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Keeping kids motivated during remote learning

Emily Mudd, PhD, tells us how to motivate kids to learn online, despite a host of distractions at home.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A new school year has begun – but instead of being in a classroom, many students are learning from home.

So, how do you keep them motivated when they’ll have all kinds of new distractions?

“Children are motivated by feeling like they have a choice and a say in how the day goes,” said Emily Mudd, PhD, a child psychologist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s. “So, that’s probably the easiest way to help motivate your child is let them have a say in the schedule.”

Mudd said creating a rewards system can be helpful in motivating children.

For example, if they complete a certain assignment, they can then go play outside or pick what to eat for dinner.

She said using visual timers is a good way to keep kids on task too.

Switching up the delivery of the lesson plan by moving into another room may help as well.

“It’s going to be hard to sit in front of the same space every single day, so if there are two spaces in the home that they can go to and kind of go back and forth from, that would be ideal, or outside learning,” Mudd said. “Whatever you can do to keep them engaged.”

Mudd said kids thrive on structure and routine, so it’s important to have a flexible, but consistent, schedule.

Of course, a teenager may have more say in their day than a younger child who needs more direction.

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