The COVID-19 pandemic has put parents and teachers in a new position. Teachers now navigate the waters of virtual teaching. Parents are providing one-on-one academic support. Students must be independent and work without the chatter of their peers and noises of their classrooms. This new learning environment has left many parents feeling overwhelmed as we attempt to juggle work, teaching, and parenting. It's easy to get bogged down, but try to reframe this situation as an opportunity to see your child in action. Have you ever wondered what your child does while sitting in class? Does he zone out, is she the first to raise her hand, does he resist certain tasks? Now is your chance! Start to notice those tasks that your child approaches with excitement and those that are avoided. Help your child find enjoyment in learning and be creative and forgiving when giving those assignments sent by the teachers.
One of the most important ways to help your child (and parents too) is to create structure in what can feel like an unstructured environment. When creating an at-home learning environment, it is important to maintain as much consistency and predictability as possible. Try to simulate the actual school day. Make sure your child has a clean and quiet space to work, with a desk or table being an ideal spot for learning. Create a schedule for each day of learning. Block off periods of 30-45 minutes of learning and make sure to provide several breaks throughout the day. Sitting idle for long periods of time can lead to cognitive fatigue and inattention. Avoid this by encouraging your child to break up long tasks and assignments into smaller goals and taking breaks after completing each step. This allows for needed mental breaks and more opportunities of success and accomplishment. Movement breaks that include physical activity and/or stretching are also great ways to get your blood moving and your brain ready to focus. Have fun with your child and enjoy this unique opportunity to learn together.