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8 Tips to Help Your Child Focus and Stay Engaged During Distance Learning

As schools are faced with the challenge of providing learning opportunities for all students at a distance, parents are called on to be more involved than ever before, particularly for their younger learners and those with learning challenges and disabilities. Maintaining high levels of engagement can be challenging even for savvy adult learners.

How do we best help our kids make the most of these distance learning experiences?

Here are eight tips to help your child maintain focus and stay engaged during this time of distance learning.

  1. Understand the expectation for distance learning. There are screen time considerations for all students, and older students can handle longer amounts of time than younger students. Your child’s teacher or school should provide some guidance for what is reasonable.
  2. Determine what type of activities work best for your child. Are their certain types of distance learning activities that your child prefers over others? For example, does your child work better with synchronous activities where they respond to a live instructor, or in person sitting one-on-one with you?
  3. Encourage movement. Kids need to move their bodies frequently throughout the day. Allow time for exercise before your child is expected to focus on a distance learning task.
  4. Reduce distractions. Where possible, reduce distractions when your child is completing schoolwork. This includes noise as well as visual noise or clutter. A designated workspace that is comfortable for your child will be helpful.
  5. Adjust your schedule as needed. If your child is frustrated — or alternately, if your child is very engaged in learning — make a change in your schedule to allow for a break (and revisit at a later day or time) or to spend time delving deeper into the topic. Some learning activities will be easier to move through than others.
  6. Use a checklist for focus. For some children who really struggle with focusing, a basic visual checklist of tasks needed for a particular activity will be helpful.
  7. Give your child (and yourself) a break. If something is too challenging, or your child has hit a frustration level, it’s okay to stop the activity and give them a break. It’s also okay to slow down the pace, which means giving your child time to think and process information.
  8. Provide immediate positive feedback. Each time your child completes distance learning instruction, provide immediate and positive feedback! Something as simple as putting a check mark, star, or sticker on the work assignment can go a long way in helping to motivate your child.

Excerpted from “8 Tips to Help Your Child Focus and Stay Engaged During Distance Learning” by Linda Carling, Ed.D., an Associate Research Scientist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education Center for Technology in Education. Read the full post on the Johns Hopkins School of Education website for more details on each tip.

Source: Johns Hopkins School of Education | 8 Tips to Help Your Child Focus and Stay Engaged During Distance Learning, https://education.jhu.edu/2020/04/8tipsforfocus | © 2020 Johns Hopkins University School of Education

To schedule an evaluation or to get advice about your child’s challenges, call or email a CHC Care Manager at 650.688.3625 or careteam@chconline.org

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