Virtual learning challenges everyone. The teachers are doing their best to connect with their kids through a computer. Kids are bored, frustrated, and struggling. And they want to see their friends. Parents are torn between having to work or staying home to help their kids, and straining the relationship with their kids because they are frustrated too. Then there’s the school system, individual schools, school boards making decisions about the next steps. Parents are concerned and sometimes feel uninformed. Classrooms are closing due to COVID exposure, upending routines. Everyone is stressed out and unsure of what is coming next. Our partner, Direct Learning Solutions, has come up with 6 tips and tricks that can help soothe the savage beast that virtual learning has become.
Start the day right!
Have your child take a few minutes before settling in front of the computer to warm up. Bend over and touch your toes and just hang out there for 30 seconds, breathing in and out. As you come back up slowly, stretch your arms out to the side, so when you are completely upright, you are making a T with your arms and body. Do 10 arm circles, forward and back, then raise your arms up trying to touch the ceiling. Get on those tippy toes!
Come back down and circle your head to the right 5 times and then to the left. Shrug your shoulders up and down 5 times. Rub your hands together really fast until they are warm then place them gently over your eyes to relax them. This little bit of exercise will settle your child down, get the blood flowing, and keep them from fidgeting for a bit.
Look for signs of fatigue
If you see your kid starting to slump, fidget or fall asleep, it is time for a little bit of chair stretching. Have them stick their legs straight out in front of them and do ankle circles and scissor kicks, and put their arms out to the side and do more arm circles. Check to see that their feet are touching the floor or a box or milk crate. Getting input through the feet is very important for proper posture. Put a pillow behind their back so they are sitting forward in their chair.
Cut Out Distractions
Have them help decorate a tri-fold cardboard stand. Not only will this create a natural barrier to distractions, but they can also put up their schedule, a calendar, pictures of their friends, and the things they love. You can write a daily note for them to read when they start their day.
Ask for Help
Talk with friends, neighbors, and parents of your children’s friends. Many families are forming pods of 4-6 children with families that adhere to similar social distancing guidelines. You also don’t have to go it alone. There are companies that provide educated and trained facilitators to come into your home and work with the kids. This mitigates the frustration between parent and child. This allows you to work, whether from home or outside the home, and takes the burden off of your relationship with your kids. When looking for the right fit, make sure that the facilitators not only have the educational experience that your family/pod is looking for, but is also CPR/First Aid certified and thoroughly background checked.
Virtual Play Dates
We all dislike that our connections to the outside world have been narrowed down to Zoom videos. Instead of an in-person playdate, set up a Zoom playdate! Two kids, each with a deck of cards playing WAR! Before play, have mom or dad shuffle the cards. You have to pick the first 20 from the deck. No cheating!
Hold the 20 cards in your hands so the other person can see the backs. Count to three and flip a chosen card to face the computer. The kid with the highest card wins that round. Continue until there is a clear winner, who is out, or nearly out, of cards. To play the next round, simply choose the next 20 cards from the top of your deck.
Virtual Learning Centers
Another option is to send your kiddo to a virtual learning center. What is a virtual learning center? A virtual learning center is a safe space that not only can help with your child’s virtual learning space but can help with other needs so that they can get their wiggles out all in a safe environment.
Direct Learning Solutions offers virtual learning centers by partnering with some of the most FUN locations throughout the Richmond area. With locations in Chesterfield (partnering with Launch), Richmond City (SCOR), and Henrico (Surge), Direct Learning Solutions has a location that is near most of our homes or places of work and each is convenient to get to. In a Direct Learning Solutions Virtual Learning Center children are spread throughout the facility at a safe distance, with supervision and assistance with virtual learning from our facilitators, and have access to the needed physical outlets with equipment that is sanitized throughout the day. Their centers also offer puzzles, coloring books, and jump ropes, etc. (They want to make sure our kiddos are safe so not everyone will be on equipment at once).