Distant learning is going to be the new normal for many children and parents for the foreseeable future. There is one question that many parents are undoubtedly asking themselves right now: How do I keep my kids focused on school throughout the day? The following are 5 tips to follow that will help your children stay engaged and distraction-free with their distance learning.
Tip #1: Create a schedule (with goals) for the day
It’s important to create a daily schedule, since this will help your child fall into a routine rather than drifting aimlessly throughout the day. The schedule shouldn’t be too strict—the key is to create a list of subjects or activities that must be completed throughout the day. You should also include concrete goals so that your children have something to strive towards, such as reading 20 pages in a book, making an art craft, and so on.
Tip #2: Implement limits on digital distractions
All digital distractions, such as tablets, phones, video games, TVs, etc., need to be kept to a minimum during the “school day.” If you’d like, you can give your kids the option of using phones/tablets/etc. during their school breaks, but put a time limit on them or remind them that the devices must be turned off once the break is over.
Tip #3: Create a learning space
Just as an adult may need a home office in order to get work done, children need a separate space of their own so that they can learn. Don’t try to have your children do school in their bedrooms, on the couch where they watch TV, or other spaces where they are normally at home relaxing. Instead, create a designated learning space that can be kept clean and quiet when they need to focus.
Tip #4: Let your child have breaks throughout the day
Children get breaks throughout the day during school, and this should be reflected while they are at home as well. Make sure to give your children breaks so that they can go outside and play, talk with their friends via video calls or phone calls, get snacks and lunch, and so on. You should also remember that children are used to have the weekends free, with exceptions for homework, so limit your “school” on the weekends to what they might normally do such as a bit of assigned reading or a homework page or two.
Tip #5: Be flexible with how (and what) they learn
Remember, this is just as new and challenging to your children as it is to you. You will need to be flexible with how your children learn and even what they learn, as they struggle to adapt to a brand new school environment. Whenever possible, ask your children what they are interested in learning about; for instance, present a list of science topics (magnetism, gravity, rain, etc.) and ask them to pick which one interests them the most. This will help them become more invested in school at home and keep their minds engaged.
With the above tips in mind, you and your child will be on the path towards staying engaged and focused during distance learning.
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