Keeping your family motivated during online everything

September 8, 2020

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You’re doing distance learning, you’re having virtual family reunions and playdates, you may even be attending church online these days. Technology fatigue is real—research has shown that being constantly plugged in can make us physically and psychologically exhausted. During this period of online everything, how can you keep your family motivated?

Find new—or old—ways to connect

Jumping on a video call is a great way to keep in touch with family members. But it’s not the only way. To battle that Zoom fatigue, bring back older ways of connecting.

For example, writing letters has been associated with improved moods and decreased feelings of loneliness. And whether you’re five or 55, writing by hand has been linked to increased brain development and cognition. If you have young children, encourage them to draw pictures or send homemade cards to your loved ones who are far away right now.

If your usual video chat with family is starting to feel repetitive, suggest new activities. With today’s options, you can play card games, word games or even run scavenger hunts virtually.

Motivation in the digital classroom

Many younger children may be struggling this year with attending school from home. You can help keep them on track with daily schedules, checklists and a distraction-free workspace.

Kids also need positive feedback. Give real-time small rewards—even something as simple as a sticker or a check mark can contribute to feelings of accomplishment and motivation. Regular breaks and consistent exercise are also important for both you and your child.

Teenagers who are back in school won’t need as much hands-on attention. But many of the same tips apply: schedule breaks, encourage distraction-free workspaces and offer positive feedback. In a time of high stress, experts also recommend that parents encourage high-achieving teens to let go of “grade perfectionism.” With everyone on a national pause right now, self-imposed stress is the last thing a teenager needs.

Make it about more than school

Kids who aren’t in the classroom this year will experience a significant decrease in their daily social interactions. Socializing and making friends are crucial parts of being in school. Consider how your kids can still connect virtually. Maybe your child has a few friends that they can video chat with during lunch each day. Finding ways to make distance learning more interactive can go a long way in boosting your child’s mood and motivation.

When technology fatigue sets in, it’s also okay to step away as much as you can for a few days. Have a family game night instead of watching a movie. Ask your friends if they’d like to connect over the phone instead of on a video chat. There are many options for us to be together from a distance these days, and that’s a huge blessing. Just remember to engage with technology in the ways that work best for you.