing Social Skills Through Online Education
With the right amount of involvement in their activities and homeschooling, parents can establish a routine for their children to become socially engaged. So as pillars of their development, how can parents instill necessary social skills in their kids who are stuck at home?
1. Teach and practice sensibility
Studies show kids who are heavy screen users will tend to focus on their own needs and cultivate a self-centered behavior that will cause social problems. Online education is necessary but moderate screen time to fair use.
Injecting regular non-tech activities in your kids’ daily routine will allow focus on personal interaction and improve social cognitive skills to read and react to people and feelings. Letting them take part in cooking, gardening, active play, or family time will teach children how to navigate relationships and be sensible towards people’s thoughts and emotions.
2. Let learning happen in groups
Appreciating and responding to emotional cues are vital skills children learn in school. With online distance learning, family members are their only resource for interpersonal skills. This leaves a lack of understanding on principles learned only when interacting with kids of the same age.
Enrolling in group classes is a great alternative. Programs such as Izumi’s online math lessons take socialization into account. “Interaction time” involves educational games, science experiments, and interactive play that serves as concluding enrichment activities to encourage collaboration.
3. Encourage retaining friendships
Despite social distancing easing up, there is still reluctance and fear when mingling in public and schools take extra precaution. Fortunately, for kids, there are lots of creative ways to retain school friendships online.
Setting up virtual get-togethers, cyber book clubs, and online game hosting are a few fun activities for kids. Also remind them about the difference between brief chats and longer messages which will help form deeper connections and keep relationships strong.
Parents are children’s first educators and they will need that kind of support now more than ever. Being ever present will greatly contribute children’s social competency. This means not simply being physically present but observing diligently with apt interest towards activities they take part in.
In this virtual transition, establishing a routine, being consistent and attentive will nurture the necessary skills so children can grow to become altruistic, empathic, and kind.
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