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This fall, back-to-school preparations for parents and teachers alike are a whole new adventure, thanks to Covid-19.  Many, if not most, New Jersey students will be staying home and learning virtually.  How can parents and guardians set them up for success, given the new format?

Unlike the spring shutdown, there is time to prepare and no expectation of sending the kids off to school for at least a few months.  Now is a good time to evaluate what worked and what didn’t in the spring and do some fine tuning.

Experts agree that success begins with a good setup – one that is comfortable and sustainable for extended periods of screen time.  Your child’s regular homework space might not work for daily lessons.  Try to designate a spot just for school activities – whether it is at a desk, a dining table or a folding card table.

Next, be sure your children have chairs in which they can sit up straight without craning their necks to look at a laptop or tablet.  This will help them maintain good posture and avoid “tech neck.”  You can stack books to raise the video device to the proper height so your child can look straight ahead.  Slouching and looking down for long periods of time cause tension in the neck and shoulders that may lead to tension headaches and worse problems over time, including misalignment of the spine and even degenerative arthritis.

If your child has trouble sitting all day, you can create a standing desk using a box or crate so your child can alternate between sitting and standing.  Also be sure to encourage breaks for stretching, taking a walk, or kicking a ball around.  Get the whole family involved!

And finally, try to keep healthy snacks available and keep meal times and bed time structured.  Proper nutrition and adequate sleep will help your child go the distance.