Doctor recommends parents plan ahead for virtual learning, find spot in house dedicated to school


MADISON, Wis. — As families prepare to start off the school year virtually, doctors suggest parents prepare for the everyday changes this will cause.

“It’s going to be tough. And just like anything that we can foresee being a future challenge, we have to prepare for it. We can’t just presume that we’re going to start on day one of school and it’s going to go well if we’re not prepared for it,” said SSM Health pediatrician Dr. Dan Beardmore.

He suggests sticking to a routine, such as waking kids up at the same time every day, even if they’re heading to the computer in their pajamas.

Picking a spot to get school work done is also important.

“I don’t hugely recommend the living room, especially if it’s near a tv. I don’t recommend the bedroom if it’s on the bed, because usually the bedroom is surrounded by the child’s toys and for the older kids the bed is the place for sleep. Whatever creative ideas we can come up with, make it a unique separate place for the school to occur,” said Beardmore.

He said even with the set routine and space dedicated to school work, virtual learning still might not go well. There’s bound to be struggles and challenges.

He suggests if there’s more than one parent in the home, they take turns helping kids learn.

“Be kind to yourself,” said Beardmore. “You might do all the work in advance, you might try to change up the plan and be flexible, and still people are going to get frustrated. So be ready to have a backup plan in place. What are we going to do to take a break? How are we going to vent? How are we going to let off some stream and be ready to go at it again the next day?”