Are you having to work from home and help your kids with distance learning this school year? If so, today I’m going to give you some valuable tips to show you how to stay sane throughout this new learning process. In this episode of The Perfect Balance, I’m going to focus on the changes occurring in the homes of parents as the new school year starts and how you can make the best of your situation. By following these tips, you’ll help your kids—and yourself—to establish the best learning routine possible.

Creating The Perfect Space For Distance Learning

Let’s start with ways to create the perfect learning space. Establishing a dedicated learning space will help keep a good routine and help your child get into school mode. While doing homework in the dining room or living room is common, your child will feel more focused and relaxed in the space that’s all their own. Find a dedicated space that’s away from the hustle and bustle that often happens in the dining room and living room. Doing so will limit the distractions that TV, electronic devices, and other various household activities inevitably bring.

Remember that kids often prefer smaller, cozier spaces, so don’t stress about setting aside an entire room for learning. If you have a quiet nook or an unused closet—minus the door, of course—that might be all the kids need. Make sure it’s accessible, well lit, and fun—unless their idea of a special place is a young wizard’s cupboard under the stairs. Hey, it worked for Harry, right?

Sort and store school supplies by placing shelves, decorative boxes, and colorful jars around their area to store to liven up their space. You can hang a calendar above their desk to help keep them motivated to meet their goals and deadlines. Doing so will help your child learn to take ownership of their work and keep their desk free of clutter. Who knows? They may just carry these skills into other parts of the house. Anything’s possible, right?

Getting Organized

Now that we know how to create an awesome learning space, let’s talk about getting organized. First, help your child establish and stick to a routine. When creating a routine or a schedule it’s important to put pen to paper, as a routine needs to be clearly communicated. Start with big pieces of the day that are already in place—such as mealtimes and bedtime—and then build other time slots into the schedule. This can include things like computer time, reading time, and other activities. Don’t forget to create a cheat sheet of website and logins for easy access.

Once you’ve created a routine or schedule, post for all to see. Place it on the fridge, or use a method of communication that works for your child and your family. A routine promotes positive habits, decreases anxiety, and promotes security for kids. Learning is more likely to occur during these right conditions.

The Teaching-Learning Cycle

Once you have your learning space and routine created, it’s time to check in. The purpose of frequent check-ins correlates to the effective teaching-learning cycle. This cycle requires feedback.

Simply stated, feedback helps your child understand what he/she did right and what needs improvement or correction. Check your kid’s work and talk with him/her about their great efforts as well as improvements needed.

Brain Breaks And Physical Activity

In addition to this feedback, don’t forget to encourage physical activity and exercise. Provide ample brain breaks. Have you ever been at work and had to excuse yourself so you could walk around and get your body moving to stay focused? Children, like adults, need breaks too.

Brain breaks are breaks from the task at hand and are central for focus, concentration, processing information, and memory. Breaks may be brief and include stretching, exercise, or some kind of physical activity. Make it fun for your kids.

Relax—You’re Not The Teacher

Lastly, it’s important to relax. You are not the teacher. Judging by the number of homeschooling memes circulating on social media, parents are not only feeling the pressure to teach their children right now, but they believe they’re failing miserably at it. That’s not true. In most school districts, the challenge of adapting curriculum on the fly—while incorporating conferencing and social learning apps to replicate the classroom experience—is thankfully still being managed by educational professionals.

Parents are not expected to take the place of their student’s school teachers. Instead, parents should play a support role. A good rule of thumb is to keep your kids engaged and thinking critically. Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to handle distance learning at home. Remember to stay safe, healthy, and sane!