Let’s talk about computers, and Zoom, and virtual learning for our kids!
Before March, I was really inept at virtual meetings and setting up telehealth appointments. Now I’m really good at it! I even enjoy making PowerPoints!
That being said, I want to talk about screen fatigue. I know many of our kiddos are going to be going back to virtual learning, which I cannot imagine being six hours in front of the screen. When I do a telehealth session that might take an hour, but then I get up and move around. And I can tell you, a one-hour telehealth session fatigues me like a three-hour meeting! I think this has to do with the screens, and the intensity of the focus that you have to maintain, plus the strain on our visual system. I’m also used to moving, so when I don’t move I get more tired. I also get crankier! I just turn into a cup-half-empty vs. a cup-half-full mindset. When I start running around and doing things and my endorphins get going, I feel a lot better!
I want you to be aware of this for your kiddos. Know that multiple hours in front of that screen is going to be difficult for them.
I know that when they first go back to school there will be both synchronous and asynchronous learning. When your kids are not directly with a teacher, make sure they take a screen break on those breaks. Make sure they have a chance to run around the block, or take the dog on a walk, or do something that gets them outside in natural lighting.
Even if you just do a short pause, work some movement into it. If they pause to go to the bathroom, maybe have a Hippity-Hop ball ready, so they can bounce there and back! Your clinicians can help you with ideas for some great sensory breaks that will help them when they get back in front of the screen.
I know many of our clients have trouble with live learning. I can’t imagine how this is going to look moving forward, because I don’t think that the schooling that was happening in the spring was optimal. I think it was a last-ditch effort, and I think that people are nervous about how it’s going to look now.
There are some important things to think about to help this work for your child:
Your chair. What is your child’s chair like? My chair rocks, it has lumbar support, and it allows my feet to touch the ground. Think about ergonomics. Our kids need ergonomic chairs as much as any of us so that they can reach their optimal performance.
Lighting. If you have natural lighting vs. fluorescent or lamps, open up those curtains or blinds and let that light come in!
Your device. Some of our clients do better on an iPad or a Chromebook because these are more mobile. If you think your kiddo is going to need to move around, make sure the device is charged and manageable so that. My laptop has a webcam that’s built-in, but I got an external one because I can move it around. (These are difficult to find right now, as you might imagine! You’re going to pay ten times the amount that you would have a year ago!)
If you have concerns about going back to school for your kiddos, talk to your clinicians. They will have a wealth of information for you to help you get through this time. I know many of our families are looking forward to getting back into school, but we also want our kids to be safely prepared to do so. What does that look like? Do we know how to socially distance? I think our kids are going to be very excited when they see their friends and are going to want to run up and hug them! Or they’ll want to play outside and be close to their friends. In all the excitement, it’s going to be difficult to remember what we need to do to be safe.
Your Next Step
Please reach out to us, because we can help you with the learning piece of this puzzle.