Just as the pandemic has changed how many of us work, travel, shop and otherwise go about our day-to-day lives, the ongoing public health crisis has also affected education. Following the mass closures of K-12 schools earlier in the year, 74 percent of the 100 largest school districts in the U.S. decided to move forward with remote learning as their sole instructional approach for the new school year this fall, according to Education Week.
If your child’s school has opted for virtual learning this year, you might wonder what you can do to ensure they stay focused and keep up with their schoolwork. Here are a few steps you can take to help them stay engaged while learning from home.
1. Set up a designated learning space and minimize distractions.
If you can, set up a relatively quiet area in your home for your child to focus on their virtual learning. Try to designate a space where there isn’t any clutter or distracting noise, as advised in the Johns Hopkins School of Education article “8 Tips to Help Your Child Focus and Stay Engaged During Distance Learning.”
2. Give them plenty of positive reinforcement.
Praise can be an extremely effective motivational tool, according to the KQED article “Evidence-Backed Ways Parents Can Think Like a Teacher to Improve Virtual Learning.” When your child succeeds at staying on task, completing assignments, and working toward their goals, be sure to offer them encouraging words and let them know you’re proud of their efforts.
3. Communicate with your child’s teachers.
It’s easier to make sure your kids are on track in the virtual classroom if you regularly check in with their instructors to see how they’re doing, according to the CNBC article “5 ways parents can help kids thrive amid remote learning.” This is especially useful if your children have a schedule that combines in-person schooling on some days with remote learning on others.
4. Take regular breaks.
Encourage your child to walk away from their virtual lesson or activity if they start to get frustrated or tired, the Johns Hopkins School of Education article advises. Brief 5-10 minute breaks throughout the day and a longer break for lunch will help prevent virtual learning fatigue.
5. Make sure they get enough rest.
Despite the way the pandemic has disrupted many of our daily routines, it’s important to enforce regular bedtimes to keep your kids from becoming exhausted, according to the Greater Good Magazine article “Three Ways to Help Your Kids Succeed at Distance Learning.” If they’re too tired, they won’t be able to focus on remote learning.
Earlier this year, in response to the switch to virtual learning, the Little Steps team decided to launch programming to supplement remote education and help parents and caregivers. We already offered a preschool readiness program, and this fall we launched enrichment pods that provide supplemental reinforcement in areas such as speech, handwriting and reading for Pre-K through 5th-grade students.
Each socially distanced pod meets for 2.5 hours and is led by a team of Little Steps therapists. Please visit the enrichment pods section of our website to learn more.
If you’d like more information about our enrichment pods and other services, you can also contact our team of pediatric professionals. We offer compassionate and comprehensive care to improve the lives of children one step at a time from our clinics located in Chicago, Glenview, Highland Park, Wilmette and Willowbrook – as well as via our sister company, Little Steps Florida LLC. Please give us a call at 847-707-6744 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.