Arranging a playdate or managing online learning becomes much more difficult if your child hates Zoom. Many parents have been surprised that their children dislike the app. Most children enjoy screentime, so the meltdowns are unexpected. Understanding that there are reasons why your child may feel this way allows you to help him.
Let Him Practice
Children love to be proficient with technology. Perhaps because they don’t have the same concerns that adults do about breaking things, they relish diving into new technology.
Before they start using Zoom, have some practice sessions. Let them explore the app. They can learn how to set a virtual background and get comfortable using the app. Having a test call between the two of you can be fun.
Understand It’s Normal
Once your child is comfortable using Zoom, they still may not be a fan. There are a few reasons for this. Problems can crop up either in a virtual classroom setting or in a playdate or family call. Understanding the root of the issue can help your child feel better about having these calls.
Even the best-behaved student has interactions with peers and the teacher while in class. He may not necessarily be talking, but he can look over at his classmate’s desk and see what they are doing. Someone may ask a question that diverts the topic. The teacher may go off on a tangent while explaining something.
The virtual classroom setting is more sterile. While your child can see his classmates and teacher, interaction is not as simple. The process feels exhausting. Teachers struggle to create an interactive environment. With the lack of connectivity, classes can feel like they last forever.
Using Zoom for visits with family and friends should be more enjoyable. If you take some time to think of how your children interact with others, it makes sense that they may struggle. They generally don’t sit and make small talk. Instead, they play alongside each other, where a conversation develops organically. This is difficult to recreate on Zoom.
Come Up With Activities
Knowing why your child hates Zoom is half the battle. Coming up with ways to make it more enjoyable is the next step. If you are trying to help your child connect with his peers or extended family, plan an activity for the group. Playing a game, completing a word puzzle, or even arranging a scavenger hunt allows everyone to feel like they are a part of the call without needing to make small talk.
Helping your child focus on virtual school can be more of a challenge. Make sure you let your teacher know your child is struggling. Having some small toys he can fidget with while taking the Zoom class can be beneficial as well. Encourage him to get up and move around some during breaks. Have an impromptu PE class, where he can jump rope, dribble a ball, or hop on one foot for 60 seconds. This allows him to get the wiggles out while offering some entertainment.
Stay Close By
Staying close by while your child is on Zoom allows you to help out as needed. Whether it is technical issues or him simply shutting the laptop and walking away, having you close at hand is helpful. It can be frustrating if you are also working from home or just have other things to do.
Try to prioritize when he is most likely to need you. One of the surprising things about children and Zoom is that you cannot expect it to babysit your child the same way videos and games do. They will need your support to make it work.
Don’t Force the Issue
If your child is struggling with Zoom, you may have to make some choices. Let his teacher know that it is a problem, and try to minimize the amount of time he needs to spend online for class. Cut out family and friend meet-ups on Zoom. Socially distanced visits, outside in an open area, can improve morale. If you are not comfortable with this option, even getting outside and taking a walk around the block several times a day can improve your child’s attitude.