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Worried About Pandemic Screentime? How to host a virtual parent talk at your school

Supporting and mentoring kids in the digital age is a community effort. Planning an event at your school is a great way to bring people together to spark meaningful conversations, learn from one another, and better understand the particular issues and concerns facing our kids, parents, and educators when it comes to technology.

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distance learning

Going Remote? Helping Kids Thrive with Distance Learning

Tips for Surviving Remote School by Devorah Heitner (download)

Going “back to school” or starting a new school  remotely  will be a huge adjustment. It turns out this is a marathon, not a sprint.  My son  just started middle school remotely with teachers he has never met in person. It is a loooong day of zoom. I feel for him, and for all the kids. And trying to work while walking our kids through these transitions is no picnic, either.

Wired Magazine asked me about how to  “make distance learning suck a little less?
(a more realistic goal than loving every minute.)

The Wired article pulls together some good tips, so do check it out. The monster tip from that article that I especially want to share with you:

Having this information at your fingertips to will help kids be more independent. It will save you at least a few interruptions and headaches during a stressful time.

Here are some other ways to make it better. 

No kids, teens or adults should be sedentary and plugged in all day!

Movement is crucial

  • Walk or go outside or dance before sitting down to work
  • Stretch in between classes
  • Remember hydration and snacks
  • Try: pushups, jumping jacks, running around the block

Communicate with teachers

  • Is there an older sibling helping the younger one during school time? Let the teacher know.
  • Has your child been stressed? Let the teacher know.
  • Is there a time of day that’s proving hard for the one of your kids? Let the teacher know.
  • Is there a conflict with timing between your work responsibilities and something your child is expected to do?  Let the teacher know.

Troubleshoot Distractions

  • Try to create an environment with fewer distractions
  • Headphones can help some kids, especially if multiple siblings are doing remote school in the same space.
  • Help your child see potential distractions in the environment
    –Are those legos distracting you during class? Lets move them somewhere else.

Self Care

  • Sit in your car or somewhere you have privacy and call a friend
  • Take a walk by yourself
  • Jam your pandemic anthem while you do house tasks
  • Let something go. Everything will be OK. Parents are being asked to do the impossible.
  • Remember: This is a very hard time. Don’t let remote school hurt your relationship with your kids. You are doing your best and it is good enough!

    Would you like these tips downloadable PDF?  Here you go:

    Tips for Surviving Remote School by Devorah Heitner (download)

    (click to) Share these tips on Facebook.

    Back to school talks Devorah Heitner


Ultimately, kids are wired to learn and they are learning a lot during this pandemic. It may not be what we expected for them or for us, but they are learning. Giving kids, who have lost so much autonomy, a true choice about something they WANT to learn can help them regain some sense of control and reduce stress levels. This is the time for tapping into kid’s intrinsic interests and motivation. If they want to read about ninjas, let them read about ninjas. Is your library offering curbside pickup?  You can stock up. And once again… Remember: You are doing your best and it is good enough!


Would you like useful tips in your inbox?  You can get updates and advice on raising kids in the digital age if you sign up for my newsletter below.

Digital Wellbeing for Teens Devorah in conversation with Rosalind Wiseman

In this live conversation, parenting experts Devorah Heitner and Rosalind Wiseman will discuss how to help kids navigate ALL. THE. SCREENS. How can we help them find the balance with tech when so many other options have been taken away? How can we help them navigate friendship drama and conflict online and offline that may come up during this time? July 16, 6pm EST, 5pm CST, 4pm MST, 3pm PST 12pm HST

Moderated by Susan Borison at Your Teen Magazine.

During this webinar, you will learn…

  • Strategies to support your child’s wellbeing and balance technology
  • How to understand and empathize with the ways social media can be challenging right now
  • Skills to help young people understand and process the news cycle–for some kids this is an activating inspiring time, for others it can be overwhelming
  • How to help our kids deal with anxiety during this time.
  • Best practices for setting family agreements and routines around technology.
  • How to manage your reactions with your own digital use. How can we model thoughtful tech use and wisdom?

Bring your questions! We will open it up for Q&A at the end.

A recording will be sent out after.

By registering for the webinar, you agree to receive communications from Devorah Heitner, Cultures of Dignity and Your Teen Media.

Grab Your Spot!


Devorah Heitner

An expert on young people’s relationship with digital media and technology, Dr. Devorah Heitner is the author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World and founder of Raising Digital Natives. Her mission is to cultivate a culture of empathy and social/emotional literacy. Dr. Heitner’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, TIME magazine and Education Week. She has a Ph.D. in Media/Technology & Society from Northwestern University and has taught at DePaul and Northwestern. She is delighted to be raising her own digital native.

Rosalind Wiseman

From where we learn to where we work, Rosalind Wiseman fosters civil dialogue and inspires communities to build strength, courage and purpose. She is the co-founder of Cultures of Dignity; an organization that shifts the way communities think about our physical and emotional wellbeing by working in close partnership with the experts of those communities–young people, educators, policy makers, and business and political leaders. A multiple New York Times best selling author including Queen Bees and Wannabes that was made into the movie and musical Mean Girls, a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Washington Post and other publications and international speaker, she lives in Boulder Colorado with her husband and two sons.

Susan Borison

Susan Borison founded Your Teen Media in 2007 to help parents of teenagers find support and advice during the turbulent years of raising teenagers. As the mother of five, she knew those parenting teenagers was lonely and scary. Your Teen is the village that we lose as our kids get older. After practicing law followed by 15 years trying to figure out the parenting thing, Susan discovered the solution at Your Teen Media, where parents and experts share their hard earned secrets. Your Teen Media: The Advice You Trust. The Community You Need.

parent child conflict

Super Nanny for Screens: NPR’s LifeKit for Parents

Many families struggle with conflicts over "screentime." If you've ever wished a "Super Nanny for Screens" would come to your home, these podcast episodes could be the next best thing. I recent got invited to meet with a family who was struggling with their kids' intense devotion to their digital devices for an NPR podcast.

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Raising A Digital Kid? Empower them to Mindfully Add Contacts

If you can empower your child build their contact list slowly and deliberately, this can help them to avoid overwhelm later on when they scroll through their contacts and don’t recognize half of them. Make sure your child  knows it’s perfectly fine to simply ignore requests from people she doesn't know or don’t want to chat with.

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Hold The Phone: 8 Signs Your Kid Isn’t Ready For a Phone

The decision to get your kid a phone is an important one. Don't make the decision lightly.
Smartphone in hand, your kid can access the entire world with just a few swipes and clicks. This is a huge responsibility. Here are some clues that your child might not yet be ready for the responsibility a phone brings.

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child's first cellphone, ready for a cellphone, smartphone, texting, parenting, middle school

Your Child’s First Cell Phone: How to Know When They Are Ready… and How to Know When YOU Are Ready

Your kid's first smartphone is a big deal, and you don't want to rush into the decision. If you are feeling pressure from your child or other parents to buy him/her a phone, let me help you understand some of the challenges so you can make a thoughtful decision.

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other parents, uncomfortable conversation, kids and technology

How to Talk to Other Parents About Their Child: New Rules for the Digital Age

What happens when one of your kid's friends is doing something inappropriate with social media or the Internet? Having that "uncomfortable conversation" may not be fun, but looking out for each others' kids is good for all of us as parents.

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