Virtual learning is the new reality for many families across the Dallas/Fort Worth area, as well as all of America. Many parents and teachers are facing challenges when it comes to virtual learning because, for many younger children, this is not an ideal way to learn. There are many distractions and things that get in the way, but luckily, we have a few tips to help your children in this area! Keep reading to find out how occupational therapy can help with virtual learning.
When it comes to virtual learning, many of us aren’t quite sure where to start. This is a new area for children, parents, and teachers. While this might be a learning curve for many, it doesn’t have to stand in your way for a successful school year. Our PediaPlex occupational therapists have this advice for how OT can help your child with their virtual learning. It might even help you too, parents!
Brain Breaks: School days are long! Much like in regular school, your child needs a brain break. For starters, it’s good for your child’s eyes to just get away from the computer screen for a little. But it’s also good for their overall health! Let them run around for a little bit, do some yoga poses their occupational therapist has taught them and just let them relax. According to Linda Carling, an associate research scientist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education Center for Technology in Education, children need a break after they have stayed on the same task for five to 25 minutes.
Fidget Tools: Fidget tools are something we highly recommend in occupational therapy! There are a variety of different fidget tools to help kids pay attention and sit still, it just depends on the child which one is best. You can try a fidget toy, chewies, pencil toppers, weighted lap pads, balance/seated disk and so much more! One thing we do in OT is wrap a latex resistance band around the feet of your chair; this provides a great opportunity for your child to keep their feet busy but still stay focused.
Handwriting: Did you know that OT’s can help with handwriting? Many kids are starting to struggle with their handwriting due to the amount of virtual learning they are doing and the lack of written work. Don’t let your child get behind with their handwriting because this will always be important for them!
Proper Posture: Something we teach in OT is proper posture and how to properly sit in a chair. Postural control and core strength are extremely important for kids so that they are able to sit in a chair for long periods of time. All of a child’s fine motor movements start with having a stable trunk so if this is weak, their written work might start to suffer! If your child’s feet can’t touch the ground while in their chair, they will be able to dangle/swing their legs around which will distract them. Make sure your child is sitting at a 90-degree angle with both of their feet planted on the ground.
Sensory Friendly: Many of our friends at PediaPlex are either sensory seekers or sensory avoiders. If you have a sensory seeker, your child might have different needs to fulfill during their school day. Some kids might benefit from sitting in a laundry basket filled with pillows to give them the sensory input they are looking for to help them focus! Others might benefit from a weighted blanket or weighted lap pad. Listen to your child’s needs and make accommodations so that they are comfortable in their new learning environment.
Visual Schedules: Something we always implement at PediaPlex is visual schedules. These help your child prepare for what is next in their day which will help them transition between activities. If your child’s teacher sends the materials a few days in advance you can easily create a schedule for your child ahead of time so that they have it in front of them each day.
If your child is struggling with virtual learning, they might benefit from occupational therapy! If you’re noticing a lack of focus during your child’s virtual sessions, poor posture, or a decrease in their handwriting skills, give us a call today. Our therapists would love to help!
Visit our website today for more information on occupational therapy!
-The PediaPlex Family