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Monday, June 21, 2021

7 Ways to Help Your Children Stay Focused And Succeed During Distance Learning

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7 Ways to Help Your Children Stay Focused and Succeed During Distance Learning

One constant challenge for families during the pandemic year has been learning how to best implement distance learning. For many parents who had never considered homeschooling, learning how to be a consistent part of their child's school day (which now is taking place at the kitchen table!) was a new experience. Children also had to very quickly learn how to cope with a very different form of school. Luckily, we have learned some strategies for helping children to stay focused during distance learning.

Know the Expectations

The first thing parents should do is determine what expectations their children's schools and teachers have for distance learning. How much time are the students required to spend online? Screen time limits should apply to all children, and for younger children especially, other types of learning are vital.

Consider Your Child's Learning Style

Not everyone learns the same way. Similarly, not all children are comfortable with all distance learning assignments. Which learning methods suit your child best? Do they do better when they are working with their teacher live on their device? Or does your child perform better when the teacher gives the assignment and then the child works away from the computer, perhaps with Mom or Dad watching? It's important to remember that there is no one best way for every student. There's just the way your kid learns best!

Move!

Kids need to move their bodies during the day. Getting the wiggles out (and I'm talking about kids from preschool to high school!) helps them stay focused when they are sitting down working. Make sure they have time to get out of their seat, run around, dance about the room, or just go play for a few minutes. Some kids even do better on schoolwork when they're standing. Try raising the computer or tablet to make an impromptu standing desk to see if that helps your kids focus for longer.

Limit Distractions

Just like with in-person schooldays, not every moment of your child's virtual school day is going to hold their interest. But now, of course, they have all of the distractions of home. And in my home, they also have the distraction of their sibling's school day and their parents' Zoom meetings! If possible, try to construct quiet zones so everyone can have a peaceful place to work. Everyone needs a pair of headphones. A clutter-free work zone with a comfortable chair can also make a huge difference!

Make a Schedule, but Keep it Flexible

Consistency and routine are important for kids (and let's be honest, for adults as well). Schedule subjects or activities your kid struggles with for times when you can actively supervise and engage with them. It's also important to schedule those activities for when your kid's focus is high and their energy level is up. For some kids, that's first thing in the morning. Other kids get off to a slow start and are better after lunch. Also, share this information with your children's teachers. If your kid is deeply involved in an assignment or activity, don't insist that they move to the next thing on the schedule.

Use Checklists

Checklists are fantastic, and you can use them in several ways. Make a checklist for every day for your child to work through. And don't be afraid to put non-academic things on the checklist. Chores like "fill the cat's water bowl" or "make your bed" absolutely should be on your kids' daily checklists. Also, many kids do better with checklists that break down each task. For example, if the teacher wants your kid to watch a video, read a supporting document, and then write a response, make a checklist that lists each step separately. This is also a great time to work with your kids on developing their own checklists, a skill they will use into adulthood and their working lives.

Be Kind to Your Kids and Yourself

No teacher wants their students to hate learning. It's OK to prioritize your children's happiness as well as their academic progress. If they are struggling with a concept or assignment, suggest a break! If distance learning is moving at a quick pace, talk to the teacher about slowing down the pace for your child. If the frustration level really gets high, you might decide that the day is over and give it another try tomorrow. On a similar note, make sure you are giving your kids consistent positive feedback for finishing assignments, completing their checklists, or acing a test. And give yourself that same positive feedback for shepherding your kids through distance learning successfully!

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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