Virtual School for Families: Achieving Balance

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In the move to Virtual School many families our online platforms are being used more than ever to support student learning.  Whilst this has been great to continue learning in this time of challenge, it does lead to a dilemma – how do we balance screen time when it’s necessary for learning? 

Prioritise Family Time

When possible, and with work hours it’s different for every family, try to put an emphasis on family time when you can.  Could you do a family board games night? Can you spend more time reading or drawing with your children? If you’re not in ‘lock-down’ can you spend time at the park?  We all do these things anyway, but consciously prioritising them right now will help keep balance in mind. 

Complete Work Offline, then upload

Can your child’s work be completed offline? For example, could work be written on paper and then scanned or photographed and uploaded? This might not be possible for every piece of work, but even just taking 1 activity offline per day could help your child feel more balanced. 

Learn Through Play

We often associate learning through play with children under 5, but in reality it can work so well for everyone.  Simple ideas such as building towers with different materials, creating ‘small worlds’ (for example make a model of an ocean environment), playing games like scrabble to reinforce vocab and spelling, etc. are all great ways to extend learning.

Quiet Independent Learning Opportunities 

Not every moment of our children’s day needs to led by us.  At home I took some activities my son (5) and daughter (2) could do with minimal input from me and separated them into individual bags for them to grab and work on when I need some time to complete my own work/help one of them.  These include stickers, crayons, coloring books, play dough mats (you can print these off to give kids some ideas to get them started), wipe-clean books (like the examples below), etc. 

Here’s a picture of some of the activities we have at home; 

Schedule Brain Breaks

If your child is completing multiple activities online take a few minutes between each one to move, and let the brain switch from one thought to the next. A great option here is Go Noodle which has lots of fun, energetic ways to take a short break – I appreciate that’s a website, but take a look for some ideas and switch off the screen if you need to! 

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