A couple of weeks ago, we talked about how to send your kids back to school safely, but for many of you, sending your child back to school right now isn’t an option. School districts across the country have opted to begin school virtually this year. While they may open up later in the semester, starting school online is the norm for many kids right now. First day of school photos on Instagram depict kids sitting at their dining room tables in front of their laptops instead of posing in their first-day outfit headed out the door — this is tough I know.
By now, most parents are somewhat familiar with virtual learning since your child probably had to stay home during the spring semester, and while you may not have predicted we’d be here again in the fall, it appears virtual learning is a reality for many families until further notice.
While back-to-school time is always a transition, the transition this year will feel a bit different. Because of this, I wanted to give you some back-to-virtual-school tips to make this fall go as smoothly as possible.
1. Reset your expectations.
Don’t expect your child to listen to you in the same way she does her teacher. Children listen to their teachers better than their parents. This is simply how it is with kids. Teachers and parents play different roles in a child’s life, so don’t expect your child to listen to you and follow your instructions the same way she would her teacher at school. She doesn’t see you as her teacher. You are still just mom and dad. Resetting your expectations in this area will save you from a lot of unnecessary frustration.
2. Take plenty of breaks.
Linda Carling, an associate research scientist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education Center for Technology in Education, says young children may not be able to stay on task for longer than 25 minutes. Because of this, most children will need frequent “brain breaks” form online learning.
The best brain break for any child of any age is outdoor exercise. This will get them away from their screens. Running around, playing a game, or riding their bike for a few minutes will help expend their energy and will help them focus on their next task. Don’t feel guilty for giving your child more breaks than he might get at school. Online learning is a completely different experience, so your child will have completely different needs.