“Pandemic fatigue” is a phrase now firmly entrenched in our everyday lexicon. As parents, we find ourselves struggling to stay afloat. Unfortunately, our kids can often wind up in a similar boat too. With schools only expected to reopen in September under our National Recovery Plan, the risk of online learning fatigue is ever increasing.
So how do we fortify our families during this difficult period and help our kids battle burnout? Let’s start with understanding this phenomenon first.
What is Online Learning Fatigue?
Online learning fatigue often sets in when students have reached their point of saturation in learning through the screen. Back-to-back video calls, a lack of physical interaction with classmates and teachers, being “plugged in” 24/7 – it’s no wonder anxiety is at an all-time high!
Symptoms of online learning fatigue include:
- physical and mental exhaustion;
- increased irritability and low morale;
- anxiety when participating in class;
- difficulties in concentrating;
- sensitivity to light and eye strain; and
- pain in the neck, shoulders or back.
How do we combat Online Learning Fatigue?
We know how challenging it can be to keep our kids engaged while learning online. What is crucial, however, is understanding that our expectations and teaching methods have to adjust accordingly.
Here are some useful tips to revitalise our kids’ online learning and help them battle fatigue:
Tip 1: Work out a routine – with regular breaks.
Variety might be the spice of life, but predictability and routines are crucial to the online learning process. Having a set pattern for the day gives your child an established framework to work with (much like their regular school routine).
Learning time isn’t the only thing you should be scheduling, however. Remember to work in plenty of “brain breaks” (preferably between subjects) to help your kids relax, stretch and recharge. Get your kids to take ownership of their day by helping you plan out this schedule. Do make sure to post this up in a clear and visible location for ease of reference.
Always incorporate consistent meal times and sleeping times into your child’s schedule too. Doing so will ensure that they’re staying physically healthy by maintaining a good diet and proper sleep.
And importantly, don’t forget to plan out some fun after-school activities, such as arts and crafts or outdoor exercise. This gives kids something to look forward to after their busy morning of online learning and helps them unwind from their hours of screen time. Do also build in time to connect with your kids. Regular checkpoints and encouraging words can give them a much-needed mental and emotional boost.
Tip 2: Create a conducive learning workspace.
Remember when we were first adjusting to working from home? We all know how easy it was to stay unproductive in our sweats as we lounged about in bed with our laptops tuned in to the latest K-drama!
The same goes for our kids. Getting them ready for the day with a proper outfit change is a clear signal to their brains and bodies that it’s time to head to work. Our children should get out of their pyjamas and settle into school-appropriate gear and their designated workspace to enable them to focus.
When planning out your child’s workspace, here are some suggestions to bear in mind:
- Decorate – School classrooms are often colourful and engaging for good reason. Change things up and keep them fresh to alleviate fatigue. Consider decorating your child’s learning space with visual aids such as handy graphs and charts, encouraging messages, or their favourite photos or artwork. Get your kids involved in this process too (as long as their suggested additions are conducive to their learning and aren’t distracting).
- Be prepared – To reduce stress during online class sessions, learning tools should be made readily available. School supplies should always be within easy reach. Prepare items such as calendars and Post-it notes beforehand to enable the proper tracking of assignments. For kids who struggle with concentrating, fidget objects (such as stress balls or small erasers) might help combat restlessness.
- Maintain a distraction-free zone – As far as possible, keep your child’s workspace clean and uncluttered. All toys and items that might disrupt your child’s concentration should be removed.
Tip 3: Keep learning fresh.
Online learning doesn’t have to be an uphill chore. The key is to figure out creative learning experiences that can turn fatigue into fun!
One positive result of the pandemic is the wealth of innovative educational resources that have cropped up online. From the brilliant Khan Academy Kids programme for the younger set, to exciting coding and robotics classes, there’s much to explore to keep online learning engaging for our children.
Educators, and parents, can also try to break up the monotony of online classes by incorporating fun icebreakers, games or polls into lesson time. Having intentional connection points carved out for kids to socialise with their peers online is also crucial.
Tip 4: Safeguard their mental health.
Stay aware of your child’s emotional well-being by keeping a lookout for the signs of online learning fatigue mentioned above. Do make it a point as well to maintain open lines of communication with your child’s teachers. If your child is struggling with their classes, be proactive in raising this with your child’s school. Hopefully, this will enable a positive solution to be worked out in collaboration with the input and insight of the teachers involved.
If your child requires further support and someone to speak to, we hope this list might help.
Tip 5: Be tech-savvy.
When you and your child are scrambling with connection issues and forgotten passwords, this can add to the stress of online learning! Make lesson time as seamless as possible by preparing ahead. Ensure that your child’s login credentials are readily at hand and get them comfortable with their learning platforms by practicing ahead of time.
User-friendly tech devices are also a must to ensure a smoother online learning experience. In this respect, ASUS BR1100F makes the ideal choice of laptops for primary school learning. Specifically designed with online learning in mind, this laptop has helpful features such as AI-powered noise-cancelling technology for clearer video conferences. It also has a world-facing camera, making it handier for students to record content when used in tablet mode. With children’s privacy being a cause of concern nowadays, the webcam shield that comes with the laptop provides reassurance.
As our children are spending more time in front of the screen, sitting for prolonged periods can often strain their eyes, ears and muscles. To minimise this, ASUS BR1100F‘s TÜV Rheineland Eye Care certified multi-touch display helps to reduce the effects of blue light and display blinking. Its easy portability features facilitates learning from everywhere – outdoors or in. Best of all is the laptop’s military-grade reliability, all-round rubber bumper and spill-resistant keyboard which is ideal for little hands that are prone to big accidents!
ASUS is conducting an ‘Experience ASUS BR1100′ programme for parents and schools’ management to try out the device. To learn more about the programme, visit the site here.
This is a sponsored post by ASUS Malaysia.