JEDDAH: Education experts have been offering top tips to Saudi working parents worried about being unable to oversee their children studying online from home.
With schools returning remotely for the first seven weeks in the Kingdom, many parents with 9-to-5 jobs fear their kids might skip lessons when left to their own devices.
But classroom experts say just a few simple measures can help give schoolchildren a sense of responsibility.
Preschool program teacher at Andalusia Clinics for kid’s wellness, Shereen Akhun, said the introduction of a rewards system was ideal for young people studying at elementary schools.
“Parents can use a system of rewarding, and they should motivate their children in a positive way that will make them attend classes on time,” she told Arab News.
“One example is by creating a rewards chart; they (children) will receive a point for certain tasks completed and if they reach a good number of points, they receive a gift or something they really want.”
Parents needed to talk positively with their kids and let them understand the importance of their education. “Try to build a future image in their head; maybe they’re aiming to become a doctor, nurse, or engineer. This will motivate them to pursue their dreams,” Akhun added.
It is a difficult situation for them because they need their friends. School is more of a socialization place. Academics can be managed.
Lailah Taibah, Life and parenting coach
Certified life coach in parentology, Noha Younes, said the situation was more difficult for children than their parents because young students missed their friends and school routine.
“It is not the norm for children or parents. But if parents are finding it so difficult, the kids will be finding it even more difficult.
“They miss their friends, and it is hitting them emotionally more than us. The only thing we have (as parents) is a fear of failing. We worry if they will commit and attend, but if we just give some focus to the child, we will see that they are suffering more than us. We have to keep this in mind when dealing with the situation,” she added.
Younes pointed out that the first step was for parents to talk transparently with their children.
“The main challenge is with elementary schoolers. There must be direct discussion; use gentle words and explain to them how classes will be for over a month, and what they need to do to log into their online classroom.
“Many children own smartphones, so if you are teaching them how to log in through their phones, at least you’re teaching it through something familiar to them.”
She said children would feel trusted and more confident if allowed to use their parents’ laptops or tablets. “They will feel very excited and feel like they have grown up.”
Life and parenting coach, Lailah Taibah, said parents should trust their children. “They need to give them trust and the sense of responsibility. And encourage their children, accept them and their mistakes. That will help them a lot.
“But before doing anything, have more conversations with them. Talk to them about the situation and reassure them that you are always by their side to help and support them, let them know they are not alone. We have a role, the school has a role, and you have a role too,” she added.
The Ministry of Education has divided the school schedule based on grade levels, with middle and high school students attending early morning classes from 7 a.m. and elementary students starting at 3 p.m.
“For the little ones, help them organize their time. Before their evening class starts, ask them when they want their study time and playtime. Reduce their anxiety by not letting them fear failure.
“It is a difficult situation for them because they need their friends. School is more of a socialization place. Academics can be managed,” Taibah said.