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How Parents Can Assist In At-Home Learning

Over the last two years, schools have shut down periodically in response to the spread of COVID-19.

Families are faced with uncertainty, a lack of continuity in the learning process, and the stress of shifting responsibilities at a time when anxiety is already high.

Having your kids learn at home while you work remotely can be overwhelming.

Follow these steps to reduce stress and help your kids thrive during this season.

How Parents Can Assist In At-Home Learning

1. Shift Perspective

Start by taking a deep breath. With your kids home all the time, your schedule will look completely different from what you’re used to, and that’s okay.

In fact, it could even turn out to be a good thing!

Remember that education is so much more than completing worksheets and meeting requirements. Research suggests that a child’s relationship with their parents is the most critical factor for good mental health.

During this time, you have the opportunity to deepen your family relationships and strengthen your child’s social and emotional health.

2. Be a Role Model

Working from home may already be a shift for you as a parent, and it’s not easy to maintain productivity alongside your other responsibilities.

For better or worse, being home makes it easier to be distracted by domestic tasks and hobbies rather than your job.

These are the same pressures your children will face when trying to work from home.

Before you get frustrated with your kids’ attention spans, take a look at your own.

How can you model maturity and healthy emotions for your kids?

Give yourself grace, and then extend it to your kids.

Life isn’t meant to be perfect, and energy doesn’t always peak during work hours.

Allow it to be messy, and check your attitude – if you’re constantly stressed, negative, and fearful, your children probably will be too.

Backpack of school child with face mask

3. Create Space

Choosing a physical space for your child’s school activities can help create mental space to focus on the tasks they need to do.

Find a special place for them to work, and move all distractions out of the way.

It’s best to choose a spot that isn’t associated with relaxing activities, like sleeping or family time.

Busy parts of the house, like the kitchen, hallways, and the front door, can also be distracting.

Ask your child for input on where they’d like to work, and then let them move around until they find the perfect spot.

Parents helping the kids with their homework

4. Set a Routine

Many children struggle with online learning because they associate being home with resting, family time, or entertainment.

You can help your children focus at home by creating a routine for them that makes their school expectations clear.

One-on-one education is much faster than classroom sessions, so your child’s school time shouldn’t take all day.

For elementary and middle schoolers, a reasonable estimate is two to four hours of work per day.

You can also use sticky notes or a checklist to help kids take charge of their own learning time.

5. Use Free Resources

If you need more teaching materials, there are free online teaching resources for many different subjects.

Take your kids on a virtual tour of the Smithsonian or the Cincinnati Zoo, engage them with NASA’s free space website for kids, or end your day by listening to free audiobooks together.

Learning from home is also the perfect time for kids to take a deep dive into what interests them.

Let them spend extra time reading and engaging with topics they love and get creative with your educational plan.

For traditional homeschoolers, this is called a unit study. If your child finds a topic they love, let them explore it in as many creative ways as possible.

In addition to having fun, your child will practice valuable skills like reading, writing, researching, asking questions, and reporting on what they’ve learned.

How Parents Can Assist In At-Home Learning

6. Stay Active

Teaching focus and responsibility is important, but kids were not meant to sit still all day.

If you try to make them, you’ll end up frustrated and defeated.

Studies show that kids learn and develop through play – giving your child time to be a child is essential to their physical and emotional well-being.

Do your best to incorporate movement and time outside into every day.

Your kids’ bodies need to train and stretch just like their minds, and a healthy body means better focus, sleep, and regulation of emotion.

Research shows that time outside can significantly reduce stress, strengthen the immune system, and help kids grow mentally and emotionally.

Angry and tired schoolgirl studying with a pile of books on her desk

7. Ask for Help

Nowhere does it say you have to do this all on your own. If you’re struggling, reach out to teachers for help.

Talk to your partner or friends about sharing teaching time, and remember that you can always reinvent your schedule and start over.

If your child has learning disabilities or special needs, it’s especially important to ask for help.

There is nothing wrong with you if you’re struggling, and your child will be okay if they get a little behind in their work.

There are many resources available to help you give your child the best education possible!

How Parents Can Assist In At-Home Learning

8. Prioritize Fun

You’re a parent, partner, teacher, full-time employee, and individual with emotional and physical needs.

It’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of your responsibilities and the desire to do everything well!

One of the best ways to fight stress is to have fun. There’s no right way to do this – just spend time with and without your kids having fun.

Laughter, creativity, and joy will keep you healthy and happy until school sessions go back to normal.

Start Here

Helping your kids learn from home is challenging, but it’s also an opportunity for your family to experience some pretty incredible growth.

Use these tips to fight distraction and overwhelm, and create a family routine that serves everyone well. You can do it!

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