If your family has decided to pursue homeschooling or online learning, here are a few ideas to help your children maintain focus and motivation, along with ideas for taking care of their mental health.

  1. Have a dedicated learning space. Whether it’s a desk in their bedroom, the kitchen table or an office, having a space free of distractions (like TV and phones), is important for focus and success. Include all the supplies needed for your child to be a successful student. Bonus idea: have a calendar to mark deadlines on and a notepad or whiteboard to write out a to do list in this area
  2. Create a schedule and stick to it. Routines keep us organized, help us know what to expect and make us feel more in control. This can boost your child’s motivation and decrease stress. Have the same wake up, school, meal times, etc every day. Don’t forget to build in breaks – for fun, social, and relaxation activities.
  3. Start with the most difficult assignments. We’re usually more focused when we first begin a project at the start of our day, so have them save easier assignments for later in the day when they may be more distracted or mentally tired.
  4. Set goals. Help your child create goals for their academic year and guide them in creating small steps for completing those goals. This can also be helpful when they have a big assignment or project to complete. Having small, daily steps can help children feel less overwhelmed and stay motivated. Check in on your children to see how it’s going and make sure things are getting completed.
  5. Embrace technology. We may joke that our children’s generation was born knowing how to use technology, but online learning may require that your kids learn new applications. Plus, glitches happen and devices crash. Tell them to save their work often and do their best to learn the ins and outs of the programs they’re being asked to use.
  6. Encourage social connections. Whether virtual or in person, we know that feeling connected to school and peers is a protective factor against stress and difficult life experiences. Find ways for your child to join activities with children their age and encourage social interactions.

Navigating online learning or home schooling can be challenging at first, so give yourself and the children in your life some breaks as you get used to the new routines. You’ll need to check in regularly to see what is working and what may need adjusted.