How to help a child with online education during war. Psychologist’s advice

Hostilities, air raids, forced displacement, and many other challenges confront parents of school-age children today. The question: "How to motivate children to learn?" appears more and more often. We answer it together with Iryna Basista of the psychological project "Unbreakable Mom" of the "Masha FUND".

Currently, Ukrainians are experiencing traumatic stress, and studying remotely via “Zoom” is an additional stress for both the child and the parents. What to do with all this?


First, let’s understand the following:


– a child experiences no less stress, tension, and emotional swings than an adult. Other life situations may be superimposed on them: military experience or the difficulties of adolescence.


– everyone is adapting to online education in war conditions: parents are trying to organize space, work, and a place of study; teachers are looking for new ways of presenting the material because lectures alone reduce the academic motivation of schoolchildren; children are trying to understand what and how is happening. All this requires time and psycho-emotional resources;


– you cannot set the same requirements for a child’s education and success as we did before the war. You should not expect wow results – because of objective causes such results are unachievable in most cases.


What should we do so that the child acquires knowledge, and not just attends online classes to pass?


– Of course, I will start with general rules you can rely on, but this will be the foundation. Walls, windows, and everything else is already your joint creativity and cooperation with the child, says psychologist Iryna Basista of the Unbreakable Mother project from the Masha Foundation.


Therefore, for the educational process to take place:


– create a space for learning. I know that conditions can be different, but the place must be stable and permanent. It will help the child to switch from home life to school life.

 – discuss, write down and post the rules of school life at home in a visible place. It will help the child and you to be more self-organized and structured. It will be your instruction for resolving misunderstandings.

 – cooperate with the child, and make them a partner in achieving the goal of “finishing school well”. We should agree that this is more your desire than theirs because children do not think about the future and do not understand the value of education. Therefore, your friendly, warm, trusting relationship is the greatest motivation for a child to learn;

 – establish parental control over learning: regulate your inclusion according to the child’s age needs: children 7-12 years old need more control than a teenager, but teenagers need more delegation and negotiation with them. Your constant inclusion is faith in the child, support, and the ability to notice his achievements;

 – look for those methods of encouragement and motivation that work specifically with your child. Discuss with her, ask what she wants and how she sees your help and support. Be a team in this challenging period of life, not parties to the conflict.


Parents, remember: the most valuable thing right now is to keep your relationship friendly, and the child’s emotional state more or less stable!


The “Unbreakable Mom” rehabilitation program has been developed by specialists in psychology and post-traumatic syndromes for women and children affected by war. It is a 3-week offline camp where psychologists work with project participants.

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