700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

Distance Learning: Best Practices to Support Your Student

Apr 03, 2020
Child doing schoolwork at laptop

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents have become more hands-on in their children’s daily learning than ever before. Supporting their students at home has been just as much of a learning process for these parents as it is for kids.

Online Resources

Parents of infants, toddlers and preschoolers can check out PBSKids.org for age-appropriate content. As a supplement to their schoolwork, older kids can discover a variety of educational content on Scholastic.com. Lastly, amazingeducationalresources.com is home to over one hundred safe and educational websites for all ages and academic levels. In some cases, parents can print off materials for their kids to complete offline.

Social media is also an amazing tool. Many teachers are hosting online circle time with their students. A variety of authors are doing online “read-alouds,” and some are even incorporating sign language. Some artists are teaching painting and drawing lessons online. When using social media, however, it’s important to incorporate and model safe internet practices.

Activities for Preschoolers

Young children love games, and games are very effective in the learning process. One example is the “What’s Your Name?” game. Assign a specific activity (somersaults, jumping jacks, hopping on one leg, push-ups) to each letter of the child’s first name. When they run through their name, they’ll be learning and getting exercise simultaneously. If the first name is too short, the letters of the last name can be added.

Singing the ABC song while washing hands not only helps kids learn the alphabet but also aids them in washing their hands long enough to get rid of germs.

Activities for Kindergartners through 5th Graders

Gather newspapers, magazines and coupon books from around the house so kids can cut out pictures. This activity helps with fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. When there is a good pile of pictures, kids can divide them into categories (color, animals, etc.) then talk about why they did so. Explaining their choices helps with cognitive development.

Choose a spot in the house where a reading nook can be created. Whether it’s the corner of a room, a closet, or even a large box with a door cut out of it, add pillows and blankets to make it an extra special place where kids will want to spend time.

Activities for Middle and High Schoolers

It’s important to make sure that the learning environment for tweens and teens is conducive to the focus it takes to learn. If a desk isn’t available, the next best thing is a kitchen or dining room table as long as all distractions (like the television and cell phones) are eliminated. Brainstorm about the materials they may need throughout the day like pens, paper, calculator, computer or tablet ahead of time, so they have everything they need.

To assist with productivity, work together to create a plan for class times, including breaks. Think about the times of day when they’re typically most attentive and make sure that schoolwork is getting done during that time.

Finally, take this time to allow kids to learn through real life experiences. Encourage them to measure ingredients for a recipe, draft a news article about current events, or even learn to balance a checkbook.

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Elise Dawkins
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700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.