While the word “school” may prompt groans under normal circumstances, the past months has been anything but normal. Teachers and students around the world are navigating their way through distance learning and all the challenges that come with it. The world is in a lock down for the past few months and all of this change can be anxiety-inducing, but it could also be the perfect time to rest, reflect, and reset routines. If you, your family and your students haven't had the chance to fully adjust with the new normal, here are a few tips to share to your students and other parents to make distance learning easier.
Set Up A Separate Workspace
Think of this as your “At-Home Classroom.” What kinds of tools do you need? In what environment do you work best? Your at-home workspace doesn’t need to be a desk and chair, but it should be somewhere that you feel comfortable, focused, and prepared to work. Here’s a couple examples:
Set Up A Calm Down Corner
A calm down corner is different from a bedroom or a comfy couch — it’s space designed specifically to de-escalate and cope with intense feelings such anxiety, anger, and sadness.
Calm down corners should be comfortable and safe, and include items that help you ground and center yourself. Fidget toys, soft or squishy toys, sensory bottles, musical instruments, coloring pages, bathing techniques, and mindfulness exercises are all excellent self-regulation tools to add to an at-home calm down corner. My favorite item in my home calm down corner is Everyday Educate’s weighted blanket for kids — the soft, plush fabric and gentle pressure feel like a warm hug!
Here’s an example:
Establish a Routine
Routines are essential because they help us manage and optimize our time and energy. Because we are working home right now, it is more important than ever to have a routine to avoid blurring the lines between “work-time” and “me-time.” Too much of either can lead to feelings of anxiety or even burn-out. Here is an example of healthy distance learning routine:
Fresh air and exercise are critical for maintaining our mental and physical health. Make sure to build some outdoor time into your day. Here’s a great list of physical activities you can still do from home:
Reach Out To Those You Love
Isolating oneself can be lonely, but the truth is, we are all in this together. This is a great time to strengthen our personal relationships with those we love by reaching out to check in or chat. Relationships are the key to resilience.