As heard on the Teddi Mellencamp podcast!
Who isn’t stressed about e-learning this fall? If you’re feeling overwhelmed and not sure how to handle school this fall (Will it be remote? Will it be in person?), check out our tips below!
- Be mindful of a reasonable attention span for your children and set expectations accordingly- Child behavior experts suggest a reasonable attention span of a child is about 2-3 minutes per year of their age. So if you are trying to teach a four year old, you can expect that they can pay attention for about 12 minus before they may need a break. You’ll get a little more from an 8-10 year old – closer to 30 minutes, but knowing that your child may not have a long duration of focus may help set expectations for everyone and also give him/ her a goal of when they can take a pause from learning and when to take breaks.
- It’s helpful to have a set place where kids can do their work, possibly outside of their bedroom. Although my kids flourished once I took them out of the common kitchen area and had them work in their rooms, younger kids may benefit from a fun, set workspace outside of their bedroom that they can pick out their own office supplies or call their own “home office” it can set a tone for a more exciting way to work. Also make a point to buy school supplies just like you would with a traditional back to school environment – kids love their new stuff and it will kick off the school year right.
- It’s helpful to preview the schedule of work the week each night before so that there are no surprises. Also setting the daily schedule fit with lunch and recess breaks just like at school. Important for young kids is maintaining a school schedule just like they’ve come to expect from their teachers. Also lunches can be planned in advance so that you don’t become a short order cook and picking one day to even order in lunch as a fun alternative to the PB&J! Cooking at home is a grind, but not if menus can be planned in advance with kids input. If you are stressed about academics, consider an assessment like the ones at Mathnasium, to see where your kiddo stacks up after the summer brain drain.
- Use technology responsibly to motivate your kids to stay on tasks or to fill gaps of downtime. Some parents like using Alexa audio reminders to remind kids of when their next zoom call is. Common Sense Media has a great list for parents to use to help kids stay on task – one called Kazu Time is a visual timer app for kids 3-8 that follows a cute Husky dog named Kazu who’s racing on a sled. Parents can input an activity and set time and then kids follow along on the dog’s progress for the activity to see how much they have left to achieve their goal. Or for older kids who blow through their work quickly, I love this site “The Great Courses” that’s being called the Netflix of learning – on demand learning for older kids from sources like National Geographic, The Smithsonian and more. I also love meditative apps for kids like Headspace that allow for a short mental break from the routine if motivation is low. A guided meditation course for kids can help to reset!
- Create mommy me time. I feel like I’m going back to when my kids were babies and I needed to carve out some personal time – same with everyone being at home at the same time. If you’re able to work it out with your work or partner’s work schedule, 20 minutes of a walk around the block, a quick virtual low cost pilates or yoga class can do wonders to reset things when it gets frustrating managing the household and e learning. Also it’s okay to let the tantrums go – sometimes we all need to get out our frustrations. Telling kids you can relate and it’s okay to be upset goes a long way. Another good resource is Virtual Learning Partners with their long list of remote mindfulness classes!