Parent Guide to Distance Learning and Child Safety
Parent responsibilities during distance learning
Provide support for your children by:
- establishing routines and expectations
- setting aside a space for your child to work in
- monitoring communications from your child’s teachers
- beginning and ending each day by asking about your child’s learning
- encouraging physical activity and/or exercise
- remembering that your child might be stressed or worried during this time
- monitoring how much time your child is spending online
- keeping your children social, but setting rules around their social media interactions.
Student responsibilities during distance learning
These responsibilities should be adjusted according to the age of your child:
- establishing and/or following a daily routine for learning
- working in the safe, comfortable, quiet space in their home that has been set aside for them (a space in a family/public area, not a bedroom)
- regularly monitoring digital platforms for announcements and feedback from teachers
- completing tasks honestly and doing their best work
- doing their best to meet timelines, commitments, and due dates
- communicating openly with their teachers and telling them if they have any concerns or issues
- collaborating and supporting classmates in their learning
- using technology safely
Planning your child’s day
The classroom teachers will provide your child with a schedule or timetable for their learning. This will include regular breaks for activity, eating and drinking. In the activity breaks, it is important that students get up and move around.
Setting up a learning environment
Every home is different but it’s important to provide a quiet and comfortable space in which to learn.
Where possible, extended learning should take place in a space your family shares. For example, a lounge room or dining room. These spaces are preferable over a bedroom, where your child can feel isolated and supervision can be more challenging.
It should be a place:
- that can be quiet at times
- that has a strong internet signal, if possible
- where you or another adult is present as you would normally when your child is online, dependent on age
Establishing routines and expectations
A healthy daily routine is great for mental and physical health, as well as concentration and learning.
Encourage regular exercise breaks. This might mean going for a walk, using exercise DVDs and apps, dancing, floor exercises or using home exercise equipment.
Encourage healthy eating habits and make sure they drink enough water.
As parents, guardians and/or carers, you know your child better than anyone and have the best opportunity to support and guide them to have safer online experiences.
Distance Learning, where students are primarily interacting with one another online, may give rise to the possibilities of increased online issues. For helpful information about supporting your student online, visit the eSafety Commissioner.
Being confined to home for an extended period of time can cause stress and conflict. Tips for looking after your children during isolation include:
- talking to your whole family about the infection – understanding the situation will reduce anxiety (Talking to children about coronavirus (COVID-19))
- helping your children to think about how they have coped with difficult situations in the past and reassuring them that they will cope with this situation too
- reminding them that the isolation won’t last for long
- exercising regularly – exercise is a proven treatment for stress and depression.
- encouraging your children to keep in touch with family members and friends via telephone, email or social media (where appropriate).
- Getting children to write down before bedtime three things that went well in their day and what they may be looking forward to doing (or learning) the next day.
- Eating fruit and vegetables and drinking water regularly.
- Getting children to do activities other than spending too much time on online gaming. May want children to write down a list of other activities they enjoy or make them feel happy, that they can also regularly engage in.
- Limit children’s access to media reports about COVID-19.
- Consider downloading apps for breathing and meditation such as Smiling Mind.
Additional Resources – need help?
Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 https://kidshelpline.com.au/
Kids Help Line Coronavirus https://kidshelpline.com.au/coronavirus
Parentline (Victoria) 13 22 89
Raising Children Network (Family Guide for COVID-19) https://raisingchildren.net.au/guides/coronavirus-covid-19-guide
eHeadspace 1800 650 890 or eheadpsace.org.au
Beyondblue 1300 224 636 or beyondblue.org.au
1800RESPECT 1800 737 732 or 1800respect.org.au
Lifeline 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 or suicidecallbackservice.org.au
Safe Steps 1800 015 188 or safesteps.org.au