7 Ways To Get Kids To Actually Pay Attention During Remote Learning

By Catherine Pearson for huffpost.com

My 5-year-old had his first remote classes of the fall this week. He was in public pre-K when COVID-19 hit last spring, and his teachers tried some online learning, but it was … not great. Basically, 18 out-of-frame heads squirming in unison while their wonderful, patient teachers reminded their parents to kindly mute.

So I had low (like, low) expectations for how my kiddo’s remote learning sessions would go this fall. Even then, it was startling to re-witness just how tough this way of learning is for my kid. He fidgets. He asks repeatedly when it’s over. He gets up to check what his little brother is up to. And I’m certainly not alone.

“Some kids are transitioning to this new learning better and easier than other kids,” said Megan Allen, 2010 Florida Teacher of the Year and founder of Tailored Learning Supports for Families. “Recognize that paying attention online might be harder for some kids. And that’s OK! Some kids need more strategies.”

With that in mind, here are seven ways to try to get all kids — but especially young learners — to pay attention during remote learning. Good luck to us all!

1. Know what it means to actually “pay attention.”

Before parents (like me!) start fretting too much about whether our kids are paying attention (still me!), teachers say it’s important to clear up expectations.

“Break down what it means to pay attention. We say the phrase, but what does it mean? How does one ‘pay attention’ when they’re 7?” said Allen. “Sometimes we say things as adults that don’t translate to kids. This is one of them.”

Talk with your kid about what “paying attention” actually means, so you’re both clear. Like: Are your listening ears on? Are your eyes on whoever is speaking? Are you talking out of turn? Is your brain following what’s happening? It’s not necessarily: Are you sitting perfectly still without making a peep and politely raising your hand to answer every single question?

Read more here.

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