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  • Carolyn Rankin

How To Create the Right Environment For Your Child To Learn At Home


The way we design our homes did not factor in for a pandemic. Now, parents and children are working from home together. Our children are learning from a teacher, through a screen. This is not ideal for any family. There are things parents and guardians can do to promote independent learning just by changing your environment.

1) Buy a White Noise Maker or App

White noise can help children retain attention without being distracting for their classmates over zoom. Students should be able to stay seated and calm for longer with a white noise maker. Many times, stress and an inability to stay focused can cause your child to creep out of their room and come bother you—sometimes just out of boredom.

2) Put Your Expectations on a Post-it Note on their Monitor.

I like a simple post-it note that says: re-read the instructions, ask a friend, ask a teacher, try to google it before you come to me. For many children their parent is the easiest way to get help but it shouldn’t be their first step. This simple post-it note can encourage them to get help in more self-reliant ways. It also boosts their self advocacy skills.

3) Stock up

Each morning, make sure that they have the following items (even if they’ve never needed them before): 3 pencils, a pencil sharpener, lined paper, rough work paper, graph paper, a calculator, a ruler, highlighter and pencil crayons. This is essential because if a child has to leave their learning area to try to find something, it is hard for them to get back into “learning mode.” As distance learning continues, you should put this list on a post-it note and make it your child’s responsibility to obtain the items.

4) Make Snack and Lunches Before Learning Begins

Do this with your child and put it in a lunch bag in the fridge. Now, your child can be responsible for their own eating, they don’t need to bother you to ask if they can have an Oreo cookie at 10 in the morning.

5) Evaluate, with your child, What is Working and Not

Your child is trying to learn and may have some real feedback about what could be different. Maybe you’re talking too loud on your Zoom calls, or their chair is not comfortable enough. Maybe they need to be active (if this continues, I suggest buying desk pedals). Teaching your child to think critically and then empowering them to make necessary changes is the key to promoting independence.


I love the saying “we’re in the same storm but not the same boat.” I hope these tips can help your child have a boat better suited to them.

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