Distance learning. These days those words can elicit a cascade of stress sweat and even tears. The prospect of trying to educate your kiddos from home can certainly be daunting. There are all sorts of “in-and-outs”, new technology to figure out and that doesn’t even include navigating your own schedule.
Hopefully, with these tips and tricks, we can help make distance learning and your life a little bit easier.
Stick to a schedule
The first, and possibly most crucial tip is to stick to a schedule. Yes, it’s important for children to have structure, but it also makes the day-to-day less complicated for you, as a parent or caregiver. Get up at the same time you normally would, eat breakfast, get ready, and get down to business all on the same schedule as usual. At the very least, make a calendar of events or write down the must-dos for each day and stick to them. Save yourself from having to figure out who needs to do what and when. It’s one less thing to weigh on your busy mind.
Use a checklist
Checklists are a tried and true way to be sure everything that needs doing gets done. Avoid that, “I think I’m forgetting something” feeling by writing down the must-dos and checking them off as you go. And if you’re one of those people who lay away at night remembering all the things you have to do tomorrow, try keeping a notepad and pen on your bedside so you can write them down and stop worrying you’ll forget.
Designate a space
Having a designated space to work is important for parents and children alike. It can help to signal to your brain that it’s time to work or time for a break when you step away. A designated space should be kept clear of toys and items that can distract. This is also an opportunity to make your child’s area their own. Add some comfort and style so you and your child feel inspired, comfortable, and ready to work.
Periodic distractions are unavoidable from time to time but minimizing the number of distractions is key to achieving focus. Kiddos should put away games, toys and items that could cause them to be distracted. Try to keep external sound to a minimum, turn the TV off, and don’t allow the use of social media during school hours.
Keep a tidy space
Keeping your space clean is important in any workspace. It’s essential to productivity and concentration. Try placing writing instruments in a cup, organize papers in folders, have a tray for sorting projects, even keep cords straight with labels and a cord holder. And if you need some ideas to help you organize, check out Pinterest for tons of space-saving ideas.
Prep meals like normal
Dad, what’s for lunch? Honey, what’s for dinner? The eternal question strikes again!
Avoid having to answer this question for the millionth time by meal prepping. It’s a great way to save time and the stress of having to figure out meals each day. Search online for meal ideas and recipes, make a grocery list, and take a Sunday afternoon to prep the family’s lunches for the entire week. It can even be helpful to make a schedule and put it on the fridge for all to see. It’s just one more way to avoid that inevitable question.
Schedule breaks and time to play
Remember how glorious recess was when you were a kid? Playing kickball, jumping rope, or just having time to giggle and chat with your friends. It’s the perfect short amount of time to get those wiggles out, to stretch, or to get a snack. Breaks are also important for clearing your mind and allowing your eyes to focus outside of your computer screen. These days, with virtual learning kiddos need screen breaks just as much as adults. Designate a time each day to take a break, go outside, do some jumping jacks, or just grab a glass of water. Your tired eyes will thank you.
Pay attention to your child’s learning style
Learning style is often an overlooked topic. With overcrowded classrooms and one teaching style per teacher, it can be a struggle for children with varied learning styles to keep up in the classroom. However, finding the silver lining, this time at home can be used to hone in on what your child’s style may be and help them to flourish. Visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or tactile, observe your child and determine their style. Hop online for some more info and help tailor their learning experience.
Get guidance from your child’s school
Your child’s school has likely been preparing for the return of school, virtual or not, for months. Which means, they are well equipped and ready to answer any questions you may have. Having computer issues? Most schools have a process in place to help you figure out a solution. When in doubt, don’t forget that your child’s teacher is there to help. This new world of distance learning is new to them, but that means there’s room for suggestions and they want this process to be as seamless as possible too. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
Remember it’s normal to be a little stressed
You’re not alone. Let me repeat that…you are not alone in this. These are unprecedented times and it is understandable to be stressed out at times. It’s important to remember that this is just a season. Processes will smooth themselves out, you’re doing the best you can and this craziness won’t last forever. Take a deep breath and try to find a moment for yourself.
Seek support if you need it
If ever you feel overwhelmed to the point of breaking, please reach out to someone. Be it a family member, friend or even a helpline. There are resources available and you do not have to go through this by yourself. Check out some of the links below for help with such issues as:
- Feeling overwhelmed sheltering in place with my children and family.
- How do I manage homeschooling my kids?
- How do I balance working at home and helping my kids with their schoolwork?
- Where do I go for food for my family?
- How do I handle my bratty teenager?
- My spouse and I don’t get along. How do we parent our kids together?
- I’m so angry with my child! How do I calm down so I won’t hurt him?
- AND MORE!
And finally, don’t forget to try to have some fun. Many parents dream of more time with their families. Make the most of this special opportunity by taking moments to enjoy the extra time. Give extra hugs, get messy in the yard or kitchen, go on scavenger hunts, or just build a blanket fort and watch movies all day. Make this a time with your family that you can remember fondly.
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