The holiday season is over, “…and Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again”. For our family and many others, school looks a lot different these days. Rather than dropping my daughter off in a carpool line, we send her down the hall into the office to complete her day of learning. Semester one came with its ups and downs. It left me contemplating what we did right, and some things we could do better during the second semester of virtual school. Here are some tips to start the semester off with a fresh start.
Tip One: Choose a quiet spot with limited distractions
For us, that is the office. It’s free of my older daughter’s toys and can be closed off from the noisier parts of the house. Along with my first grader, I have an almost 2-year-old at home with me during the day. It is illogical to believe we can find a completely distraction-free zone. Especially when my older daughter still needs tech help from time to time. If your house looks similar to mine, something we have done is keep a “busy box” of toys in the office for the toddler. These are quieter toys and books that keep her busy while I am helping my oldest. It has worked so well!
Examples of things to keep in the “Busy Box”
- Touch and feel board books
- Magnets and a cookie sheet
- Color Wonder Markers
- Toy Cars
- Interactive Felt “Quiet Books”
Tip Two: Get organized! Keep things easily accessible for your child
The Type A in me loves this tip. I got a bunch of hanging organizers and placed all my daughter’s supplies in easily accessible labeled pockets. I even organized each notebook and textbook by subject. This way it’s easy for her to grab and prepare for the next one on a time crunch. I also got a shower caddy and filled it with supplies she needs to keep on her desk. Crayons, pencils, scissors, etc.
One thing I am planning to do better this semester is to have somewhere for her to keep her completed work separate from things she is still working on. This could be something as simple as a file folder for each. I also need to remember to have her choose her favorite work to save, and toss the rest! I am swimming in worksheets!
Tip 3: Encourage your child to put things back where they go after each lesson and hold them accountable
I try to do this at least during lunch and at the end of each school day, but I am hopeful to do a better job this semester. Missing work is no fun for anyone! One way we hold our daughter accountable is by giving her behavior and responsibility points. She cashes them in for toys or family adventures and we set the point limit each time. If I see her putting things away responsibly without me asking, she earns a point. If I must remind her more than once, she loses one. You can determine what works best for your child.
Tip 4: Blue light blockers are a must!
We bought my daughter a cheap pair of blue light blockers and it has spared us so many headaches. Literally! This is the most technology-focused year my daughter has experienced and staring at a screen all day has been hard on her. She used to get headaches and be totally drained by the end of the day. Blue Light Blockers have been a lifesaver for us!
Tip 5: Get their wiggles out!
7 hours is a long time for little ones to be expected to sit still. I know the teachers are doing a great job combating wiggles with “brain breaks” and PE activities, but my daughter still gets antsy. Something I want to try harder to enforce this semester is “recess”. We either need to get outside as a family to play or take a walk, or I need to make sure my daughter gets outside on her scooter or do something physical. I got into such a bad habit of using “recess” time for chores or for her to help me with her sister so I could get things done. Recess is imperative, and I plan on making it a priority this semester.
How is virtual school going for you? What are your goals to help your children be more successful this coming semester? Whatever you do, let me leave you with this last tip. Give yourself grace momma! Nobody planned for this, and we are all just doing the best we can. Cheers to 2021, Spring semester!