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Help! My child is struggling to focus during online learning.

My first born child started online piano lessons with Ms Lani when he was in Kindergarten. He has honestly done really well with the whole format. My middle son…he turned the video off DURING one of his lessons and ran outside to play.

So here are some of our best tips for staying ENGAGED during online learning from both the teacher and parent perspective.

  • Limit distracting noises

Online lessons at home are great, but noisy distractions are sometimes amplified. Someone’s talking on the phone, a show is playing in the background, neighbor friends are playing in the room next door, the vacuum cleaner is running. You name it…we’ve heard it during lessons 😅. As hard as it might be, do your best to remove these noisy interruptions so your child can get the most out of their time with their teacher. Try setting up your piano in a room with a door. Ask siblings to play upstairs in a bedroom, downstairs in a basement, or outside until the lesson is over. Clean before/after the lesson. Noises happen and we get it, but the quieter the environment, the easier it will be for your child to STAY engaged in the learning that is happening.

  • Have all their music supplies easily accessible.

Make sure their music, notebooks, worksheets, pencils/highlighters are within reach so that your child doesn’t have to run away from the lesson room to gather supplies, get distracted in the process, and then have to reengage when they get back.

  • Go to the bathroom before lessons begin.

This one might seem like a no-brainer (and also be tricky with a stubborn preschooler…speaking from experience 😅). Students have trouble focusing when they’re wiggling in their chair because they need to use the bathroom. So take care of business before class.

  • Talk about expectations

Set clear expectations for your child’s behavior during lessons. Let them know you expect them to listen to the teacher, stay in the room, be respectful, you get the point…all the things we parents tell our children. It’s sometimes easier for a child to be “more relaxed” because they are at home. Being relaxed and having fun while still learning is the goal! But too relaxed to the point of playing around instead of learning is a waste of time. So make sure your child knows their lesson is a learning time, not a free play time.

  • Let the teacher teach.

This one is for you, you helicopter mom. 🚁 I totally understand wanting your child to behave and be polite. But honestly, sometimes students are more respectful and engaged when it’s just them and the teacher. I’m not saying don’t be aware of what is going on. I am saying, give your child the space they need to learn independently with their teacher during the lesson. They can do it and they feel so proud of themselves when they do and show you their progress after the lesson.

  • Check in sneakily.

I have had to learn this one with my middle son, if I’m being honest. His lessons are at the end of a busy day and sometimes he’s not doing what he should be doing. (like turning off the computer and leaving the room…😱). We have a little keyhole in the door to our music room. Sometimes I sneak up to the door during lessons and look through just to make sure things are going smoothly. He doesn’t know I’m there, but I can step in and redirect him if I need to. He’ll outgrow this phase, and I don’t want him to miss out on fun learning that he WANTS to be doing because he needs gentle reminders from time to time.

At the end of the day, sometimes kids have an off day. Don’t we all? We get it. We experience the same thing with our own children. When that happens, talk about and move on so that you can keep learning and having fun during your lessons. And never be afraid to talk about issues you are experiencing at home with your child’s teacher. You might be able to tweak one thing that makes learning so much more engaging and successful. That is one BEAUTIFUL aspect of private lessons. We can tailor each lesson to the needs and learning style of the individual student. So speak up if you see an issue!

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