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Distance Learning Survival Tips

Guide for How To Support Your Kids During Distance Learning

Your house may now be your child’s classroom. You may feel a little lost about how to make that work alongside your own obligations. Here is your Distance Learning Survival Guide – some helpful teacher tips for supporting your child with distance learning or even homework time:

  • Use simple, real consequences

“If you do your work for the next 10 (20, 30…) minutes, you’ll have time for fun when you are done.” Pick a specific, agreed upon, activity your child will get to do as a reward for finishing the work within the time set. By making this concrete, positive consequence for doing the chunk of work, you teach your child how to increase work stamina, delay gratification, and how to break bigger, sometimes overwhelming, tasks into smaller, manageable pieces.

Use movement breaks to increase or reset focus. This is a simple, easy way to get back on track when things go off the rails. While this is particularly good for students with attention deficits, movement breaks are a healthy way to re-energize and refocus for us all (including you, parents – do these together!). Whether your child is engaged in distance learning, or is just on the computer for long periods of time with homework, these breaks can really improve stamina and focus.

  • Use humor to lighten the mood

Humor can really help when things become difficult. The more frustrated you get with the situation, the more your kids will act out. If you have technical difficulty or something isn’t getting done, instead of getting angry, try laughing about it or redirecting to something lighter. That way, everyone can regroup and reconnect, bringing the “distance” part of “distance learning” out of the equation. Once you have a good laugh, everyone will be more relaxed and better equipped to try again.

  • Give specific praise vs. general praise

Don’t just say “great job.” Instead, state the actual accomplishment, such as,  “You worked hard and finished all the math problems. I’m so proud of you!” When you recognize the specific tasks that get done, your child will be able to own that skill more, recognize that you paid attention and care, remember your praise better, and use that memory to get through the next difficult patch (when you praise them specifically again once it’s done).

  • Create consistent routines for the day by:
    • Have a designated place for school work
    • Have all the materials needed at the ready (ask your teacher for a daily list if you are unsure)
    • Post login information and instructions for distance learning nearby for easy access
    • Create a schedule for school work, eating and breaks, and stick to it
    • Use a calendar to stay on track and make use of visual reminders
  • Use technology to help focus online

Staying focused online can be challenging for kids, even those who enjoy spending time on the computer, or do well with distance learning. It may seem counter-intuitive, but there are actually apps which are tools to help keep kids focused on their online school work. With juggling their own work and other responsibilities, parents can’t always oversee their kids. These apps, recommended by Common Sense Media, can help:

  • RescueTime This plug-in reports on productivity and lets you set limits to either totally block sites or allow a specific period of time for certain activities.
  • Bear in Mind Use this app to set reminders and create to-do lists to help younger kids stay on track.
  • JustRead Strip out all the ads from your kids’ webpages with this plug-in, so they can just focus on their research.
  • Keep looking for and accessing fresh, free online resources

We are all trying to cope with the changes we are experiencing with distance learning and more as best as possible. These tips should help make the “home classroom” a little more productive and a little less stressful.

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