child doing distance learning on smart phone

Due to COVID-19, thousands of parents found their children “distance learning” for the first time in 2020. One of the greatest challenges of this style of education is keeping children focused on remote lessons.

Recent school district data shows that students perform far worse when distance learning vs. in person learning. One school in Texas reported a 5x increase in failure rates:

“Pottsboro Independent School District ISD reported a 26 percent failure rate for virtual compared to five percent in person.” – KXII.com

Distractions lead to poor student progress when learning at home. Below are distance learning tips for parents that enable children to concentrate on schoolwork.

Create an Environment to Support Each Child’s Learning Style

Children have unique styles of learning, though the most common are auditory, kinesthetic, and visual.

  • Auditory learners learn best by reading and hearing information presented to them. Studies have shown that auditory learners are most distracted by background noise
  • Kinesthetic learners like to feel things with their hands to better understand them.
  • Visual learners need to see images frequently to gain better understanding. They should avoid opening multiple windows on their screens that might make the eye wander. Additionally, visual learnings work better private rooms than in busy spaces with other people.

According to Kids Learning HQ:

“Every classroom is a mix of visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles. A typical classroom will have around 29 percent visual learners, 34 percent auditory learners and 37 percent kinesthetic learners with around 30 percent students of mixed learning styles.”

learning styles by percentage

Noise as a Significant Distraction

According to a recent study, children between the ages of six and nine have trouble distinguishing voices from background noise in a loud environment. They struggle with this much more than older children and adults do. It is especially important for children in this age group learning to read to have a quiet place in the home to practice sounding out words.

Start with the sources of noise in the home. TV sets should be turned off, phones set on silent mode, etc. If possible, keep the windows closed to reduce any outdoor street noise as much as possible.

However in many circumstances, there may conversations, distracting noise that can’t be blocked or turned off. In these circumstances, noise-cancelling earbuds or headphones may be worthwhile investment.

Choosing the Hearing Product for Distance Learning

Traditional headphones cover the ear and what’s known as passive noise cancellation. More advanced headphones and wireless earbuds such as IQbuds² MAX offer the more advanced “active noise cancellation” (ANC). ANC earbuds create reverse sound waves of background noises and cancels out the sound in your ear. The end result with IQbuds² MAX has been called “noise cancelling perfection” by the likes of The Australian Financial Review.

“We’ve tested it on a 14-hour flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, next to a noisy fan, under an air-conditioner, in a noisy workplace and in a very noisy bar. And without hesitation, we can say the noise-cancelling betters any earbuds or headphones we’ve ever reviewed.”

Background noise volumes while distance learning at home are likely lower than an airplane or noisy bar. So ANC will likely block out any barking dogs, passing trucks, background conversation, or other household noises.

Removing background noise puts the focus back on schoolwork and the lesson at hands. Students often perform better and retain more knowledge when using headphones or earbuds to control noise.

Control Auditory Overload

A distracting environment is challenging enough for any child. For children with autism or auditory processing disorder, it’s almost impossible.

Earbuds for auditory challenges such as IQbuds² MAX help children shape soundscape by blending digital audio and real-world sound.  The earbuds enhance speech and reduce noise with their unique ‘speech-in-noise control’ (SINC) technology. Users can even control the direction of sound to hear only sounds or speech coming from directly in front of them.

These features give a child the ability to control their sound environment. This makes their world more comfortable and improves their concentration in settings where they may be struggling now.

how to help a child with auditory processing disorder

More Distance Learning Tips for Parents

Smart Scheduling

Another good piece of remote learning advice for parents is to employ the Pomodoro technique to teach their children how to focus better. Parents with young children need to set it up for them. Conversely, those with older children should teach them how to do it themselves. Here are the steps involved with this technique:

  • Select a task to work on
  • Set a timer for 25 minutes. (Note: the timer should not make a ticking sound as that will cause a distraction.)
  • Work on the task until the timer goes off.
  • Take a break for five minutes.
  • Place a checkmark on a piece of paper after completing the first 25 minutes.
  • Once the student has earned four checkmarks, he or she should take a longer break lasting up to 30 minutes.

Keep the Home Learning Environment Clean

Many distance learning tips for parents focus on obvious changes like turning off the TV. Although a quiet environment is important for learning, a messy and disorganized learning area can be equally distracting. Students of all ages benefit from tidying their school areas daily and cleaning them weekly. Making this the child’s responsibility helps to foster pride in their work and greater motivation to do well with school.


October 15th, 2020