Devereux MA/RI clinician shares remote learning tips during Department of Revenue presentation

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Massachusetts and Rhode Island Therapeutic Day School Clinician Jessica Kemp, Ph.D., NCSP, recently offered tips to help parents engage children in remote instruction during a virtual panel discussion hosted by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s Diversity Council.

Kemp was asked to participate in the presentation as a result of her experience helping students, families and caregivers embrace online learning during COVID-19.

“I want to thank the Department of Revenue for the opportunity to participate in this panel discussion,” said Kemp. “I have been hearing from many students and families that they are ‘running on empty.’ I hope this presentation provided validation that they are not in this alone, and offered some go-to tips they can use to ‘reboot’ and more effectively manage some of the stressors associated with learning and working from home.”

Staying focused, motivated

During the presentation, Kemp shared the following strategies to help students stay focused and motivated to complete their schoolwork:

  • Adjust expectations: Recognize that during the traditional, in-person school day, students are not working 100 percent of the time – this also applies to remote learning.
  • Use “first-then” statements: Motivate children to complete tasks by using statements such as, “First, finish your math class, and then, we can make snacks together and play a game.” Or, “First, finish your reading assignment, and then you can use your tablet.”
  • Identify roadblocks: Determine what is preventing a student from completing a task. Are they having trouble understanding a new skill? Are they bored? Do they need to move around?
  • Encourage fidgeting: Provide children with putty, playdough or a squishy ball to help them relieve stress or anxiety.
  • Set timers: Let students see how much time they have left in class or to complete work.
  • Take breaks: Take at least three “brain breaks” per day (e.g., go for a walk; draw/color; play a game) with your child, and encourage him or her to ask for a break, if needed.
  • Create a fun, relaxed atmosphere: Help students update their at-home classroom space with items such as aromatherapy diffusers, fun pens, colorful sticky notes or a poster to make the area more inviting.

Facilitating student success

Kemp also discussed ways to promote socialization, while social distancing; cope with changes in school schedules; set boundaries; manage stress; support youth with special needs; and help students adapt to appearing on camera.

“I have always been passionate about capacity building. As a school psychologist, I am often focused on how I can best support families and caregivers, as they are the ones with the children a majority of the time,” Kemp explained. “My goal is to not only build skills with individual students, but to help families establish routines and systems that they can integrate into their daily lives to facilitate their students’ success.”

Learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.

Photo caption 1: Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island Therapeutic Day School Clinician Jessica Kemp, Ph.D., NCSP, recently offered tips to help parents engage children in remote instruction during a virtual panel discussion hosted by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s Diversity Council.

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