child on computer during virtual learning
Child Therapy, Covid-19, Teenagers

Another Day, Another Computer Meeting

Tips for Young People Who Are Starting Online Learning

We’ve all felt that itch. That antsy feeling of knowing we have hit our limit of sitting behind the computer.  It’s hard! And as school approaches and online learning starts, you will being faced with more time behind the computer. This means more time for distractions to get the best of you. So what can you do to set yourself up as best as you can?! Here are seven tips for online learning to help ease the adjustment! 

Tip 1:  Beware of Noise Distractions

Use headphones or keep headphones near you to help drown out background noises. Be mindful of when you are tempted to turn on a podcast or music that could be distracting within itself.

Tip 2: Create Learning Space

Find a different space to do your online learning and schoolwork than your bedroom.  Get creative and create a space that is both comfortable and inviting. And minimizes distractions that could impact your learning. Rotate your “school” space to help create some difference in a standard routine.  Take the time to create the at-home “classroom” that will help you learn best.

Tip 3: Use Your Breaks Wisely

When you have a break or transition, get up and move. Get your blood flowing or tap into mindfulness. Use it to take care of your body and mind. You deserve moments of pause from school work and taking care of yourself will ultimately improve your learning.

Tip 4: Cell Phone Challenge 

Keep your phone away as if it were in your backpack at school.  Take this opportunity to create a new relationship with your phone where you can feel comfortable being away from it for an extended period of time. *I know that is HARD to hear. Trust me it’s hard for us adults too!*

Tip 5: No Open Tabs

Try not to leave open tabs on your computer that will distract from your online learning. It is near impossible to have your full and complete attention on two things at once let alone 6 different tabs of social media, games, email, and news. Use the fullscreen option if you don’t think your willpower on this.

Tip 6: Participate

Actively engage in your classes!  Sitting behind a computer while someone else talks is painfully passive. But it does not have to be.  Ask questions, provide your feedback, add to the discussion, take notes, share your thoughts as much as you can. Try holding yourself to a goal of asking at least 1 question a day. This will keep your brain turned on rather than zoning out.

TIP 7: Acceptance is Key

Lastly, accept that this reality, the reality of virtual classrooms and online learning, brings its own set of challenges. It is not going to be perfect all the time.  It’s okay to be unfocused at times. To be distracted as your dog brings you a sock from the other room. Or hearing your parent on the phone. Or knowing Call of Duty is calling for you down the hall. 

If a distraction catches you off guard, acknowledge it and continue forward with your task at hand.  If you can handle the distraction swiftly, do so and continue on. It is important to give yourself the grace to be unfocused sometimes and it’s important to choose those times wisely.  Choose times to be a little more lax when you are sure it won’t bite you in the butt later down the road. 

If you, your child, or your teenager needs more help than just these tips for online learning…

…that is COMPLETELY normal! This is such an unfamiliar and bizarre experience. Nobody is handling it with 100% ease. Short-term solution focused therapy can help ease the adjustment. 

About The Author

Lizzy2Lizzy Kosin, LCSW-C is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Therapist at Montgomery County Counseling Center in Rockville, MD. She earned her AM degree (equivalent to an MSW) from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. Her training includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.

Lizzy takes a casual approach to therapy. Because of this, she works very well with kids & teens. She also works with adults who want the benefits of therapy without feeling stuffy or over-medicalized. She values the importance of the mind-body connection and using experiential activities to keep the fun in building insight and motivating towards progress. Lizzy is licensed in both Maryland and Washington DC.


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