Setting Up for Success

Distance Learning tips

Make a space

Create a special, personalized corner of a room dedicated to learning, creating, and reading. Use a movable box or crate if space is precious. Let your kid help prepare the space for school, even if that just means putting a decorated pencil box next to the device they'll be using. Getting the space ready will help them get ready to learn.

Set a routine

Little kids need structure, so make sure to let them know what to expect. You can create a visual schedule they can follow. Older kids can use a calendar, planner, chalkboard, or digital organizer to keep track of what's happening each day. Have them follow a routine as if they're going to school (getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc.) instead of lying in bed in their pajamas, which could lead to less learning.Breaks are really important, especially for kids with learning and attention issues, so make sure to build those in and break assignments into smaller pieces.

Keep them close

When it's hard for your kid to focus, try to keep them close. Consider setting up nonverbal or one-word cues to help get them back on track.Depending on your circumstances, it may not be possible to keep your kid in sight all the time, but it'll definitely be harder to keep them on track if they're completely unsupervised. Try to make sure you or another family member has eyeballs on them as much as possible.  

Use natural consequences

While it might be tempting to "reward" your kid with screen use, that can set kids up to see screens as a coveted commodity. Instead, you can frame it as a timing issue: "We have three hours in the evening, so if you put strong effort into your work and finish, you'll have time to play your video game." If intrinsic motivation is hard to come by, you can incentivize effort and progress in a way that makes sense. Come up with ideas with your kid, set benchmarks, and praise the process along the way.

Encourage self-regulation

Talk to kids about the connection between bodies and brains and what happens in their bodies when they feel frustrated, excited, or sad. This awareness helps kids recognize and manage their emotions.If you have other devices in your house, keep them out of your kid's workspace if possible. This can also mean shutting down phones, keeping phones in a designated place for the day, and putting away remotes if temptation takes over.

Play pretend

Little kids feeling at loose ends might respond to some role playing. Cast your kid in the role of work partner, teacher, or researcher to help them stick to a task (and let you stick to yours!).Though older kids won't want to play pretend, they may respond to an honest conversation about taking on more responsibility (like chores, self-regulation, etc.) because they're older and gaining maturity. You might be surprised how they rise to the challenge in response.

Display works

Let kids hang up their drawings, writing, or other projects in your home. It shows them you're proud of their work and helps them value their learning.Even big kids like when you show pride in their work by bragging about their efforts and showing off their work. (But always ask before you post anything!)

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