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Helping Your Tween or Teen With Virtual Learning

Virtual learning is potentially hard for students.  Students are struggling and it can be difficult for parents to know how to help.  Here are some strategies for helping your child with virtual learning. 

Recognize That Virtual Learning Can Be Very Difficult and Check In

Many students that I talk to struggle with managing others’ expectations of their virtual learning.  Often, students report that they feel like they are never done with work, resulting in more anxiety and exhaustion.  To help with this, parents can communicate that they see that their child is working hard and that they want to support them.  It is also helpful for parents to check in with them frequently, Because students at this age often want to be seen as responsible, they may not reach out for help.  However, if parents initiate the conversation, your child may feel more comfortable confiding.

Create A Workspace and Schedule for Homework for Virtual Learning

Your teenager will benefit from having a designated workspace and school schedule.  Help them set up a desk or study corner in the house that is organized.  Many teens will sit on their bed to study which can decrease quality of both sleep and work.  

Additionally, a schedule is very important.  Establishing set times for work, movement, leisure, sleep, family, and social activity will benefit your child’s overall mental health and happiness.  Routines and special items such as a commuter mug or putting on “fancy” athlelesure that is different from pajamas may be helpful in creating a mood as well.

Be Prepared To Be With Your Student Who is Learning Virtually

Because teens at this age differ greatly in the amount of support that they need to complete their work, some students will need help organizing their work and sticking to a schedule.  Others will need a lot of hands-on help.  It can be very helpful to just ask your child what type of help that they need.  If you see your child struggling to keep up, feel free to jump in as well.

Avoid a Perfection Trap with Virtual Learning

At times, your child is going to make mistakes.  They may miss deadlines or not study enough for a quiz.  Avoid trying to correct every error your student makes.  Mistakes can be very important for learning.  Showing support and acceptance of mistakes will help your child. 

Advocate for Your Child 

Another concern for virtual learning can be the amount of work that your child has. If your child is always struggling to get work done or is staying up late to get work done, they may have too much work.  If they seem more sad or seem to be particularly hard on themselves, they may need you to help by reaching out to the teacher.  You can also encourage your student to reach out to the teacher themselves.

Break It Up 

Also, an important support is to help a student to feel like the tasks are more manageable.  Often, when students are facing a large amount of schoolwork, they can feel anxiety and/or struggle with feeling badly about themselves.  By teaching your child to look at an assignment, break it into smaller tasks, and schedule time to get it done, you are helping them avoid procrastination and to feel more empowered.  

Incentives for Virtual Learning

Frequently, a small incentive can go a long way in getting through school work and making it seem more worthwhile.  Have you ever told yourself that you would get takeout for dinner or go get a latte when you met an important deadline?  Students like rewards too.  It can be simple like watching a show together or a $5 gift card after writing a paper or taking a test.  

Set Priorities for Sleep, Play, and Family Time 

It is important that students have time for adequate sleep, play, and time with family and friends.  If your student seems to be doing schoolwork all the time or is anxious about assignments all the time, they may need you to step in to help organize work or reach out to the teacher.

Get Professional Help

You may be much more involved or aware of your child’s work during virtual school than before.  If you notice that your child seems to be really struggling academically or emotionally, it can be very helpful to reach out for help.  Your student may benefit from a neuropsychological evaluation for ADHD, learning disorders, anxiety, or depression.  Hope Springs Behavioral Consultants has qualified and kind psychologists that provide testing and therapy.  

Resources for Helping your Tween or Teen with Virtual Learning:

Hope Springs’s previous article on homeschooling and distance learning.

How to Homework: Top 10 Tips for ADHD Success by How To ADHD |

These online learning tips will help parents prepare for a successful school year, even if it is virtual.

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