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By: Alison Jacobson
Posted on: Sep 3, 2020

4 Tips To Make Distance Learning Work for Your Kids and You

This school year is going to be hugely different for all of us. While there are some schools going back full time, many either have a hybrid schedule or complete distance learning programs that are being rolled out. For parents who work outside the home this is incredibly difficult, but it’s also tough on parents who work from home. Last spring proved that trying to find that balance between monitoring kids while trying to get your own work accomplished is almost impossible. While different ages of children present different challenges, there are some strategies that you can put in place to get your family working as a team at any age.

Distance Learning Tip #1: Set up a classroom space

My daughter got into the habit of doing her online work laying in bed. That lasted only a few weeks. Just as we need a separation from office space and family space so do they. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate but set up an area that is designated “school space.” This could literally be a piece of your dining room table or a corner in your living room. Make sure it’s well lit, is set up with school supplies and is away from a TV or other distraction.

Distance Learning Tip #2: Create a structure

Get a white board that can be hung up and list out the entire school schedule for the week with extra room for notes on tests, assignments or projects. For older kids that have free periods or study halls, discuss what they plan to do during that free time, either homework, extra studying or maybe even help you with a chore around the house! Try and make the distance learning “school day” as close to regular as possible including making lunches and snacks and actually getting dressed! Re-establish and stick to bedtimes.

Distance Learning Tip #3: Establish work boundaries

If you and your partner both work from home, plan out any scheduled zoom calls or deadlines for the coming week so that you can tag-team dealing with the kids if need be. If you’re a single parent, set ground rules for your kids. When you are on a call they need to wait until after you’re off to ask you a question. If you have a home office with a door, hang a sign when you can’t be disturbed. Kids can learn at any age that your business calls are important and they need to wait to ask you a question.

Schedule some outdoor social time into your day. Everyone needs to burn off energy and get some space, especially with distance learning and staring at a screen all day. Plan some breaks in the day just like the kids would have recess at school. They need get a change of scenery once in a while as well. Also plan on some social distance gatherings with some classmates so they can maintain friendships.

Distance Learning Tip #4: Be easy on yourself!

You can have the best laid-out plan, but something will always pop up unexpectedly. Be easy on yourself. I’ve had too many parents come to me anxious because they feel they’re a terrible parent because they’re not teaching their child. This is uncharted territory and congratulate yourself that your doing a great job working through it!