Experts encourage parents to create best possible environment for kids to learn virtually

Officials say it's important for parents to set up environment for kids that's conducive to virtual learning

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - With school starting soon, many students will be learning from home this year, which means parents should start getting ready now.

Anna Howard is a pediatric physical therapist at Baton Rouge General (BRG), and says a student’s environment can play a huge role in how well they learn.

“School’s going to be largely at home and on computers, so a few things to keep in consideration are the environment you set up to be used as your school environment,” she said.

Many students will be learning virtually this upcoming school year, and expert say it's important to make your child's environment at home as conducive to learning as possible.
Many students will be learning virtually this upcoming school year, and expert say it's important to make your child's environment at home as conducive to learning as possible. (Source: WAFB)

Experts say parents should keep in mind the strain hours in front of a computer screen can have on their child’s body. They should avoid couches or beds, and make sure students are using a dining room or coffee table where their feet and arms are supported. If the area is not perfect, parents can also use books or some other household items to ensure their child’s feet are not dangling.

”We don’t want feet propped up on the coffee table with our bodies against the couch. That sends our brains the wrong message,” said Howard. “That’s not a message for readiness for learning. That’s a message for readiness for relaxing and tuning out rather than tuning in.”

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Whether parents have one child or multiple, they will also want to cut out those distractions to give their children the best chance to learn.

”We want school to be school time, and so it needs to be in an area and a setup where learning can occur, so we want to remove distractions, we want to have televisions off and maybe have it in a separate space or separate room,” Howard added.

It’s also a good idea to keep exercise in mind and make sure children are getting enough physical activity as part of their daily routine. While so much of their day will be spent locked into a computer, parents should create regular opportunities for them to unplug and take a break.

”Make those breaks active breaks or make the rest of the day something that’s not virtual,” Howard suggested. “Let’s break away from the electronics, the iPads, the televisions, and let’s do something outside.”

Perhaps the most important bit of advice is for parents to be patient with themselves and their children. Every day will not be perfect, but experts say it’s helpful to take it all one day at a time.

”Just know that might be part of it and don’t be afraid to try different things to see what works best for you kids,” said Howard.

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