For a lot of kids, showing up at school now means putting in their earbuds and logging on.

Many schools have moved to virtual learning to help slow the spread of COVID-19. But it’s posing challenges for kids and parents alike. As a parent, you may find yourself playing a significant role in your child’s home learning.

For helpful hints on making this new type of schooling work for your family, check out this advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other experts.

Talk to your child’s teacher. Be sure to ask questions. For instance, how much time should your child spend each day learning online? Let the teacher know what’s working and what isn’t.

Stick to a daily schedule. Children do better when they have a structured routine, including a schedule for waking up and attending virtual school. Your family’s schedule may depend in part on when you can help with your child’s learning. Figure out what works best for your family, and do your best to stick with it.

Set up a virtual school desk. If you can, have your child study in a quiet, uncluttered area, away from television and other distractions. Maybe that’s in the dining room or living room. If you can fit a small table or desk in the room, that’s great. Good lighting helps too.

Use a homework calendar. It’s an excellent way to keep track of assignments. Post it where you’ll see it, such as on the fridge.

Make time for lunch and recess. “Kids need breaks and physical activity in virtual school too,” says Deanna Weinacht, APRN, family nurse practitioner with HSHS Medical Group. “For example, you could play or take a walk with your child. Find out if your child’s school provides nutritious take-home meals for students.”

Hand out gold stars! Offer plenty of feedback and praise.

Check in with your child. Ask how school is going and how your kiddo is feeling. Spend time together doing fun things after online school.

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