5 Ways To Help Children Handle The Pressure And Stress Of Online LearningMoms Vania Romoff and Marilen Faustino-Montenegro share tips to help kids adjust better to this learning setup.CREATED WITH ENFAGROW A+ FOUR
Fact: The shift from traditional school to online learning is causing a lot of stress to most students, if not all. Just thinking of the lessons they need to catch up on and how they have to do it differently is already a nail-biter.
But they’re not the only ones. Parents feel the pressure, too, as they instantly become their kids’ teachers.
Just like every parent, moms Vania Romoff and Marilen Faustino-Montenegro have also had a hard time navigating through these changes with their young learners. Eventually, they’ve found ways to master the art of being “Teacher Mommy” as they help their little ones handle the stress of homeschooling.
To know how they did it, check out some of the tips they’ve shared in a recent Enfagrow A+ Four Facebook Live series episode hosted by Angel Jacob, “Raising Smart Kids With A Heart”:
Make every learning session fun
Fashion designer Vania Romoff tried to make distance learning easy for her child by starting with fun and educational activities like playing with flashcards and board games.
From there, she helped ease the stress of her 5-year-old daughter Emilia. She even teased her child that she can call her “Teacher Mommy” — making things even more fun and relaxed for both of them while learning at home.
“It was [also] going through Pinterest and printing things out, looking through activity books and buying some online, and just sort of piecing the puzzle together,” she added. Vania highlighted that learning at home doesn’t need a staggered, rigorous curriculum.
For interior stylist, nutrition coach, and mom of two Marilen Faustino-Montenegro, making things fun at home while sticking to a schedule is a priority. As someone who has been homeschooling her kids for five years, Marilen swears by her teaching style and how it has helped her kids adapt to changes during the pandemic.
And just like Vania, her kids call her “Teacher Mom” as it helps lighten the mood whenever they’re having a class. She also uses the Internet to make learning more fun and engaging for her children. “We use the Internet a lot to watch educational videos to support a concept. As much as possible, if we can, we take schooling outdoors — especially before the pandemic. We [used to] go to parks and field trips a lot, and they love that.”
Be as creative and resourceful as you can at home
According to Vania and Marilen, it’s about being resourceful. Integrate whatever you can find in your home and use every room and corner of the house as creatively as you can imagine.
"[For example,] turning the guest room into a music room where we learn to sing songs. The living room is where we're going to have lessons. The balcony is where we're going to learn about plants and grow munggo bean sprouts,” Vania shared.
She would also ask her husband to step in and teach Emilia physical education. They would then roll out the mattresses and let their daughter tumble around.
“If you have a garden, homeschool outside and set up a tent. We have the Internet anyway, so we can be creative” Marilen added.
Be more in tune with their emotions
Marilen shared how important it is to check her kids’ emotions and empathize with them, especially in these uncertain times. “With my kids, it was very real to them because I actually got sick. I was away from them for like three weeks. It was something that I needed to process with them and to talk to them about.”
So when it comes to schooling, she pointed out how we need to make it fun and light for them. “We just have to chill and be there with them emotionally. We shouldn't be adding to their stress by pressuring them to be super on time and rigid in answering pages 1-10.”
Part of caring for the kids’ mental health and hers as a parent is being flexible at home as well. So she and her husband have allowed their kids to use their gadgets for two hours every day. “I think that kept them sane and that's their form of social interaction 'cause they get to talk to their friends.”
Let them know that the new normal doesn't have to be bad
“Make them feel that they are not isolated—that this is the new normal. And be excited about it. Show them that you're not stressed out about it because they get your vibrations,” advised Marilen to other parents to help their kids deal with reality.
“If you show them that you are confident and that this is going to work, like 'this is how it has to be but it doesn't have to be a bad thing,' then they will see that. They themselves will be relaxed,” she added.
Vania had dealt with the usual sentiments from kids on when they can go back to school and see their friends again or that they miss going out already. “It was just a process of me trying to explain to her why we're in this and why this is happening — in as much as you can explain to a toddler. And just making her part of the entire process,” she explained.
Make sure they're eating healthy and getting proper nutrition
Nothing beats stress other than powering up with healthy and energizing food accompanied by milk and an active lifestyle. With the pandemic at hand, all the more we need to ensure that every meal we serve is safe and good for our kid’s health.
But just like most moms, Vania and Marilen know the struggle in feeding kids healthy food. This is why they try to put together fun and appetizing dishes for their kids.
“What I do is I have a Pinterest board for our family recipes, and then I type up a menu good for two weeks. As much as possible, pick whole foods — it means the purest in its form, and flavorings from pure spices also. Try to make your own sauce if you can,” Marilen explained.
Since most toddlers love crispy food, Vania thought of a way to mix it with something healthy. “I would make tempura and put carrots underneath it so it's still crispy. And my daughter loves anything citrus-y so I'll mix in a leafy green but I pour a lot of lemon and citrus on it so it sort of coats it. That's a good way to get them their dose of greens.”
Vania also underscored how a warm glass of milk helps her daughter Emilia and herself relax at night. “A warm glass of milk always calms your system the same way a warm bath does. It's a signifier that the day is done, it's time to take it down a notch. The milk helps in the wind-down process [that happens] before 9 p.m.”
Learn more tips from Vania and Marilen when you watch the entire episode titled “Helping Your Child (And Yourself!) Manage Online Schooling Stress” here.
This episode is part of the Facebook Live series of Enfagrow A+ Four’s “Raising Smart Kids With A Heart,” in partnership with Smart Parenting. This initiative aims to help moms and dads in raising their kids so they can live in harmony and thrive in the new normal. Learn more about Enfagrow A+ Four’s campaign by watching this video.