Virtual Learning Tips and Tricks | AFC Urgent Care | Portland

It’s been a little over a month since schools in Oregon started their virtual learning school year and it has been a large adjustment for teachers, parents, and students. With more and more research coming out about the negative effects of extra screen time, it’s important for both children and adults to maintain a healthy balance. Everyone is different and it’s important to find out what works best for you and your family. Below are some tips and tricks to make this unprecedented time successful.

Reduce Distractions

According to an article by USA Today, in 2016 students tended to spend around one-fifth of class time on laptops, smartphones, and tablets and typically checked their devices for “non-class purposes” 11.43 times a day. With social media becoming more popular for younger children and completely virtual learning these numbers are skyrocketing. Limiting the usage of devices that aren’t related to schoolwork is essential to keep kids on track and boost their performance.

For younger children, toys in their surrounding environment can also serve as a distraction. Putting time limits on certain apps, removing the devices entirely, and creating a clutter-free workspace can help students focus and become more productive.

Keep a Schedule

While nothing seems normal compared to a year ago, keeping a consistent schedule can help bring a sense of “normalness” to your child’s day. Having a wake-up time, meal and snack times, and starting school activities at the same time can help kids develop a sense of time management. Research shows that effective time management skills are associated with greater academic performance and lower levels of anxiety.

Time management is a skill that kids can pick up at a young age and will continue to serve them throughout their life. However, every person is unique. It is important to observe your child and see when they are most productive. Is it in the morning or afternoon? Maybe they do best after a meal or when they’ve completed a physical activity. Most importantly, allow for flexibility. Give students a break when they become frustrated, anxious, or very distracted. Let them remove themselves from the situation and learn how to cope to help themselves become successful.

Get Active

Students of all ages are active during their school day. Younger kids have recess or PE while older students play sports or have access to a gym. Including some active time in their day is even more important with virtual learning. Encourage students to take movement breaks during the day and, if possible, join them for a quick game of catch or jumping jacks in the living room.

Have you heard the saying, “sitting is the new smoking”? Well, it’s true and it affects people of all ages. Show your children that being active is a priority and they’ll follow your lead. Aim for 30 active minutes a day. Try a family workout, a morning or afternoon walk, or a late-night dance party. Anything to pull yourself and your kids away from screens!

Stay Positive

There is a lot happening in the world around us and children, especially young children, look to adults to figure out how to react to an unknown situation. If the adult is negative or defeated, the child will follow suit. In an article by Good Housekeeping, Erin O’Connor, Ph.D., the director of NYU’s Early Childhood Education Program, suggests that being excited about a new teacher or project can help your child become excited and therefore become more motivated.

Students, and adults, also react well to positive feedback. With virtual learning, many children are missing the positive reinforcement and reassurance from teachers that they’re used to. Instead, parents can step in and fill that void. A simple smiley face or sticker on an assignment, a sweet treat, or extra playtime before bed are great for encouraging a younger student. For older students, reminding them that you’re proud and they’re doing a great job goes a long way.


It’s important to remember that some days are going to be harder than others and there are a lot of people going through the same issues as you may be. Having an open dialogue within your family can help everyone feel heard and appreciated which will help them succeed in other aspects of their life. In the end, every child is unique, and figuring out what works best for them and you is a process but seeing them succeed in this unprecedented time is worth it.