May 1, 2020 — By Wendy Sachs

So it is likely that you are now working with kids who are taking part in virtual learning. And it is also likely that this is all a bit overwhelming! Here are some great ideas to make it easier.

Hopefully, by now you have established a routine. Remember the difference between a routine and a schedule. Watching the clock can make you crazy- instead put all the pieces into place in a loose structure. Add in plenty of breaks.

As the weather gets warmer, kids will naturally want to be outside more and that is the best thing for them. Spring fever hits traditional classrooms hard in May and it will be even worse for kids this year as they have been at home without friends for far too long. Grab every opportunity to do as much as possible to be outside. Take a book and read outside. Check to see if a laptop can be set up on the patio. Fresh air is good for us all.

Be aware of attention span. A normal attention span is about 2-5 minutes per each year of their age. A typical 5 year old can pay attention in a classroom for 10-25 minutes. Cut that in half for a kid in front of a computer screen. So asking them to sit for too long is asking for push back.

Kids are natural learners. They will learn baking, helping with laundry, taking a walk, snuggling and just talking to you. If your school offers up some optional activities, let your child’s interests be your guide. This is not the year to focus on academic excellence. We are in survival mode. So let go things you can if your child shows no interest and focus on fun activities to round out the day.

PLAY! Play is how a child learns. All kinds of skills and concepts thru play. Pretend games allow kids to practice social skills and make sense of situations they encounter. Playing with blocks or other toys can help them learn about math, science and more. If a lesson from school seems tough, you can try to introduce it in a more play oriented way during the day. Having problems with math facts? Create a store and use real or pretend money to practice. Having problems with vocabulary words- play school and use those words, having your kid teach you!

Most of all remember how stressed we are- all of us. Give yourself and your kids a break and breathe. We will be okay.