Tips for Preparing for a Successful School Year (Even It It’s Virtual)


As many of our communities head back to school this week, we thought these tips from USA TODAY were great reminders for how to keep school a priority and keep kids on track—even if they are starting this year online.

Reduce Distractions
Limit the use of phones and social media platforms until schoolwork is done.  In addition, set up a quiet, clutter-free workspace that is comfortable for your child without being distracted by toys or noise.

Take Brain Breaks
Include “brain breaks” in between learning.  According to Edutopia, a general rule of thumb is to take a 3 to 5-minute break after 10 to 15 minutes of staying on task for elementary students and 20 to 30 minutes for middle and high school students. The idea is to stop the flow of learning so consider stretching, moving to a different room, or singing a song.

Keep a Routine
If possible, try and keep kids on the same schedule they would have if they were at school, including a wake-up routine, setting time for meals, and even scheduling time for end-the-day snacks and activities.  Try to maintain a planner to keep track of activities and schoolwork.

Provide Positive Feedback
Building a reward system can help maintain motivation—and is something they may be missing if they are in a virtual environment.  Put a check mark, star or sticker on work assignments, offer sweet treats for finishing a task or even give them an extra 15 minutes of play time before bed if they finish a particular difficult assignment.

Be Flexible
Remember that virtual learning is new to everyone and being able to adjust schedules, tasks, and even how your learning space is organized, is key to your ongoing success.  Let your child know that it is okay to feel frustrated and tweak whatever might not be working.

Help Kids Stay in Touch with Friends
As much as school is a place to learn, it also serves as a place for kids to socialize and hone their networking skills.  Allow children to interact online with their friends such as setting up a daily video chat with a friend group or joining a school discussion board.

Reach out to Your Child’s Teacher
Keeping an open dialogue with your child’s teacher is one of the most important things you can do during this unpredictable school year.  Be proactive in contacting teachers if any schoolwork or technology issues come up, including if your child will not be attending a class, is unable to complete work, or is having a hard time staying on task.

We would love to hear what tips you have for making this school year a success!  Share your ideas with us.

Read the full USA TODAY article here.

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