As we head into the new school year and adjust to the reality of distance learning, we are all experiencing new challenges and fears. As a teacher, I have made huge adjustments to ensure that I am meeting all of my students’ needs. I know that you as parents are feeling the same; searching for the best way to support your child during distance learning and keep yourself healthy and sane.
Here are some tips and tricks to make distance learning a bit more palatable for you and your child throughout the year:
Set up an open workspace for your child
One of the hardest things to adjust to is the fact that children are learning at home. Children are used to learning in a school environment. They are used to being in a classroom, with their peers modeling the classroom behavior, and a teacher guiding them throughout the day. Now, they don’t have that physical separation between school and home. This is why setting up a workspace for your child is crucial. When setting up the workspace, keep the following in mind:
Setup your child with good ergonomics.. This means their table and chair are at the correct height, their feet are touching the ground and they are not hunched over. Their device is at eye level.
Materials accessible. Be sure all necessary materials are accessible at their workspace. This includes pencils, pens, erasers, blank sheets of paper, and anything else they may need for their lessons.
Water bottle. Have your child place their water bottle by their desk and have them fill it throughout the day.
Add personality. Let them decorate their workspace and provide stress relievers such as silly putty or stress balls to keep their hands busy.
Break times. Encourage your child to leave their workspace in between lessons and when the day is over.
Take time before class to go over Zoom rules and techniques
Help your child start class with confidence by getting them acquainted with Zoom or Google Meet before class starts. Some Zoom techniques and rules that are especially helpful are:
Show your child how to mute and unmute.
Remind them to raise their hand if they have something to say. (Zoom even has hand emojis they can use!)
Make sure they know to stay at the computer or device and keep their video on.
Remind them to always show respect to the teacher and other students by staying quiet while others talk.
Create a daily schedule that makes sense for you and your family
Another challenge you may be facing with distance learning is finding a consistent and balanced routine. You might be working from home and juggling a lot of different schedules. For some, scheduling out your day may seem nearly impossible. However, I strongly encourage you to find a schedule for your child that works best for you and your family and here is why:
Children thrive off of consistency. It helps them feel secure and understand expectations.
Children are used to following a daily schedule at school. This helps them stay engaged in their lessons and focused on their work.
Schedules benefit your child’s emotional, cognitive and social growth.
Find time in the day to step away from the computer
Along with creating your daily schedule, be sure to schedule time to have your child (and you) step away from the computer. Even if it’s just for fifteen minutes, children need a chance to take a break and move their body! Here are some ideas for what they can do:
Go for a walk outside.
Put on some music and have a dance party!
Take part in a family exercise challenge. Encourage each other to do 100 pushups and see who can finish first!
Watch one of SpringSpot’s wellness videos. Here, children can stretch and move their body, find their calm, and go on an adventure!
Find opportunities to connect
Set aside time in the day for your child to step away from school and connect with themselves and others. Encourage your child to get all of their work done before 4pm so that they can focus on spending time alone or socializing with their peers. Here are a few ideas for after school:
Spend time as a family to connect and talk about your day. Check out the list of questions that go beyond, “how was your day?” our Members page under Parent Resources.
Read a book or learn something new like making friendship bracelets.
Check out our Online Fall Camp! At camp, children get a chance to be creative, move their bodies, and socialize with their peers.
Be kind to yourself
You’re doing the best you can. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your child’s teacher or peers. We are all adjusting to this new normal and deserve to give ourselves and each other a little grace.