Updated: 6 days ago
Schools are closed all around the world due to COVID-19, which means many of us have kids who have had their worlds turned upside down as distance learning has replaced on campus schooling. Some have paper packets to do that won't be graded, others have daily assignments though google classroom and daily ZOOM meetings for lessons and check-ins.
It has been a tough adjustment for both parents and students. If you have kids like mine, then your days are mostly spent being the schoolwork enforcer which leads to your child screaming at you and telling you how much you suck. It's not exactly all sunshine and rainbows over in this household. A Lot of the fun activities I had planned during this free time stuck at home have been placed on the back burner because distance learning has taken over.
After days of fighting with my kids and being overwhelmed with this new role of......not quite sure what I'd call this role. But after many days of having this unconventional role, I started to wonder how I could make this easier and less stressful. How can I help my kids get their work done without arguing over it all day, everyday? After doing some research, I ran into some articles and videos that provided excellent advice for parents that are dealing with navigating distance learning with their children and here are the best tips I found:
To help your child manage their time, help them establish a daily learning schedule. Your kids were used to having a daily routine and then it was ripped out from under them. Kids thrive on routine and knowing what's next. Creating a daily schedule and posting it near their work space will help them have something to reference while they get the hang of their new daily routine.
This could be listed on a whiteboard or a piece of paper. For younger kids, you can use pictures to help them. Whichever works best. Kids love visuals!
Routines can take awhile to establish so don't expect overnight change. As parents, we can help by gently guiding and encouraging our children throughout the day until they have it down.
Set Bedtime and Wake Up Times
More on routine-Establish and maintain bedtime during this time! Sleep is important for growth and development. Treat the weeknights like any other school night by setting an appropriate bedtime. Take baths, grab a cup of water, brush teeth, bedtime story, and cuddles.
Establishing a night time routine before bed will help make falling asleep easier.
My kids wake up at the same time everyday, but if your kids tend to over sleep, go ahead and set an alarm to wake them up. (Oversleeping can cause crankiness just as undersleeping can.)
Use Time Blocks
You may want to push your kids to get all of their work done at once, but this is actually not recommended. Kids have short attention spans and work best by working in bursts of time. Appropriate time blocks by grade looks like this:
Kindergarten-2nd Grade: 15-20 minutes
3rd-5th: 20-30 minutes
Middle School/High Schoolers: 45 minutes
If you have a 1st grader, they'd work for 20 mins. tops and then they get a break from school work for about 20 mins., then back to work.
The total learning time for the day should be between 3-6 hours, with younger kids starting at 3 hours.
Create A Designated Workplace
Have a quiet and organized place for your child to work at. It could be a desk, a table set up in their room, or the kitchen table. I chose a table in my kids' room because they can close the door to block out the noise while on their ZOOM meetings. *There is a pencil, sharpener, and notepaper easily accessible in this area.
Try a room divider. You can turn any room into a work space by using this room divider to cut out visual distractions while your child is working and during ZOOM meetings!
How To Manage With Multiple Kids
I have two kids that are distance learning right now. Trying to stretch myself between the two of them when they need help at the same time is too stressful for me. A better way I handle this is by rotating their blocks. When one child is working at the desk for their time block, the other is having their break and then they switch. This way, I can focus better on what they need help with and they can have my undivided attention-ONE AT A TIME!
For Parents Working At Home
It can be tough to work from home while helping your child with distance learning. Try to take breaks at the same time, eat lunch together, schedule daily walks together, and include your schedule on your child's schedule. This way, your child will know what time works best to ask you for help and you know when not to schedule yourself so you can be available for tech help during ZOOM meetings.
While your child is learning how to use an Ipad and other tech skills, you can teach them how to send you a message through google or messenger when they need your assistance-You're always just a text away.
Don't Forget To Make Time For Fun
This is a stressful time for everyone. Be sure to still plan for fun activities to do with your kids daily. Bake together, get outside, play board games, anything! Just be sure to have fun and enjoy life together however you can during this trying time. Your kids still need something enjoyable to look forward to that will encourage them to get their school work finished for the day so they can move on to better things.
This is definitely a time you won't ever forget. Make the best of the situation and don't forget to be easy on yourself and your kids. This is new for everyone and together we will figure this out. It just takes time. You got this momma!