How many of you go to work every day and are on the computer from the minute you walk in until the moment you leave? We hear you! It can be draining both physically and mentally. Not only can your back start to ache a bit from sitting, but your eyes can feel strained and your mind can start to wander. It’s perfectly normal to hit a funk when part of your everyday life revolves around being on a computer or device of some sort, but there are ways to combat your computer woes and actually become more productive along the way. Try these suggestions for both you and your student and we think you’ll notice your energy and motivation will be through the roof!
We encourage our families to have a designated school space in the house for their student. That should have a desk, lamp, computer, and plenty of work-space. However, sometimes they need a break from the everyday routine of things, and that includes where they do their schooling. If they have a laptop computer, try working at the kitchen table for a bit or outside on the patio. You could even suggest they have a big change of scenery and spend the morning studying and doing coursework at a local coffee shop.
Have you noticed that some employers are offering standing desks to their employees now? That gets them out of the ordinary and changes things up. Sometimes something simple is all it takes to break up the routine and kick up the productivity and creativity. Why not give the same thing a try at home?
Use a reward system
Remember when teachers would put gold stars on your paper if you did a great job? A reward, no matter how small, can go a long way! Implement your own reward system and make goals with your teen. For instance, if they need to catch up on their science work, set a goal of what you want them to accomplish by 1:00pm and if they did it, you will treat them somewhere for lunch or give them extra video game time. The rewards don’t have to cost anything either for them to be effective. Enticing them with being able to pass on a weekly chore could be incentive enough to get them plowing through their work. This gets them off of the computer and onto other things in no time. One more tip: keep the goals small and attainable. If your teen feels the goals set are unattainable, they won’t even try.
Add in a distraction
This sounds counterproductive, but as crazy as it sounds, some people work better when there are lots of things happening around them. If your teen finds a quiet environment where they are parked in front of the computer screen boring, or if they can’t keep their mind from wandering, try letting them listen to music on their headphones while doing their schooling. Does your student like to draw or squiggle? Let them express themselves on paper while taking in their math lesson or other coursework. Sometimes having the TV on in the background translates to a “white noise” sound and enables the student to focus better on their schoolwork. Whatever works for your student is what’s best and should be done. After all, virtual learning is flexible learning, right?
Take breaks from the screen
Just like in a work environment, it’s good to take breaks every now and then to clear your mind and regroup. Same goes for virtual learning. Every hour or so, tell your student to take a quick 5-10 minute break. Have them get up from their desk, walk around, grab a snack, and use the bathroom. Knowing a break is coming allows them to forge ahead in their work and not feel bogged down.
A break also doesn’t have to be limited to what we just mentioned. Before your teen begins their school day, see what lessons need to be done on the computer and what can be done away from it. Suggest that they group their computer work together so that they tackle that and get it out of the way. Then, they can do their off-line work afterwards. Or, if they want to break up the computer work throughout the day, have them do a little online work, followed by off-line work, and repeat until they have completed the day’s workload.
Make a date with the gym
A big reason why people love to workout is because the exercise clears their head and gets them ready to tackle their next project. If your teen is feeling stressed with school or personal life, have them schedule some type of physical activity into each day. This time is spent on bettering themselves and will set them up for success for the rest of the day. To break up screen time throughout the day, have them plan on doing some schooling in the morning, followed by their workout and lunch, then get back at it in the afternoon. The exercise will provide a much needed break and will give them a boost of energy.
As we mentioned, the best thing about virtual learning is that it is FLEXIBLE. If your student feels like they need a break, let them take one. After all, they set their own schedule and work at their own pace. We’re sure you can identify with feeling like you need to clear your mind or break up the everyday routine when you are in front of a computer all day. Keep them motivated and ready to learn with our suggestions and you’ll be surprised at the great strides your teen will make!
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