Key Takeaways from Setting the Tone: Habits for a Smooth Virtual Learning Experience

Key Concepts:

  • Focus on what we can control: Your physical space, your attitude, your health.
  • Build our emotional tool kits: What you need to stay focused and positive.
  • Remember stability points that keep us grounded:  Nature walks, texting with friends, etc.
  • Acknowledge losses in our lives and don’t gloss over them: It’s OK to mourn the loss of sports, clubs, social outings, etc.

What Ana asks her students:

  1. What’s something you have time for now that you didn’t’ when you were busy with lots of activities?
  2. How can you be of service to your family and your community?
  3. What do you need for your mental health?

Kids need these things this year:

  1. Autonomy: some sense of control (where they set up studying, how they are going to structure their exercise, etc.)
  2. Competence: they need a sense that they are capable of making decisions and of trying new things.
  3. Belonging: they need to feel they are part of a group.
  4. Connection: they need to feel connected to that group.

How to keep students engaged? We as parents need to help them reframe the problem. Instead of dictating how you would do something or get something done, ask them open ended questions and let them answer without interruption. Offer a sense of grace instead of frustration. Think of this year as a blank slate and let go of expectations of what the year is “supposed” to be like. Be flexible with planning and have a plan A, B, and C.

Setting up space to learn is key. Kids need some sense of control over this. Getting them outside their bedrooms might be key. Reassess if what you are doing now isn’t working. Collaborate with them to create a learning space. Help them identify outside supporters like friends to help them study. And outsource if you need to by reaching out to older kids in your neighborhood or even grandparents and family members. Help them identify things they want to master or learn this year instead of just “getting through it.”

How to manage the easily distracted student? Get up early enough to get at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise before school begins. Encourage them to get up every 30 minutes to move around (maybe use a kitchen timer or phone timer). Keep fluids like fresh water handy. Use a paper planner instead of just online planners. Create checklists of projects and encourage the physical checking off of completed items and work that is turned in. Create binders for each subject or use one big binder with dividers. Graduating seniors should keep one binder for each college to which they are applying. Teach kids how to use electronic folders to organize school work and emails.

Admit you don’t know all the answers and keep exploring with your student!

Click HERE for a printable sheet.