Keeping Kids Focused
During Online Learning

Online learning became a normal routine for most families during the pandemic. If it’s still part of your kids’ learning experience, whether that means going to school on Zoom or taking a few hours every week to do homework online, we want to help.

When online learning for kids was more widespread, parents quickly discovered that it was difficult to keep their students engaged with virtual school lessons. Staying focused during any kind of homework can be difficult, and taking things online makes it even more challenging. In this blog post, we’ll present our tips for keeping kids focused and an array of inexpensive apps that can manage distractions.

Young girl bored on computer

Tips to Keep Your Kids on Track

  • Routine is everything. Setting up a flexible structure will help kids feel supported and like there’s some sense of normalcy while they’re learning online. Going from a highly structured classroom environment to a computer screen with a whole unplanned day ahead can be overwhelming. Help your child write out what they want a typical day to look like before they start learning online, basing the amount of detail and flexibility on their specific needs.

    If you’re looking for inspiration, check out this highly effective method of self-directed scheduling for teaching your kids from home: Sticky note kanban board for kids.

  • Provide creative breaks. While kids are learning online, it’s just as important for them to take breaks. Optimize this time by keeping it short – maybe five or ten minutes every hour, depending on how long your child can stay focused without excessive prompting. During their breaks, don’t encourage them to stay online with virtual gaming or social media. Healthy snacks, interactive games or reading, and good conversations are all ways you can help them take a quick break without turning off their brain.

Young family playing with little dog and colorful Jenga game

  • Stay active! Exercise is a vital part of kids’ days, and it will help them get some of that boundless, distracting energy out between assignments or video lessons. Whether that means running up and down the stairs, taking a walk with the dog around the block, or doing some jumping jacks in the kitchen, keep your students moving whenever they can.
  • If you have control over the curriculum, make it fun. Even if you have some flexibility in how they do their homework, try to apply it to topics that they’re interested in already. It can also be impactful to take what they’re learning off the screen. Ask them about their lessons in the car and try to make up fun games that help them practice what they know.
  • Find a community offline. While connecting with other students through online learning platforms is great, nothing replaces face-to-face friendships among young students. If possible, encourage them to connect with like-minded peers and form learning groups with friends who have similar interests. This could look like starting a Lego club in your neighborhood or meeting up at the library every week to read historical graphic novels.

Kids coloring together on hardwood floor

  • Get in contact with the teacher! If your student attends classes online, ask their teacher how they’re staying focused and if they’ve noticed that they’re engaged during class time. If you’re struggling to keep your child focused on online homework after an in-person school day, talk to the teacher about what they’ve noticed in class and what they would recommend for staying on task in the evenings.

How to Minimize Online Distractions

  • Older students come with their own unique online challenges. We’ve got a fun way to get them motivated. Forest features a picture of a tree, which grows the longer a student stays on task. Hard work pays off with the growth of a lush forest. But if they jump onto TikTok, YouTube, or any other distracting app? The tree is in virtual trouble, shriveling and losing leaves.
  • There are plenty of apps designed to teach kids how to be productive and manage their time. One of our favorites for preschoolers and early elementary students is the award-winning Choiceworks app, which helps children master daily routines and understand their feelings.

Young student waving to teacher on computer

  • Guardian is the ultimate network security tool that comes with in-depth parental controls. Not only will it keep your kids safe during virtual learning by blocking security threats and hackers, but it will also give you full access to your children’s devices. You’ll be able to see what content and apps they’re accessing, and set screen time limits or turn off access to certain apps, all from your device. This will be extremely helpful when they’re struggling to stay focused, especially when you’re not at home to monitor their progress in person.

Combine our tips with fast and reliable internet from Kosciusko Connect for active learning from home!

Further reading:

How to Prevent Cyberbullying

How to Navigate Kids' Tech Use

Does the Internet Connect or Distract Us?