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How to Structure Distance Learning Days for your Children

With the Coronavirus outbreak happening in our community, most of us are getting ready to navigate a new daily routine for ourselves and our families. Our children are home from school for a minimum of a few weeks and most are participating in distance learning. A lot of children will need assistance from their parents in guiding them through this new process. It will be beneficial for most kids to have structure and consistency in their daily routines like they do at school. It can feel overwhelming to think of taking on the task of entertaining and teaching our children at home for an extended amount of time when that is not our family’s normal routine. Below are some steps that can help to ease anxiety, ensure things run more smoothly with their schoolwork, and give you and your family structure and consistency in your day:

-Make a schedule together as a family. It is important to get your child’s input as well to incorporate their ideas for how they would like their distance learning days at home to be structured. A fun activity for them could be to make a big schedule for the wall and color it with markers or decorate it with stickers.

-Schedule schoolwork time for your child at their most productive time of day. For some kids that may be first thing in the morning and for others they may need some free play time in the morning before they complete their work.

-Set up an organized, designated work-space for schoolwork. A lot of kids like playing “school” at home and may really enjoy making a special area for themselves to do their work that they can decorate or make their own.

-Build in a short amount of free time for your child to watch TV or to use technology. These times should be short in comparison to their other activities, but it can be helpful and fun for kids to have a break for technology in their day.

-Add in creative activities during the day such as making homemade play-doh, using shaving cream and food coloring to make art, or simply coloring or drawing a picture.

-Incorporate physical activity like going on walks, doing a kid’s fitness video, dancing around the living room, or even something silly like having a jumping jacks contest.

-Let your child make a “chill area” such as building a fort using sheets and Christmas lights where they can design a calming space for themselves to hang out in or read a book.

-After they finish their schoolwork, make some time to add in fun family activities like playing board games or taking turns choosing a movie to watch together.

-If your child is worried reassure them everything will be okay, stay positive, and allow them to discuss their fears and worries if they want to talk about them. It is important to validate their feelings and concerns but also to model calmness for our children to ease any anxieties they may have.

-If your child gets overwhelmed or frustrated with their schoolwork, be flexible with the schedule and understand that each day will not go as planned and that it will still be okay. Allow them some downtime and start again the next day!

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