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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!


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parenting during COVID-19

Parenting during a Pandemic: What parents need to know

parenting during COVID-19

Parents are overwhelmed. We’re all muddling through this mess together. Remember the expert on the BBC who had his toddlers crash into his on-camera moment interview? We are all that guy now.

Working from home while caring for and (theoretically) educating kids is no joke. This is an overwhelming moment for families, ours included. There have been some good times at our place: epic games of Catan, deepening our understanding of Minecraft and bike rides in the snow. We’re missing hanging out in person with Grammy, but enjoying playing Boggle via FaceTime. But it has been tough, too. There have been meltdowns over food items we’re out of, missing friends and routines and just getting on each other’s nerves. And that’s just the grownups!

I want to support families during this time, especially as we are all mentoring kids on their tech use in a completely different and uniquely challenging scenario.

I’m offering online workshops for parents covering:

  • Setting up routines and spaces at home for distance learning
  • What should the “screen time” rules be for both recreational and learning tech use during this unusual time.
    (as always quality and balance are more important than the number of minutes!)
  • How to help kids deal with anxiety during this time.
  • How to keep up with news without getting overwhelmed (and being cautious with what news kids are consuming)
  • How can social media help our kids keep in touch with friends?
  • How can parents mentor kids on social media, texting and gaming during this time.

These workshops are for:

  • companies wanting to support their employees working from home
  • school communities
  • parent/community groups

If you want to know more, let’s talk. You make an appointment here, or by email.
Let me know how I can be most helpful right now.

Here are  a  few helpful resources:

I spoke to the NYT for this article: Keeping Kids Safe on Line During COVID-19:  a Primer

Handling Your Kids Disappointment When Everything Is Cancelled– in NYT

Parenting during coronavirus: What to know about playdates, online learning and more-Washington Post

Comprehensive physical and mental health resources from the Child Mind Insitute