Healthy Habits for Virtual Learning

By: Lilly Zaborowski
virtual learning

With so many kids in Minnesota participating in distance learning or hybrid learning this year, we’ve rounded up some tips from local experts to help families create healthy habits around their virtual learning experience.

More screen time can create physical discomfort in the body, so improving posture and increasing movement throughout the day are important to counteract that.

The time away from friends and reduced social interactions can also be really tough on kids. Being mindful of each kid’s stress response and finding ways to foster connection can help bring kids back into balance.

Supporting Physical Health

Anna Forliti is a local exercise therapist who focuses on helping clients heal from chronic pain through postural therapy. She shared some great tips with us to help kids of all ages maintain healthy posture and physical health during distance learning.

  1. Take regular movement breaks. For smaller kids, get them outside to run and play as often as possible. Everyone’s schedule is different, but the more pockets of movement you can create during the day, the better. Older kids may take hourly breaks to stretch, move, or dance.
  2. Limit screen time. This seems like a no brainer, but you also might wonder….how are we supposed to do this? The less time kids spend on devices outside of learning time, the better. Fill that time with other activities as a way to keep them off games and social media.
  3. Posture exercises. “Posture is our foundation.  If it is aligned and healthy then it will support our sitting, standing and movement,” says Anna. Anything you can do to encourage healthy posture, from aligning work spaces to simply talking about healthy posture with kids is going to help. If you’re interested in more support, you can reach out to Anna Forliti through her website.

“Encourage your kids to move in ways that bring them joy – anything from dancing to playing.”

Anna Forliti

Kids and Stress

Local homeopath Rebecca Keyes has some tips around how to recognize when kids are getting stressed out and what caregivers can do to support the whole family. The most important thing to remember is that each individual can express stress differently.

“One child may have increased anxiety while another may express defiant behaviors and yet a third child may be experiencing extreme mood swings. These patterns of expression are embedded deep in each individual.”

Rebecca Keyes, Classical Homeopath

Homeopathy is a fantastic resource during these times of stress, because it’s a gentle way to help each individual come back into balance. Homeopathic remedies are selected by a homeopath after understanding the full picture of the individual. The remedy is designed to show the body where the energetic imbalance is so it can correct itself.

Creating Healthy Habits

Local health coach Shoshana Koch has a background in mental health as a licensed therapist and has extensive training in yoga and Ayurdeva. She blends these areas of expertise to give us some tips on creating healthier habits in our new schedules this school year.

She echos the need for moving throughout the day. Take breaks to dance, stretch, or move in any way that feels natural to you. Cosmic Kids Yoga is a great resource for kids and caregivers to move mindfully.

Eye strain is another concern for many caregivers. Making sure your screen is the proper size and distance from the eyes can help, and investing in a pair of blue light blocker glasses can reduce eye strain as well. To counteract the effects of screen time on the eyes, you can do some simple eye exercises.

“When it’s nice we sit on the front stoop and gently look at far distances in nature or cloud gaze to relax the eye muscles.”

Shoshana Koch, Health Coach

The most important thing may be for families to remember that this is not permanent. Caregivers can lean in to their own self care rituals right now, even if it’s a simple 5 minute break to breathe and quiet your thoughts.

Remember to support each other as a community. Check in with other caregivers, see what they need and share what’s working for you.

Supporting All Families

Not all kids have access to the devices and equipment to support healthy virtual learning. Project Nandi is working to promote educational equity by providing devices, equipment, and broadband support to children of color this fall.

This is a crucial effort, as the educational gap that already exists could widen even further during this time of distance learning. Project Nandi founder Ini Augustine is passionate about supporting families during this time, and has already helped around 50 kids with devices, equipment, and furniture to support healthy posture during distance learning.

Help them reach their goal of helping 400 kids this school year by donating to their fundraising campaign here.

Lilly Zaborowski is the founder of Well Connected Twin Cities.  She’s a holistic wellness enthusiast and believes that everyone deserves to feel good in their body + mind.

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