How to Prepare for Distance Learning 2.0

It’s a new school year – one which kids will likely spend learning at home, again. You’d think that your past experience would have made you and your kids better prepared for remote learning. Unfortunately, getting back into online learning isn’t that easy.

While motivating kids to study was already challenging before the pandemic, remote classes take things to the next level. Sitting all day in front of a screen can be draining. (After all, that’s what many adults do for work, right?) So how can you help your kids get the most out of their second year of online learning? Here are some tips for parents who want to make the most out of a difficult situation.

Create the right environment.

A lot of us have learned this the hard way last year. Not having a dedicated space for study means chaos for online students. Try to remove all possible distractions from your child’s desk, like toys or comic books. (Also make sure they don’t see the TV at all!) A quiet spot is best but if that’s not possible, have them use headphones. Keep all their school materials at hand and encourage them to think of their study space as the classroom.

Reward good habits.

While they’re growing up, you want your kids to build good patterns that they’ll naturally fall into. That’s why it’s important to reward children not based on outcomes, but on processes. Two kids might get to class at the same time, but their paths may not be similar. Understand how your child operates and nudge them towards the right direction with rewards. Building the right habits helps get your kids ready for school the right way.

Break down complex tasks.

Homework has always been a drudgery, and doing it online seems even more senseless for kids. To help overcome their dread, try splitting your kids’ assignments into smaller parts. Have them finish the first step and celebrate that accomplishment. Getting something done gives your child a sense of fulfillment and can help motivate him or her to do the next task. Remember, though, that the tasks shouldn’t be too easy that your child just loses interest. Getting the right level of difficulty can help your child view homework as something not just doable, but worthwhile.

Use a color-coded calendar.

This is as much for your kids as it is for you. Color-coding the subjects (for example, red for English, green for Math, yellow for History) helps your child get organized. It can also help you both keep track of assignments and exams for different classes. Seeing the blocks of color on a sheet serves as a visual cue for what’s in store for the day or the week.

Get in some playtime.

Yes, that’s right. Counterintuitive as it may sound, kids need physical play and experimentation to get their brain going. Create pockets of time where your kid can explore something they enjoy – it could be painting, biking, or even designing an obstacle course in your living room. Having a self-defined playtime gives your child something to look forward to and helps them get through the not-so-pleasant parts of school.

Another year of online learning can be challenging but there are ways of making the journey less stressful and more enjoyable. At the end of the day, learning should be fun – both for you and for your child.