How To Help Your Child Get Off to a Solid Start at Virtual Learning
Back-to-school season is always a challenging time for kids and parents alike. No more free summer schedules of sleeping in. It’s time to wake up early, get back into a routine and head off to school. Except this year, school will look different right from the start, as learning will be done virtually for most kids.
There are some things you can do as a parent, to help your child get into a routine steady and make sure your children’s learning is not too disrupted, especially for the first days back.
Create a Consistent Routine
One of the best ways to get started right, is to create and follow a consistent daily routine. This will build clear expectations of what’s next and minimize distractions. A routine will also help turn transitions into habits over time. Habits are things kids can do faster without much push back. The routine has a start time, breaks, lunch, recess and an ending. This type of detail will help them transition back to in-person school, when it happens.
Create a Dedicated Work Space – Not Their Bed
Having a place set up specifically for school time, including supplies for their lessons, will help them settle into that consistent routine. When they are at the desk or table and surrounded by the things their brain associated with school, children will shift into thinking about school. Just like when we go to work, we shift into work mode. Their bed is already associated with relaxation and sleep. This is why their bed is a poor choice for school work.
Make the Schedule Visual
Once you figure out what the daily routine looks like, make a chart, use pictures, make it a visual experience so they can learn to follow it. This gives them a resource to consult instead of simply asking you. When you are inevitably asked “what’s next?”, your reply can be, “I’m not sure. Have you checked the schedule?” This is a solid step towards helping children manage their own time and schedules as well as learning to solve their own problems.
When it is time for a break, make sure that break is a ‘move your body’ break, not a screen break. Kids are bouncy balls of potential energy waiting to bounce. Sitting for hours in front of a computer is far from ideal. So when it’s break time, get them outside to run, jump and burn off that excess energy. That will help them manage their fidgety bodies better during the virtual lessons.
Put in some framework work up front to build a routine, then help your children follow it. This effort up front will help make the rest of a difficult year easier.