Distance learning. A phrase that should read like an oxymoron but has actually become a reality for so many of us. Still, it’s unchartered territory and like any major change, growing pains are to be expected. We’re hoping to help eliminate some of that pain and focus more on the gain that home schooling can offer. And we start with how to keep him fit, both mentally and physically.
Since the dawn of time, schools have been making time for recess and for good reason. Giving him a break from the books (and screen) will ensure that he’s getting the most out of his eLearning. Yes, staying on top of his studies remains top priority, but finding an activity that best suits him and can provide an outlet in between the zoom lectures and study sessions may just make this learning-from-home experiment a success. When he does find his match, encourage him to work the activity into his weekday schedule to form some healthy home-schooling habits.
Start the school day with a walk or run.
We can almost feel the eye rolls now, but studies have proven over and over again that getting in a workout first thing in the morning—even a light and short one—can keep our minds sharper for longer throughout the day, not to mention a host of other physical and mental benefits. We realize this may be a tall order in the beginning, but maybe the promise of a smoothie or hot breakfast waiting for him when he returns will be enough of a boost to get him going. If he can make this a routine for a week straight, odds are he’ll realize how good it feels and stay motivated to make it an everyday thing. Just be sure he’s armed with Prep U Natural or Charcoal Deodorant before he heads out. The household will thank you.
Organize a social-distance training session with his friends.
Maybe it’s the guys from the lacrosse team, his best friend or some gym rats who have recently been displaced. Whomever the crew, tell your son to invite them to your backyard or a local park with their favorite equipment in tow for a midday break.
Get each guy to bring over his own free weights, strength bands, medicine balls—whatever he’s into—and either coordinate a workout using a training app or let them do their own thing while they BS about how awful homeschooling is.
Our friends at Fringe Sport offer home workout equipment that can travel easily and help make this distance-friendly workout a routine success, while our Active Dry Powder can keep his hands from slipping on weights or prevent his gym bag from smelling like a locker. The best part? Seeing his friends a couple times a week, even if it’s just for a break between Biology and Econ, can do wonders for his mental fitness.
Encourage some me-time, screen time.
We know what you’re thinking: give him MORE screen time?! Hear us out. As parents, we all know that getting a teenager to step away from the smart phone is like the equivalent of asking for world peace. So, this one falls under the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” argument.
School used to be the only time in his day where that extra appendage was kept under wraps, but thanks to screen schooling, we no longer have the advantage of classroom policies or hawk-eyed teachers around to enforce a no-phone policy. Instead, we can encourage him to carve out specific time to use his phone for good—mental good. Using a free meditation app like Headspace or Stop, Breathe & Think are great places to get in a quick regroup in between classes, exams or studying. Or flipping through a few pages of an eBook over lunch is a great way to wind down and remind him that books can still be welcome break when they’re not full of equations or theories (goodreads or your local library is a good place to go for this).
Whatever he’s into and however he’s schooling, keeping him fit physically and mentally need to be part of his syllabus. A challenge? Absolutely. But with some of these tips and gentle nudging by you, parents, he’ll realize quickly enough that building self-care into his new routine will help keep his endurance up for as long as we need it…and for everyone’s sake, we sure hope that’s not too long.
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