The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.

– Henry Ward Beecher

September is usually the time for children everywhere to head back to school. But as the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend various areas of life, countless schools are opting to resume classes via remote learning. While this “new normal” can be challenging for parents and kids alike, remote learning also offers some opportunities that kids may not experience in the classroom.

If your children are embarking on a new school year with remote learning, here are five tips that may help them get the most out of the experience:

  • Maintain frequent communication with your children’s teachers. Different schedules and curricula are more effective for different kids depending on their ages, learning styles, and unique needs. For example, older children can generally handle longer screen time sessions than younger kids, who learn more effectively through play and interaction. Additionally, some kids respond better to real-time classes guided by a live instructor, while others may prefer working independently with the resources provided. Identifying what works best for your kids and staying in contact with their teachers will help you tailor lesson plans to create the most constructive experience possible.
  • Encourage kids to stay active. One benefit that kids may enjoy when learning from home rather than in the classroom is the ability to be more active, taking regular breaks for exercise and play or standing up while learning, if they prefer. Ensure that your kids are taking advantage of this opportunity and keeping active throughout the day.
  • Tackle difficult topics at times when your child is most focused. Another advantage of remote learning is that it provides greater flexibility in tailoring your children’s school schedules to their natural tendencies and preferences. For example, if your kids aren’t “morning people” but seem more energized in the afternoon, save difficult topics for later in the day. If they tend to feel burnt out by the end of the week, block out Fridays for more fun or creative activities!
  • Give yourselves a break. For most families, the transition to remote learning is a major life change that has been stressful for kids and parents alike. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of helping your kids stay on top of their schoolwork every day, and for your kids to feel frustrated and disengaged at times. When this happens, remind yourself that it’s ok to slow down the pace, revisit a challenging lesson later, or even take the day off until you’re ready to return with a renewed focus.