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Melanie Barnett
BY Melanie Barnett

4 Tips for Supporting Your Child in Virtual Learning

Learning in a virtual classroom can be a tough adjustment for some, while others can learn to thrive in this environment. There are key differences between virtual and face-to-face learning for kids including increased independence, working at their own pace and a more flexible schedule. Based on your child’s individual needs, there are methods to help them adjust to virtual learning.

Read more below on how to help your child thrive in a virtual learning environment.

1. Create physical distinctions between play and learning times

One way you can establish this is by making a designated spot in your home away from noise and distractions. Convert part of your child’s bedroom, find a quiet corner or even convert a large closet into an at-home classroom. 

If you don’t have a quiet area, consider getting noise-canceling headphones to help reduce disturbances.

2. Establish a routine

Another way to help your child adjust to learning at home is to practice organizing time. Going to a physical classroom every day naturally involves a repetitive schedule of waking up in the morning, traveling to school, going to the cafeteria, etc. 

When your child begins online learning, start with more structure at first, suggests the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). Create a visual calendar or schedule to help your child understand the separations between learning and playtime.

3. Address challenges with your child’s instructor

Because of the virtual aspect, there will be times when you notice difficulties your child is facing while their instructor does not. Take notes of these issues and if you cannot help fix them yourself, reach out to your child’s instructor.

For children with special needs, there are accommodations you can request for them such as slowing down the pace, asking for more time or increased breaks. Check out other best practices you can request from your child’s teacher here.

4. Secure needed services and accommodations for your child

Children with special needs have access to a number of services that make learning more accessible like reading and speech-language therapists, counselors, nurses, case managers, etc.

To speak with someone on your child’s individual needs for learning at home, check your Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan to find who is providing services for your child, suggests the NCLD. Ask about compensatory services to help your child adjust to online learning.

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