Remote Learning Strategies for Parents – NaviPath Financial
September 25, 2020

Remote Learning Strategies for Parents


by Brian Swilling

Many parents, including myself, are dealing with the imperfect situation of having to work from home while our children are learning virtually.  It is really hard on parents and teachers to ensure that their kids are staying focused and engaged.  Unfortunately, there is no perfect solution, but I had my wife, who is currently teaching 5th and 6th grade English and Math virtually, reach out to colleagues for some best practices to make the virtual learning process less stressful for parents and children.

1. Set the Stage

Set up a physical space where your child can do their virtual learning. Designate this place only to be used by that one child. Having their own space is empowering to children and it helps them differentiate between school time and play time. Their work space doesn't have to be a desk. You can use a yoga mat or a cushioned mat with a lap desk. This provides flexible seating since many students struggle to sit at a desk all day. If you use a desk, make sure the computer is at eye level, feet should be touching the floor or a foot rest, and children should use a child sized chair.

For hyperactive “wiggly” kids

  • sitting on a therapy ball or an exercise ball
  • wobble chair
  • tie an exercise band to the legs of the chair to kick against

For fidgeting fingers or focusing issues

  • place a hair band on the child's wrist to pull and tug during the day
  • squeeze a stress ball
  • chewing gum or sucking on a mint can help students focus

For visually distracted students

  • position the desk facing a blank wall
  • cover nearby toys with a blanket
  • noise cancelling headphones
  • limit background noise

2. Prepare Materials

Give your child any tools or information they need to navigate online learning. Make sure they know how to use computer tools. Put a list of websites they need with the usernames and passwords they need on post-its or right next to the computer. Print out a list of each of Zoom/Google classroom codes that they need along with a schedule. Make sure their computer is charged, pencils are sharpened, paper is available, and there is a water bottle handy.

3. Hold a Family Meeting

Touch base with your child about the expectations for learning from home. Kids are usually aware of their strengths and challenges. Depending on what they share with you, help them set an achievable goal for their challenges.

4. Clarify Expectations

Make sure your child understands what the teacher expects. Children often need visual reminders so pick the most important expectations and make them visible.

5. Foster Independence

Help your child develop independence by giving them access to the many things they will need throughout the day. This will help avoid constant interruptions and unnecessary frustration for both you and your child. For example, front load snacks: Prepare a variety of snacks and fill a basket with agreed upon snacks that they have access to. You can also do the same with a space in your refrigerator for healthy snacks like cleaned fruit or veggies. When the snacks are gone for the day, there are no more snacks. This will help foster independence.