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Learning to Learn During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Now that the kids are officially back from spring break, I thought I would speak a bit on the new learning platforms that school districts, private schools and colleges are using. First, I think it is important to encourage parents, we are our children’s best teachers. They learn how to treat others, their work ethic and how to make cookies from us, we can do this although it seems daunting. I think it will be imperative for all of us to have a positive attitude as we head into learning at home.

As usual we will have to get everyone back on a schedule. Research shows that kids learn better between the hours of 9am-4pm and best between 10am-2pm. So early morning wake times might not be best for learning (I hear the kids cheering). Everyone has a little different time when their attention is best. Try and schedule study time around this time. Teenagers will happily say it is between 8pm and 10pm, unfortunately for them studies do not support this.

Allow time for “recess” but try and put together a reasonable schedule, this may differ for each of your children depending on their teacher’s preference, but in these times, it is still important for kids to get sunshine and exercise. Studies also show that learning is improved with intermittent breaks.

Keeping everyone motivated will be a challenge. I have a senior in high school and an eight-grader. Both are disappointed that their final year in their respective school will be disrupted. There will be no eight-grade dance, no prom, no Continuum, no Graduation. Sports and activities have been indefinitely postponed. Stressing the importance of “finishing the race” will be key to these individuals. Encourage these social distanced, at home dance parties. I think that these will be important in keeping everyone, but particularly these transitioning kids, mentally healthy.

Finally continue to try and eat meals together. Discuss the latest news and developments but I would refrain from running CNN, Fox News, CNBC, and others on continuous loops. We have become very accustomed to getting our news on a constant feed, it is easy to become fatigued and overwhelmed. I recognize that things are changing almost moment to moment with the pandemic, but I feel that there is such thing as too much information. Focus on the positive and try to be part of the good. Eventually things will get back to something like normal and we will have a chance to look back on this. I hope that there will be a silver lining in the end.

Stay sane and stay safe -Dr. Simony

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