Distance learning has become the norm for students in Oregon, due to the COVID-19 health crisis, which presents new challenges for families trying to help their children succeed.

Providers at Eugene Pediatrics are learning how families are adjusting to this new way of learning. “From a medical perspective, I think it’s important to help our kids to be ready for their online learning opportunities,” says pediatrician Dr. Pilar Bradshaw.

Implementing a few basic steps can help your child learn better at home, she says.

Set routines: Daily routines are the foundation for successful distance learning. Having a daily routine can provide comfort, reassurance and a sense of control over your day.

Bedtimes and wake up: Set regular bedtimes and wake-up times. Going to sleep each night at the same time will help your child be well rested. Waking up at a set time gives kids more time to become alert, get dressed, eat breakfast and prepare for learning.

Nutrition: For students embarking on a day of classwork, breakfast becomes the most important meal of the day. It’s equally important to make sure that breakfast includes protein to give young brains and bodies the fuel they need to perform at their best. This also applies to lunches.

Free meals: Local school districts provide free meals for students, so be sure to access this service if it’s helpful for your family. Starting October 12, the Eugene 4J and Springfield School Districts will also begin delivering meals to students to support working parents who may be unable to pick up free meals. The Springfield School District will also be delivering lunches to students in the McKenzie School District.

Use breaks to get active: Being sedentary for too long makes kids (and adults) antsy, which leads to difficulty focusing on tasks, including schoolwork. Take advantage of breaks in the day to get your kids moving.

“Encourage them to run around outside or do jumping jacks, even inside the house. They just need to get their bodies moving, which will help them focus their attention when they have to sit down again and pay attention,” Dr. Bradshaw says.

Access support services
Providers at Eugene Pediatrics encourage families to access school support services, especially when they are struggling. Most school districts offer tech support, as well as mental health services for families who are feeling overwhelmed by distance learning.

Dr. Bradshaw suggests that parents focus on things they can control. “Don’t be disappointed when there are some hard days during distance learning,” she says. “Despite the challenges, it’s important to stay positive because kids really take their cues from us adults. Look for the good in each day and encourage you kids to do the same.”