Sitting at a computer all day is difficult for adults. It’s going to be really difficult for children who learn through play and need to move their bodies frequently. But don’t let virtual learning scare you! Here are 10 tips to ensure a positive virtual school year.
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Dedicated, Distraction-Free Workspace
Your student’s space doesn’t need to be large, but you should create a dedicated, distraction-free space to help kids focus on their digital school work. The learning space should be away from any commotion that might cause distractions, like other students, the television, pets, etc. Consider adding aesthetically pleasing items, such as family pictures, character posters, or colorful nameplates so your students will enjoy their virtual learning workspace.
Invest in Quality Head Phones
A set of quality kids headphones will also help reduce distractions and encourage focus. Get comfy headphones in a color that your kids will love. My two girls absolutely love these from amazon, and they’ve proven to be pretty durable. My 3 and 5 year old toss them about frequently. I also think these will last us a while because they expand with plenty of room to grow into them!
Create a Solid Morning Routine
Virtual school is still school, and you should have a routine to ramp up the day. I always feel more productive if I get dressed, but that’s not absolutely necessary. What’s important is that you create a routine you can follow each and every day that includes key activities to eliminate stress, anxiety, and chaos. Be sure to include non-negotiable activities like brushing teeth and a healthy breakfast before your virtual school start time!
Use a Planner to Stay Organized
Kids of all ages can benefit from keeping organized with a daily planner. It can be difficult to stay focused and to have boundaries when you live, work, school, and play all in the same space. Block scheduling activities, documenting to-dos, and taking notes will keep the chaos at bay. Bonus: you’re building real-life skills that will encourage productivity in the future!
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Schedule Time to Move (especially Outside!)
Humans need body movement. Children are especially prone to bad moods and temper tantrums if their bodies aren’t exercised regularly. Schedule time for activity. Try to include outdoor time each and every day (even in the rain or snow). The benefits of outdoor play are plentiful! If you can’t get outside, keep a list of indoor activities that will exert a little energy. Kid’s Cosmic Yoga, Just Dance videos, Simon Says, and a Family Dance Party are among our favorite indoor activities.
Schedule Mini-Brain Breaks
There’s plenty of research indicating the benefits of regular brain breaks, especially for kids. We’re talking just 5 minutes between activities. Movement and changing tasks actually activate, or ‘turn on’, kid’s brains. This enables kids to focus longer and learn more! Plan for brain breaks periodically throughout the day, in addition to outdoor playtime (which should be much longer than brain breaks). I find it’s best to actually pencil them into your planner between activities!
Plan a Nutritious Lunch and Snack
Food is fuel. Make sure your kids aren’t snacking on junk food all day long while they engage in virtual school. Plan for a wholesome lunch and healthy snacks each day. Consider sandwich shape cutters and other fun foods to make them more appealing. Pro Tip: Actually pack a lunch the night before, just like a regular school day! This will prevent any last-minute issues from getting in the way of your student’s healthy eating.
Schedule a daily check-in with your student. You only need 10 or 15 minutes, but it should be focused, uninterrupted time for you to catch up on their school work, and more importantly their emotional well-being. It’s ideal for this to be a set time each day (maybe just after dinner, or at 3:30 when their school day is over). We are living in unusual times. Virtual learning is new to most of us and we will surely encounter new struggles. Keep your finger on the pulse so you can assist with any issues immediately.
Keep In Touch with Friends
Kids need to interact with their peers. Help them maintain their social connections through this pandemic by scheduling playdates. Virtual playdates can be fun! Use FaceTime and make a craft together. Virtual picnics or online gaming can keep kids engaged with friends. Or you can encourage them to try old-school methods of keeping in touch, like swapping post cards or penpal letters!
Splurge on Fun School Supplies
Help your student get excited about the school year by splurging on a couple of fancy or fun school supplies. Find notebooks featuring their favorite characters or upgrade their art supplies to include fancy tape, markers, or high quality paper. Depending on your students interest, a little bit of school-supply flare can go a long way.
Do you have any tips or tricks to making this virtual school year a success? Share them below!