September 10, 2020

Creating a Supportive Learning Environment at Home

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Learning at home, remotely with school or as part of your homework routine, can be a challenge for students and adults. Healthier Generation and Kohl’s are working together to support families with tools to build social-emotional skills at home and wherever children are participating in school activities.

With the space and supplies available to you, try these five strategies for providing a calm and motivating learning environment for your children:

1. Keep a Routine

Sticking to a routine can reduce feelings of stress for both kids and adults. Together, write out a daily schedule that works for the whole family and do your best to make time for hygiene, family connection, and physical activity. Consider making your own or buying an inexpensive calendar to keep track of daily activities, schedules, and assignments. Whether children are working with adult guidance or on their own, you can help them practice time management and independent learning. It's fun and rewarding to set small daily goals and check tasks off a list at the end of each day. 

2. Make Space 

Choose an area where kids can read, write, type, and store a few supplies, such as at a small table. Students of any age will be more excited to learn in their space if they are able to make it their own. Allow your children to pick out their own school supplies and decorate their space with photos, drawings, and a sign with their name. If students need to work in a bedroom or sleeping area, encourage them to make their bed and sit upright (e.g., in a chair, with pillows) so they are ready to focus. Check out this short video for more tips to make your own space.

3. Get Organized

Keeping learning environments organized and free of clutter will help the whole family feel calm and focused. Consider keeping supplies in a backpack or small bin that can easily move between locations when not in use. Pencils can be stored in a handy cup, and kids can use their favorite colored folders to store papers. If available, charge laptops overnight and try using headphones to reduce distractions during work time. When learning tools are organized and easy to use, students can focus more on learning. 

4. Connect with Teachers

Like you, your child’s teachers are probably juggling a lot of changes and want to provide a positive learning experience for your student. Work with school staff to communicate about your child’s needs, understand what is expected of each child while learning at home, and share ideas for supporting each other. Reach out to your child’s school via phone, email, or during office hours if you have questions or need support with new technology. An don't forget, a simple "Thank you" email can go a long way to help an educator feel appreciated.

5. Give Yourself a Break 

Taking small breaks throughout the day is vital to health and productivity. Make sure you are taking breaks when needed and encourage your family to do the same, either with you or on their own. Moving your body for a few minutes and eating a healthy snack can boost energy for all ages and encourage healthy habits on busy days. Even pausing to take a few deep breaths can help you feel less overwhelmed.

Remember, it’s OK to experiment with what works best for your family - we are all learning new things right now.

What ideas do you have for supporting healthy environments at home? Let us know on Twitter at @HealthierGen and check out for more tips and tools!