Virtual learning is HARD on everyone
As a parent in the midst of a virtual learning, you may be finding yourself having to wear way too many hats, more than you probably ever anticipated. You may also find yourself muttering a few choice words or phrases to yourself on a daily basis, but we don’t have to get into that…
These are chaotic times, full of way too much unknown. While it may be a struggle as a parent, it’s also not much easier for our children. An environment, once being exclusively a place of connection and relaxation, a place of solace and separation, is now overlapping with school. It’s a lot on everyone.
My top 3 tips for virtual learning come from strategies that have been successful for the families I work with. I hope these tips can help you navigate through these times of chaos as well!
1. Structure and Routine
Humans are creatures of habit. We thrive off of routine and structure. Our children are, of course, no exception to this rule! With virtual learning, lay out some school day expectations with your children.
This could mean…
- Keeping pre-covid morning and bedtime routines
- “Checking in” their phone before their first class
- Having a designated spot in your home for learning
- or having them complete homework at the same time every afternoon/evening.
- It could even be as simple as requiring them to “dress” for the school day, getting them out of their pajamas and sweats
By implementing these strategies, your child will better be able to distinguish their school and home environments, even when both are happening in the same place!
2. Keep Organized
This is a tip I recommend for my client’s doing virtual school that have attention-deficit disorder, but it’s a tip I believe all at-home learners could benefit from right now. As mentioned before, having a designated space to do all academic work from can make all the difference. This could be the dining room table, a makeshift office in the basement, or a space shared with your at-home office. I strongly encourage parents to avoid allowing their children to do at-home learning from their bedroom, as this may result in too much time being isolated in their sleep space.
Whatever the space is, the more organized and clean it is, the better. This will allow for your child to keep academic work organized, and will give them a distraction-free space to learn.
Another way I encourage families to keep organized with virtual learning, is through writing things down. This can be through…
- Creating a simple to-do list every morning,
- A planner to keep organized throughout the week,
- Writing goals and objectives on a markerboard that is kept in the learning space (what kid doesn’t love a markerboard?!).
3. Set Boundaries
This tip is to help your children and to help YOU. Especially with our younger kids, four or five hours of screen time for virtual learning a day can be too much.
Somedays it might not feel plausible to get your child through that last class while also trying to do your own work. Other days your child might not be in the right headspace to do virtual learning, and as a result neither are you. There is screen time burn out, and it’s important to be mindful of when it’s taking a toll on our health and our children’s.
Set boundaries and do what you feel is necessary as a parent, and as a human being during a global pandemic, to ensure your children’s learning is productive, and practical. At the time it may feel a lot like parent guilt, learning to set boundaries with rigorous school schedules, and during this time it can be important to remind yourself that in terms of virtual learning, there is no gold standard. This is a time for trial-and-error for all of us, you know what’s best for your child.
For more virtual learning advice, check out our article on how to get your child virtual learning independently or 3 Ways to Stay Connected with Your Child When You’re Stressed AF