Distance Learning Tips, Tricks, and Ideas to Keep Little Minds Learning (and Parents Sane!)

young girl sits on her parent's lap looking at a laptop

As many family prepare for kids to go back to school, most are also preparing for that school to be online for an undefined amount of time. Distance learning can be full of obstacles, some big, some small. But with a little planning and some patience, your student can be successful with distance learning!

Set Everyone’s Expectations

This is a big one. Not only do we as parents need to set our expectations for what our kids can accomplish during distance learning, we need to help our kids set their own expectations for the process. When everyone knows what is expected of them, they are more likely to have a desirable result.

Have a conversation with your child, even a young child, in a comfortable setting. Talk through what is going to happen; lessons will need to be done on the computer, reading needs to happen every day, they will need to work independently, etc. Be sure to ask your child what they are excited about, and what they might be worried about, and really listen to the answers. Be sure to talk through any worries and problem solve them together.

Create a Schedule

A schedule can be a little bit tricky! Knowing your child’s natural rhythm is helpful in creating a schedule for them. Using your school’s schedule, begin to build in time for your child for things like wake up, breakfast, get dressed, exercise, etc. Create windows that are large enough to accomplish a task, but also establish the rules should they finish the task early. Do they move on to the next task? Or should they find an activity like reading, flashcards, or a chore?

Build in Free Time

Be sure to give free time too – and time without a screen. Make a list of activities for them to choose from during their free time and then let them manage themselves during that time. This dose of free time coupled with some activity can help recharge little minds and calm small bodies too.

Pair Up

If and where possible, pairing up with a family that you can share some learning time with is a great way to motivate little minds. Sometimes a little change in scenery and adding a friend to the mix can be a big difference.

Remember Face Time

The lack of time spent with friends can weigh heavily on kids. It may not seem like it, but getting to interact with their friends is a big emotional boost for children. If an in-person, safe play date isn’t an option, set up a time for them to connect digitally through Face Time, Zoom, or Skype. If they are struggling with what to do during these sessions, make a plan like read a book to each other, paint together, tell about their favorite part of their day – anything to break the ice and get them conversing.