Is your family participating in virtual learning?
As someone with a virtual learner, I was so grateful that Marty reached out to me with this article. My oldest is in kindergarten, and since I work from home as a blogger, we made the choice to keep her home. Luckily our district offered a virtual learning option! It’s made us feel so much safer in the midst of a seemingly unending global health crisis.
If you have an online learner at home, it’s important to do what you can to make the transition as easy as possible. Check out these 5 helpful tips, and let us know in the comments any that you are trying!
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Sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods of time will impact your child in different ways.
It will surely impact the wiring of their developing brain.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of children are staring at computer screens for longer periods of time, being forced to learn remotely.
You may have already been struggling with limiting your child’s daily screen time and now you’re forced to re-evaluate everything you had worked hard to limit.
There’s a lot you can do to help their developing brains handle the increased screen time. At the same time, you can also improve their overall moods and behavior.
Here are five simple ways to help make virtual learning easier for your child. None of these strategies cost or require much, other than some creative thought.
1 -> Make sure your child’s learning area is full of sensory stimulation!
Your child’s learning area should be brightly lit and full of color and texture. The brain is calmed and mollified by sensory regulation and you can “stage” the area with simple things pleasing to your child’s senses.
You can hang colorful art or science projects that your child has created. You can display pictures and figures of animals and symbols of nature.
Try keeping play-doh or kinetic sand nearby to allow your child to get sensory regulation through their fingers and hands.
Have you ever considered pet fish? Watching fish swim in the underwater environment can have an amazingly calming effect on children (and others!)
2 -> Keep your child moving, stretching and active.
As your child spends more time sitting or standing while staring at their computer screen, energy may become trapped in their body. Intentional and purposeful movement and stretching every 20-30 minutes will help your child’s brain and body adjust better to the stationary and learning time.
You can even encourage your child to stretch and be aware of their movement while sitting and engaging in the virtual learning process. Try some chair yoga or have your child throw crumpled paper balls into the trashcan from a distance.
3 -> Schedule lots of brain breaks for your child.
Research indicates your child’s brain gets tired of any learning after a specific period of time and especially during virtual learning.
Depending on your child’s age and stage of development, their brain’s ability to retain new information decreases significantly after 20-30 minutes of learning or less. Hopefully, your child’s teachers are already offering brain breaks during the learning, but you can also integrate this important tool, as well.
Brain breaks are two to three minute (or longer) activities that will require your child to use a different part of their brain than the cognitive part they use for learning.
Healthy brain breaks include breathing and other sensory stimulation or regulation, and patterned repetitive movement. The sensory and movement patterns will be calming to your child’s brain.
4 -> Provide your child with various “fidgets.”
Fidgeting used to be considered a distracted behavior, but brain research indicates fidgeting will help your child focus, especially during virtual learning.
Small squishy toys, twisty tangles, and textured surfaces can send calming signals to your child’s brain through their tactile touch of the fidgets.
Different types of fidgets can be purchased from various sources, but you may also encourage your child to create their own fidgets from arts and crafts supplies.
5 -> Encourage your child to journal daily
These are unique times, especially to be a kid! Your child’s stress during this change in schooling may manifest itself in different types of behavior. The best healthy outlet to acknowledge, honor and validate your child’s feelings is through journaling.
Daily journaling through words, pictures or doodles can help your child express pent up emotions and stuffed feelings. It must be done on a daily basis to provide the proper pathways in your child’s brain to release energy.
Journaling will empower your child with a stronger voice and outlet and provide them with a sense of control to work out any anxious feelings.
Try these virtual learning strategies ASAP!
Hopefully, your child’s school and teachers have integrated some brain and body-friendly strategies during the process of virtual learning. The virtual curriculum may attune to your child’s academic needs, but may fall short attuning to their social, emotional and physical needs.
Get your FREE Report: Keeping Children Active During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Is virtual learning during the pandemic causing you more stress and anxiety? Let us know in the comments! Here’s the perfect tool for managing your stress during pandemic parenting.
About the Author
Stress Brain Coach Marty Wolner is a certified and licensed stress and trauma educator, executive coach, and peak performance specialist, empowering those who want to manage their stress more effectively.
Change your stress, change your life!
Let’s talk – [email protected]
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