Remote Learning the Healthy Way

Paige Schildkamp, MPH – Health Educator
Dana Orr, MBA – Assistant Director, Nutrition & Physical Activity
Brenda Beatty, MPH, RD – Health Educator

It’s August. No matter how different it may look this year, that means it’s “Back to School” and back to business. But it won’t be business as usual.  COVID-19 has created many complicated situations for students and their families. 

The Poe Center wants to help.

Whether you normally look forward to this time of year or wish the summer would never end, those feelings are most likely not the same this year. As many North Carolina schools are opening with some version of remote learning, chances are you will likely need to be extra involved in your child’s day-to-day education. If you are feeling nervous, stressed, excited, or all of the above, you are not alone! It’s ok to feel that way. This is new and potentially overwhelming for many families. 

It’s important to remember that YOU’VE GOT THIS!

You have been teaching your children for years. You likely taught them how to tie their shoes, how to treat others with respect, how to follow a schedule, how to make themselves a snack – the list of lessons is long. Remote schooling may not feel the same, but the concepts absolutely still apply. You know your children better than anyone else, and you have already taught them so much. Plus, you are not alone. Teachers and school staff, along with other families and the community, are also navigating this new space alongside you.    

Here are a few general tips for creating an environment for successful remote learning:


 1. Be Optimistic. It will be easy to dip into frustration and impatience, and your children will take hints from you, so try to keep things positive as much as possible. Spin the situation and show them how to be grateful for this chance to spend more time together.

 2. Be Empathetic. It’s perfectly understandable for kids to be completely bummed out and even anxious. Give your kids the opportunity to express their feelings and let them know you understand. Recognizing and validating your children’s feelings is an important step in helping them cope with the circumstances.

 3. Gather Resources. Communicate with your children’s schools and teachers to be clear about the learning expectations and know what resources are available for parents. Remember, you are not alone, and you don’t have to do it all by yourself.

 4. Know Your Child. Find out what your children need to learn best: are they visual, kinetic and/or auditory learners, do they like independent work or collaborative projects, do they need silence or music playing quietly in the background? This is a great opportunity to help your children create a learning environment customized for them.

 5. Create Healthy Habits. Use a schedule to keep wake-up, bedtime, education, play, quiet, rest, and free times consistent. Set aside a designated area just for “school” and keep it separate from the rest of the home/life spaces. Take scheduled breaks for healthy snacks, movement, hydration, bathroom, meditation, mindfulness, etc. Make clear and realistic goals for each day, week, month, etc.

6. Be Realistic. Understand that not every day will be a good one, for your children nor for you. It’s ok to not be ok all the time. Be willing to be flexible with goals and schedules when necessary. Include “catch-up days” in your original schedules to allow for any mental health adjustments that need to be made as you go. Be happy with the progress and avoid perfection. And, always, know that it’s ok to reach out for help when you need it.   

Tip #4 talks about creating healthy habits for your children as an integral part of academic success. Seize natural teaching moments to build health education into at-home academics. Here are a few ideas to help.

COVID-19 has created many complicated challenges and situations – especially for the school year. Going back to school will be different and probably not ideal. Try to stay positive, embrace the time spent learning with your children, and know that the Poe Center is here to support you.

Remote Learning the Healthy Way – FREE WORKSHOP

Saturday, August 29, 2020Happy mother and daughter looking at their laptop.
9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Live via Zoom

Join Poe Center health educators for a lively discussion about creating a healthy environment for remote learning. Experienced homeschooling/working moms will share their tips and advice on effective at-home academics, including how to integrate nutrition and physical activity teachable moments into your family’s routine.

This workshop is best suited for parents of elementary and middle grades children.


Poe Center Family Programs – Fall 2020 Schedule

Join the Poe Center though out the fall for a variety of online parent-child workshops developed to help families create healthy habits, discuss timely developmental issues, and have fun together. Using videos, guided discussion, and interactive activities, workshops will address a range of health topics, including:

  • Adolescent Development and Puberty Happy mother and daughter looking at a laptop.
  • Creating healthy snacks and meals (cooking classes)
  • Bullying Prevention
  • Substance Use Prevention
  • Nutrition & Physical Activity