Back to School – Or Not…

COVID-19 has certainly provided challenges for all of us here in mid-Michigan, and across the country. The latest challenge we’ve all been dealing with: schooling. Many questions have been raised about whether children should be back in schools, or if they should learn virtually, how teachers will maintain structure, and even how kids will learn social cues. To ease some anxieties and stress among this new normal we found some tips that may help you and your family.

One of the first issues to address will be how your child adapts to structure. If your child thinks summer break is still happening, it’s time to stick to a normal routine. A regular bed time and even an alarm clock sets the tone for the day. Plus a healthy diet and adequate physical activity is key. Just like when the kid’s go to school, they still need the healthy foods and activity to keep their minds growing.

Secondly, set your children up for success. Give them a balance emotionally, physically and academically as this helps them to achieve their best. By encouraging your child to do school activities, being physically active, socializing safely with other kids and validating their emotions and concerns, you can create a safe space for effective learning.

The virtual learning experience is new to most of us including the teachers, students and parents. So set realistic expectations. Your child is not going to sit in front of a laptop or chrome book for 8 hours a day studying and doing school work. And you shouldn’t want them to. We’re hearing 4 hours a day is typical. Some days may be longer others shorter. But no matter the length, what’s important is they’re learning the material.

To help them concentrate and learn, do what you can to create a school-like environment at home. Set up a desk or space specific for your child’s school work. It can be a desk, a cleared off table – anywhere that gives your student a non-distracting area. Then set a schedule and write it down for your student, even include recess and lunch breaks throughout the day. Put away phones, electronics and all other distractions. The more your child feels like they are in a structured environment similar to school, the easier it will be for them to focus on their work.

There is no clear cut formula for how to handle this new virtual-learning world. But we need to remember as stressful as it is on us as parents, it’s even worse on the kids and teachers. So, give yourself and your kids and their teachers a break – we’re all learning together because we’re all in this together…still.

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