In the wake of COVID-19, countless children have found themselves learning from home and receiving academic support in unprecedented ways. Many schools have quickly adapted to teaching during a quarantine and provide access to curriculum and support from teachers through video conferencing, but students are still left to complete the bulk of their work independently leaving many parents responsible for providing the motivation and accountability their children need to succeed. While every family will address their study needs differently, below are four tips any family can use to help students succeed while learning from home.
Kids thrive on consistency. Establishing consistent times to wake up, eat meals, and go to bed will support a healthy circadian rhythm which in turn will promote healthy emotional regulation, focus, and reduce stress. Being at home as opposed to a classroom allows for a greater degree of flexibility with the child’s schedule, but having certain time anchors that remain fairly consistent give students a sense of normalcy and stability during uncertain times.
To learn more about how sleep routines impact children see the article below:
Our environment matters. Many students find themselves working from a kitchen table or a messy bedroom which is ripe with distractions. A dog barking, the doorbell ringing, or even a simple question from a well-meaning parent can disrupt the thinking process of a student working on mastering a new concept. Noise canceling headphones or a quiet room without pets or other distractions can make a big difference in a child’s ability to focus and remain focused on a difficult task.
Author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, discusses the importance of eliminating distractions and finding an optimal work environment.
Tasks that don’t have a time limit are daunting and often drag on much longer than they should. Using a timer to manage a child’s workflow can help children remain focused and break up learning into manageable chunks. Younger children may need help with this at first, but children as young as five years old can learn the habit of working on a task for a certain amount of time before moving on to something else. As students mature, there is a temptation to just finish the task to completion, but this can lead to mental fatigue and overall negative feelings towards learning. Using a timer and taking breaks after an established amount of time can help students stay focused and motivated.
Children need to move – a lot! Be sure to schedule time for physical activity throughout the day. Even short breaks of 5-10 minutes help with focus, memory, and motivation. If it is too hot to play outside, children can move inside by having a short dance party, competing against themselves or siblings in a jumping contest, or simply running mini-errands in the house such as delivering laundry from the bedroom to the laundry room.
For fun ways for children to move inside, check out https://www.gonoodle.com.