Virtual Learning Tips for Parents

In my last post, Tips for Teachers for Virtual Learning, I gave tips that teachers could use to help with virtual learning.  The tips help both teachers and students.  However, I feel that there are tips that parents can do at home to help as well.  I am sharing these tips as both a teacher and a parent who is participating in virtual learning right now.  In my district, we have been back to school with fully virtual learning for a week and a half.  Here are some tips for you, as parents, that I think you will find helpful:

1. Have a designated space for your child to learn.  In school, students have their own space at their desk or table.  I’m not saying you should go out and buy a desk, but if you already have one or want to purchase one, by all means use it.  There are some great options available for desks too.  They even make folding desks that you can put away (like the foldable tables) when you’re done using them.  Otherwise, find a space for your child to use that is set up for him or her and that they know it is “their school space”.  I think you’ll find that this is helpful because it will be the place they know to go “for school”. Here’s a folding desk that looks nice and is easily stored:

2. Print your child’s teacher’s schedule.  Have it next to your child.  Having a schedule is something that I recommended for teachers.  Having it available for your child will benefit both you and your child.  Children thrive off of predictable routines.  When they have their schedule visible, it helps them know how their day will go and what comes next.  It provides structure.  I would also recommend laminating it if you have access to a laminator.  If not, Amazon has some inexpensive options that are great.  I personally have an Amazon brand laminator at home and love it.  Here it is:

3. Provide opportunities for your child to release some energy.  Even while your child is working, there are some great products out there to help them maintain focus.  For starters, fidgets.  There are a HUGE variety of fidgets out there.  Not every kind works for every kid.  They are usually relatively inexpensive, so get a few and find the one that works for your child.  Here are a few ideas that I use with both my own children and with the students that I support.

Along with those fidgets, I also recommend a wobble seat cushion.  It has air inside and provides some core engagement, but also some sensory.  Here’s the one that I have:
Another thing I recommend, and my own children have, are stationary bikes under their desk.  It gives them a chance for their feet to move, while sitting still.  This can help enhance focus.  Kickbands are also another great option. 
5. Provide opportunities for screen-free activities.  When the school day is over, or if you get a break in the middle, have your child engage in some activities that are off of the screens (computer/TV).  Help your child to be active.  Go outside and get some fresh air.  Draw with chalk or do bubbles. Go for a walk.  Do a nature scavenger hunt.  Play board games.  Have fun together!  *Board games need their own post, so look for that one in the near future!
6. Take some time to teach your children buttons that they will need to click for their classes.  Teach them how to use basic computer skills/functions.  This will help them navigate during their class.  It will also help create and encourage independence.  If they are relying on you for each and every step throughout this process, it can be much harder on them and you in the long run.  
7. Be patient.  Being in school virtually and being in school virtually are two different things.  It’s OKAY if it’s not perfect.  Just try your best.   Give yourself and your child time to get used to this new way of learning.  Don’t stress if it doesn’t go exactly as planned. 

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