Coronovirus 2020, Education, Kids, Parenting, School, Summer, Tips and Tricks

5 Tips to Help Kids Overcome the COVID Learning Slump this Summer

5 Tips to Help Kids Overcome the COVID Learning Slump this Summer

I won’t forget the date, it was March 13 (Friday the 13th) when they announced that school will be closing due to Governor’s orders for at least 2 weeks and that we don’t know when they will re-open. Here it is July and they never went back. There was a spontaneous online learning set up, but they were not being graded so many kids struggled to stay motivated. It was a COVID learning slump. It looks like a mix of classroom and home learning again next year so this time it counts and they need to be ready to learn in a new way!

Many students lost much of the academic skills and knowledge they’d gained throughout the school year before the pandemic changed life as we knew it. The fact is, learning loss due to coronavirus school closures, dubbed the ‘COVID Slump’ by experts, is becoming a common phenomenon for many students across the nation– and one that’s actually preventable if the right measures are taken.

Consider this: About 84% of U.S. parents are worried that this COVID learning slump changed their child’s education schedule and routine and negatively impacted their learning, and 61% are worried their child’s college and career prospects will be negatively impacted, according to a recent Brainly survey of 1,600 moms and dads.

So how can parents prevent their children from backsliding during school closures?  Eric Oldfield, Chief Business Officer of Brainly, the world’s largest online learning community, and father of two school-age daughters, is well aware of the risks of two months out of the classroom can have on students, and he has tips aimed at combating it. 

Here are Oldfield’s 5 tips to help prevent COVID learning slump

1. CREATE HAND-BUILT PROJECTS. With all the screen time kids are getting from online learning (not to mention their non-educational screen time), sometimes the best thing you can do to get kids flexing their brain muscles is to have them physically design and create something with their own two hands like a 3D puzzle, creative board game, pop-up storybook, or time capsule, to name a few examples. 

2. TAKE UP AN EDUCATIONAL HOBBY. Now is the perfect opportunity for students to take up a new hobby. Learning a musical instrument, taking a coding class, or joining an online trivia league can help students of any age stay sharp through the pandemic days to help avoid the COVID slump.  

3. MOVE THE LEARNING OUTDOORS. It may seem basic, but a little sunshine and fresh air are excellent for everyone’s mental health and can help bored students reinvigorate their learning by helping them escape the monotony of their home learning space. Physical activity can also help memory recall and increases mental dexterity. Try passing around a soccer ball in the backyard while learning the state capitals, or playing hopscotch while reciting new vocab terms.  

4. ENROLL THEM IN AN ONLINE EDUCATIONAL COURSE. Think of it as a virtual summer camp. But before you blindly sign up for some online program, look for some specialized programs designed to keep children learning with engaging activities and personalized instruction, and take advantage of these slower months boost problem areas.

5. ENCOURAGE THEM TO KEEP THEIR CURIOSITY PIQUED. Even inquisitive children can use some coaxing to keep learning over the summer. There are many services, like Brainly, where children can ask questions, learn new things, and keep stimulated to prevent the COVID slump.

Regardless of what you choose, staying mentally active during school closures (and throughout summer) can give your child a leg up come September. For more information and ideas on how to prevent the COVID learning Slump, visit www.brainly.com

Education, Kids

Learning a Musical Instrument Has Lifelong Benefits for Children

Learning a Musical Instrument Has Lifelong Benefits for Children

What a child learns early on will often stick with them for the rest of their life. It’s at a young age when our brains are doing the most developing. Therefore, the more you do to help your child’s development when they are still young, the better off they will be as they get older. One great way to boost your child’s early development is by having them learn a musical instrument. Below are just some of the benefits of learning a musical instrument can provide if you teach it to a child at a young age.

Language Skills

One of the biggest things kids have to learn when they are young is how to communicate. We often teach them language skills by talking to them, reading to them, or having them watch educational videos. Another great way to teach them though is with a musical instrument. Learning music uses the same part of the brain as language does – it requires sound processing and comprehension. The more you can stimulate this part of the brain when your children are young, the easier time they will have to develop their language skills.

Discipline

A skill you’ll need your entire life is discipline. Discipline is what allows us to learn new things or get work done when we would rather be doing something more enjoyable. A common example of teaching your children discipline is providing them an allowance when they complete their chores. Music can teach the same thing, as it requires that you sit and practice it every day. You can use a musical instrument to show your children that if they work at something every day, eventually they will improve and be able to do things they couldn’t before such as learning a musical instrument

Motor Functions

Learning to play a musical instrument is a great way to develop their hand-eye coordination as well. You need to be able to get your hands to do what you want them to, based on what you are seeing and hearing. Playing a musical instrument can also require very quick or subtle finger movements. When your child practices these movements repeatedly, they will develop the fine motor skills section of their brain and make it stronger. This can help them throughout life in a number of ways, whether it’s going on to become an athlete, a surgeon, or a computer programmer. 

Creativity

Once your child learns the basics of any instrument, they’ll be able to start using their creativity with it. Children love to create their own songs or melodies on the instrument they’ve learned, both of which require creativity. Creativity, like any other skill, requires constant use in order to strengthen it. Children have plenty of creative outlets, from playing pretend to drawing, but learning a musical instrument provides them with another great one. 

Social Skills

The final major benefit of learning a musical instrument as a child is that it can help grow social skills. It’s hard to learn a musical instrument on your own, even more so when you’re a child. More than likely, to learn the instrument, they will need to attend lessons. This gets them to interact with a stranger (the teacher), and perhaps other students if it is a group lesson. Music lessons are a great way to help your child socialize with others outside the classroom, as they can spend time with strangers while also learning something fun. 

How to Get Your Child Started with Music Lessons

To give your child all of these benefits, you should start looking for ways to help them learn an instrument. If your child is old enough, you can start by asking them what instrument they might like to learn. If not, then you can pick one for them, with instruments like the guitar, recorder, and piano being some of the easier for beginners. Once you’ve decided on an instrument, it’s easy to search for lessons geared towards your child’s age in your local area.

Another option is to take lessons yourself, then teach your children. This has the additional benefit of improving your own brain function as well. According to the Lone Star School of Music, a provider of piano lessons in Austin, TX, “Learning how to play an instrument has many benefits for a mature mind. Science says music helps deal with stress and even make you smarter. It also helps stave off hearing loss and strengthens long-term memory.”

Once you’ve progressed far enough with the lessons you can begin to teach your kids. Who knows, in a few months you could be starting your own family band! But even if that doesn’t happen, helping your child learn an instrument, either through lessons or teaching them yourself, will develop skills they’ll use the rest of their lives.

Infant Toddler Products, Kids, Toy Reviews

Why You Should Stop Buying Expensive Branded Toys For Kids

Why You Should Stop Buying Expensive Branded Toys For Kids
Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

Imagine walking down the aisle of your favorite “go-to-mall”, got your eyes fixed on the Toy Store you love with your jaw-dropping on the floor over the prices you see and probably, wanting to buy these expensive toys for kids! Especially, having a partner who loves collecting toys, it is fun to plan toys that they think the future kids would love. But, on the other hand, it is impractical, non-psychological and not creative.

On a daily basis, there are a lot of necessities added to live happily and well-balanced. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: physical survival needs, physical safety needs, love and belonging needs, self-esteem and self-fulfilled are the five Fundamental things a person needs to have. Shelter and healthy food are some of the things that are needed to secure a lot of money.

Would you buy expensive toys for your little ones and give them fast food? Of course not! It would be impractical to think of buying expensive toys where you can help them be imaginative and creative at the same time. Since these shiny plastic toys for kids and battery devices can kill our children’s imagination, try giving the practical play they need. It might sound thrifty, but it will help the kids build their creativity, social skills, and intelligence quotient.

You may try to give them alternatives, such as art supplies, building blocks, and musical instruments. Some parents think toys are needed to help children focus on something so parents can do other things while pampering them. 

When saying “toys,” people eventually think about cars, dolls, action figures, and so on… But art supplies, books, building blocks, and musical instruments are also part of the toys. Help them be imaginative using art supplies and books. Meanwhile, building blocks help children develop their vocabularies, improve math skills, and even teach them about gravity, balance, and geometry. Furthermore, musical instruments will help them create and explore ideas since it creates pathways in their brain.

Physical interaction with your children will build their character and attitude instead of the toys just on their hands. They will further develop their intrapersonal skills since they will see their parents as their role models and partners. Moreover, playing with children will create a strong bond between parent and child. The intimacy between will be the foundation of their relationship. It can build a child full of love, respect, and satisfaction, which if this is founded strongly then, the child will not look satisfaction and acceptance to anything or on their surroundings.

Thus, the toys will not be a hindrance to their attention for them to listen to parents because of that strong connection. To wrap this up, expensive toys or toys may help your child enjoy but, giving them real joy and satisfaction through you by playing with them will have a significant impact on them. It will help you create a child with a strong personality. 

Furthermore, it will not give you any headache since toys can be a part of the expenses that aren’t necessary to buy. Let the child know that having toys for kids are not as important as the things they need to survive, such as food and shelter. Lastly, those suggested practical toys mention will develop the brain of the child to bring the innate intelligence they have.

As for gift giving, especially in special occasions, your kids may learn about customizable gifts as they grow up. They can create their own or ask an artisan to build it for them. An example of this would be bobbleheads that look like you. These figures can be expensive depending on the manufacturer, but if you taught them how to distinguish legitimate sellers and products that offer great value for money, they should be fine.

Those things have the best effect on children than those expensive toys. Unless, you want to your money be on a garbage bag because of buying expensive toys for kids that will, later, be damaged? If I could choose, I would choose the practical one.