Keeping Kids Focused While Distance Learning During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Updated: Nov 17, 2020
For families, this school year began with conflicted messages as parents scrambled to understand what the right thing was. Children were left confused and saddened as open houses turned to virtual meetings and their friends were more often than not, a still-frame on Google meet or Zoom.
Initially, learning from home during the pandemic was a novel, welcomed idea. It gave us an opportunity to slow down and be present while being home, with nowhere to go. However, this novelty is slowly wearing thin as parents from around the world began to usher in a new school year within the confines of their homes and without any of the pomp and ceremony. This change was daunting as normalcy and lack of a routine perpetuated fear and anxiety in the minds of children and parents alike.
As parents struggle to navigate this time of school closures and social distancing , the burning question is: how do I keep my child focused while being the parent, teacher, and in some cases, an employee?
1) Keep the day structured
Educators have requested that children attend classes in an environment conducive to learning, in clothing they would typically wear to school. This requires children to get up and get ready for the day in much the same manner they would if they were attending classes on campus. Have a “home room” where they look over their agenda, write down tasks for the day, goals they have, etc. Factor in time for play as this is how children learn best! Ensure that reading time is scheduled each day and incorporate your child in the creation of these plans. This gives them a sense of responsibility and control over their day.
Additionally, while lessons are conducted it would be in the best interest of the child to not have distractions in the form of loud music, television, sibling noise and pets. Eliminating these distractions are not always possible, and as a result one essential tool while working from home and maintaining structure would be the use of white noise to aid in the drowning out of background noises.
2) Make learning fun
Recognizing that the learning environment will appear very differently for your children is key to ensuring they have fun. Setting up a classroom space, buying new school supplies, school clothes shopping (if only online) will create a feeling and an environment that facilitates fun and enjoyment.
Offer rewards in the form of stickers or small consumables that mimic the reward system found in school and finally, make sure they participate in live sessions with their teachers and classmates.
3) Stay connected
As humans, our desire for human connection is a real and natural element of our beings. It is important for us during this time to help our children focus by creating spaces where connection can happen at the right times. Perhaps, virtual meetings, a special time to connect socially with classmates, online study groups, etc. This is especially important so that children are able to utilize the live sessions with their
teachers to maximize their learning rather than using that time to chat and play with their classmates.
4) Allow some flexibility
Allow children to be creative and explore their interests. Take their classrooms outside, incorporate nature walks into science, bike rides into physical education and by all means, do math with sidewalk chalk! Flexibility alludes to less anxiety, thereby allowing the child to remain calm, focused and ready to learn.
5)Have open conversations: Address the “elephant in the room”
Don’t negate any feelings your child may be experiencing during this time. Their feelings are valid and real and we should not minimize their concerns. Of course, many children do not understand what is happening and while we should aim to not scare them, we should definitely address the virus that has wreaked havoc and upended life as we knew it. Make sure children know that the same concerned, unopinionated manner that their teachers received their concerns in school, will be the same way they receive them virtually; and if nothing else, ensure they are comfortable addressing those concerns at
This is truly uncharted territory for all. Staying safe, healthy, and flexible while maintaining focus and incorporating fun into learning should be our ultimate goals.
Naimah Shaw is the mother of five beautiful children and the owner/content creator of the parenting blog, This Beautiful Life. There you can find product reviews, articles and conversations about food, homeschooling and motherhood. We are pleased to have her as a regular contributor to Fade Away Sleep Sounds.