The 2020 school year is different than ever before. Along with many changes in the school year, more than likely, your child’s learning environment includes a virtual learning component. Unlike leisure screen time, virtual learning requires a level of focus that many kids (and parents!) may not be used to. To help ease the transition from the classroom to the virtual classroom, we’ve comprised a list of tips to help kids focus and learn during this challenging time.
Set Reasonable Expectations
Whether you’re homeschooling your child or your child is participating in a school-based virtual learning environment, reasonable expectations are key. For instance, older children are able to sustain focus longer than younger children. Also, remember that it’s not beneficial to compare the previous school year to this one. Because of the increased changes and challenges of the current school year, kids’ needs are different than ever before. It’s important for parents, teachers, and students to be patient with themselves and those around them as they navigate this new environment.
Create a Good Learning Environment
Experts agree that having a designated space for learning can make the transition from free time to classroom time easier. Make sure supplies are readily available in a quiet space with as few distractions as possible. Having the learning space in a room other than your kid’s bedroom is also ideal. If possible, provide your child with a dedicated device that’s only used for virtual learning. This can cut down on added distractions and make the beginning and end of the “school” day more defined.
Breaks are Beneficial
Breaks are a crucial part of sustaining a positive virtual learning experience. Ideally, breaks would include physical activity without screen time. Taking a five to ten-minute break to stretch, talk walk, eat a snack, or chat with a friend, is crucial to give a child’s brain a break. Breaks are proven to be essential for processing stress, increasing productivity, and inspire creativity.
When In Doubt Write It Out
The Institute of Digital Marketing and Child Development encourages parents and kids to write out their schedule, goals, tasks, and deadlines for the week. A written plan can help inspire accountability, track progress, and keep everyone on track. Make sure that kids are involved in creating the plan and have input into what system works best for them.
Celebrate Along the Way
Let’s face it. This year has created challenges and frustrations that many of us never fathomed. Sustained stress for a long period of time is detrimental to mental and physical health, which can also impact focus and motivation. It’s essential to celebrate small successes and milestones along the way. Call a family meeting and come up with a plan of what and how you can celebrate your child’s successes. For instance, make a favorite meal on Friday night to celebrate the end of the week, or do a favorite midday activity to mark the halfway point of the school day.
Although 2020 has posed many unexpected challenges for the school year, parents and students can create harmony and balance along the way. Implementing strategies to increase focus during virtual learning also reduces stress, increases productivity, and sparks creativity. The most important thing to remember is that everyone is doing the best they can and to be understanding of the process.