Much has been written and discussed about the 2021 school year and how to keep kids safe. On every side of the debate is talk about guidelines and mandates from the national, the state, and the city governments, all of which boil down into a singular decision: should children stay home and learn virtually or physically go to school?
Whatever the choice may be, an overarching question must then be tackled, one that is important to teachers and parents everywhere: how can we ensure that this school year is a fun, positive, and holistically healthy experience? After a year of virtual learning already in the books, there are certainly plenty of ways that the experience can be improved to ensure that kids don’t feel “tossed about” in the storm of circumstance once again.
Healthy From Head to Heart
The move to at-home learning is no doubt difficult for everyone, but there are ways, no matter the circumstances, to help kids manage their stress as well as their homework. Let’s take a look at some of the most important ways that parents and teachers can help kids establish healthy study habits both in-person and virtually in the home office.
Reestablish the Routine
Babies show us the importance of a routine early on, but that need never truly goes away the older a person gets. For many, the easiest way to cope with stress or unforeseen circumstances is by doubling down on their routine. This is extra important for kids who are in charge of their own homework and who may have trouble concentrating.
- Create a class schedule with them, where available. Recreating the structure of a regular school day as much as possible is important.
- Factor in breaks. Kids, more than anybody, need chances to be social and active throughout the day.
- Be strict about start times and end times. It is much easier to gear for something that you know has a definite length of time. We adults feel this very much when meetings start to ramble!
Engage their Energy
One of the most important ways for kids to stay mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy is to move. Virtual learning doesn’t have to be a prison sentence — in fact, there are better tools now than ever before to engage the kids’ energy so that they can get the wiggles out and feel good about themselves.
- Consider one of LifeSpan’s famous office wellness machines, including the treadmill desk or the bike desk. They can read, type, or listen to a lecture, all while burning calories. It is also a great way to eliminate restlessness or nervous energy.
- Invest in fitness-oriented video games. Thanks to the latest efforts to fight child obesity, many video games come with movement-focused inputs, either through motion controls or a camera. Kids will love playing games and getting into shape during their breaks or gym time.
- Get outside for at least 20 minutes a day. Studies show that people are healthier overall when they spend at least some time outdoors each day. Take a quick stroll, have lunch in the yard, or find another brief outdoor activity during the school day.
Set Up a Space
So much of staying healthy while learning at home is knowing that there is a special place for the kids to go during school hours to learn. Not only does this help them disconnect from what’s going on in their bedrooms or in the living room, but it puts them in the proper mindset to get studying.
- Don’t neglect the normal tools. Providing your kids with a workspace (perhaps one of our bike desks so they can keep active while they learn) and all the gear they’ll need, like a computer and writing equipment, is essential.
- Keep the learning space neutral or school-themed. Studying in a room with all of dad’s old concert posters from the 90s or a bookshelf of board games is too much of a distraction from learning.
- Keep “study hours” in effect. Where possible, try to limit the amount of excess noise going on in other parts of the house. This will help kids stay focused on what’s going on in the home office itself.
At LifeSpan, we are committed to keeping our kids healthy and happy, regardless of where they’re learning. While they will undoubtedly feel a boost to their self-esteem as they complete tasks and stick to their routine, we know that active minutes of real movement is one of the best ways to promote their learning. From our trademark treadmill desk to our other gym-centric equipment, we want to make sure every adult and child comes out of the 2021-2022 school year healthier than ever.