Adapting to “Learn from Home”: How to Handle 3 Common Behavioral Issues

If you’re in the midst of transitioning your child’s learning from school to home due to COVID-19, there are likely a plethora of unknowns plaguing your thoughts. One concern that you might have is how to handle any behavioral issues. How should you respond? What will your student need from you? 

In short, your child will crave guidance and support. But to be more specific, here are three common behavioral issues your student might face, plus suggestions on how to address them: 

1. Avoidance of assigned work 

Your child’s school may have assigned homework to be completed during a coronavirus closure—but what if your kid doesn’t want to do it? For many students, this time period may feel confusing or, more simply, like it’s a vacation. In order to remedy this issue, it’s important for you to establish a structured routine that helps your child feel as if they’re moving through their day similar to how they would at school. Explain to them that even though they may not be in their school building, these assignments were given to them by their teacher. Remember, too, that patience and understanding will be key during this turbulent time. 

[RELATED: Keep Calm and Study On—How to Avoid Homework Meltdowns This School Year

2. Difficulty putting down distractions 

When first adjusting to a learn from home environment, it may be challenging for your student to put down distractions. Not only is your home filled with their personal items, it’s also a space where they’re used to indulging in their various technology-focused activities. Whether your child has difficulty separating themselves from a personal belonging or their technological device—or both—it’s important to illustrate to them the value boundaries will play in their temporary educational environment. With your student, designate study and homework time—just as if they were in a classroom. Once these requirements have been met, they can then go back to their leisure activities. 

[RELATED: How Parents Can Help with Elementary Homework Challenges]

3. Conflict with siblings that hinders the learning process

One challenging aspect of learning from home is the task of managing siblings of often differing ages and learning levels—not to mention the fact that siblings may be more likely to engage in conflict than classmates are. If you find yourself with multiple children of different ages unwilling to get along while learning at home, there are a few things you can do. It can be helpful to create a dedicated space for each to learn in, away from one another. This not only gives them a quiet space to do their work, it also can prevent any unnecessary arguments. Additionally, there may be some space to incorporate what each is learning into a fun game of sorts. For example: 

  • Create a Jeopardy game where each child has their own set of questions that pertain to their learning level.

  • Create a scavenger hunt relating to a subject they’re both studying in school. 

Bringing them together can allow for lessons in teamwork and can encourage them to work together while learning, even though their grade levels may be different. 

[RELATED: 3 Creative Ways to Make Learning at Home Fun

Your child is likely encountering a multitude of emotions during the transition to learning from home. To remedy any behavioral issues you may face during this adjustment, it’s important to establish a set daily routine, eliminate unnecessary distractions, and encourage teamwork between siblings. Your support and understanding can help your student feel confident in their ability to navigate this time period. 


If your family has been affected by a COVID-19 school closure, Varsity Tutors is here for you. Register now for Virtual School Day, our free resource for parents, and enjoy access to live, online lessons and other K-12 learning resources.