Online & Offline – The new normal

I couldn’t have been happier when my son’s school sent the circular for offline classes from the new session.
No…I don’t want to send him away to school for my peace of mind, or to have that afternoon nap. But I do want him to go to school because it’s important for him, not only for his academics but also for his social well being.
Now don’t judge me again, I am not against online classes or the digital world. I truly believe that digitization and our systems’ ability to go completely online has saved our economy to a big extent in the last 2 years of COVID. It has made studies possible for kids, work and business possible for many of us. However, when I look back at the last 2 years of my Champ’s life, I have to confess that damage has been more than the benefits.
Yes, he does not spend an hour in his school bus in traffic, but his morning routine has gone for a toss.
He misses the bus time and chit-chat with his school friends.
Yes, all his extracurriculars are now online, but his physical growth has been affected due to lack of proper sports and activities, that are a part of school life.
But we are still living in a dilemma – safety VS activity? Many of us lost our loved ones to COVID, and the fear is still looming large…is it safe to send kids to school?
Many schools are going back to offline classes but most of the kindergarten and preschools are still continuing in online mode. So how do we make a balance between online education and social development of our kids?
It requires some initial effort to create an environment that makes physical activity possible and use of technology to make sure that our children also grow socially.
Here are a few tips that I tried and worked with my Champ and some that my friends are following :
1. Laziness Alert! Being at home, tends to make us lazy, no traffic to fight, no need to leave home early, no need to be ready on time, no need to wake up on time, no need to sleep on time….in that order are the most dangerous habits being formed. Going to office, or school, instills a routine in our daily life. DO NOT Break that routine. Make sure your child wakes up on time, uses the time, he/she saves in traveling to school, in morning walk or cycling. Make sure the child is ready for school (with or without uniform) just as in offline school.
2. DO NOT serve food on your kid’s study table while he/she attends the class. Wait
for the break and let them move around the house as they might do in school. Serve them food on the dining table only during the break time.
3. For younger kids who need parents’ support to attend online classes or study videos, please DO NOT, learn for them. DO NOT promt them to answer during the classes. More you do that, lesser attention they will have. They know you are more worried for their class.
4. In many kindergarten or preschools, kids are supposed to have self done tasks like taking their mats and working and then keeping them back. Try as much as you can to maintain that environment at home. Do not rush to hand them their books or pencils. Let them get up and take it on their own.
5. DO NOT feel frustrated that your child isn’t paying attention to the class, they are children and they behave the same in school too, and they cope up on their own. It’s just that in school, you are not seeing them all the time.
6. When you are talking to your friends or relatives, try to make video calls. Due to lack of physical gatherings, our kids are losing personal contact, doing video calls helps them to feel connected and also develops their conversation as seeing someone and talking is different than just hearing them.
7. Involve kids in household chores appropriate for their ages. Whether it’s stacking up the dishes or dusting, or cooking salads. This is the time to make them learn life skills and we all know how important these skills are now. Moreover it also helps them keep active.
8. Do you have lots of couriers coming in? Make your child answer the doorbell, with proper masks and deal with the courier guy. Such a simple activity, not only makes them move but also helps them learn to talk to strangers.
9. Learn and teach them the basic use of gadgets and apps that help them to attend their classes independently. BUT keep a child lock on unwanted apps and games.
We have to grow with the time… technology is a boon and we can’t survive if we don’t adapt.
10. DO NOT overdo when it comes to cooking. Follow your pre-covid cooking regime. Cakes, sweets, etc is only going to add up the fat on your and kid’s body. Instead try different forms of cooking where kids can learn methods, like cooking without fire, barbeque, grow your own veggies like spinach, corriandar, chillies etc.
Well, there are many other ways and things to do, and acceptance and willingness to adapt is the foremost task.
Though I sincerely wish the offline school remains open from now on, but for pre-schoolers, who still have online school, I hope that this blog helps in filling the gap of physical and social growth.

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