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10 “Reboots” for Children Who Struggle with Distance Learning

When the Top articles of 2020 lists came out, it was no surprise that many of the most read and shared articles I wrote in 2020 were on helping parents and educators navigate the struggles of distance learning.

Rounding out in the top 3 most read on the Greater Good Science Center, where I guest blog, were how educators can support kids with special needs during distance learning, how to reduce stress of homeschooling and how parents can support kids with special needs virtually.

It’s no wonder these were the most shared in 2020. It’s been the greatest challenge for parents and educators alike. It’s especially challenging finding ways to  support neurodiverse children who have additional learning, emotional, behavioral, and attention needs (on top of the general stress of the pandemic).

New Year, Same Me.

My most popular piece of 2020 though, was when I kept things 100 and wrote about how even as a school psychologist I failed the stress test with my own kids.

The dawning of a new year did give me a shot of hope that 2021 would be different…

That things would settle down.

That distance learning and remote working would somehow be easier or less stressful.

That my vision board for “Ease and Joy” in the new year would magically manifest at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve.


It’s the same. We are still in distance learning and hybrid learning and all that jazz.

We are still stressed, trying to make it all work.

While hope is on the horizon with a vaccine, the reality is, we are probably still in this for a while.

And I’m finding that while some families are getting in a rhythm,  a lot of families and kids are just OVER IT.

So how can we all hit the collective reset button on distance learning to remain positive and work through the stress and challenge?

Without further ado, here’s three resources for us to hit the collective “reset button” together: something to read, something to listen to, and something to share.

Something to Read

I wrote these tips  for Popsugar magazine on how to reboot distance learning. This slideshow-style article is a good reminder of the little things that can make a huge difference in the stress levels in the household.

Extra credit for you if you can spot my quarantine puppy, Gryffindor in one of the photos in the article!

Something to Listen To

Stress is contagious, but so is calm. The world is full of stress right now, including events that are piling more stress onto kids.  When parents are stressed about school as well, it’s contagious to the entire family. But, parents have the power to reduce the stress and bring the calm.

I joined Penny Williams in this timely episode of the Parenting ADHD podcast–as we are all rebooting back from holiday break. And while differently wired kids, such as those  with ADHD, may carry even more stress more about school, these 10 tips apply to every child!

Check out the podcast where we talk about 10 ways to help your child press the reset button when they’ve just had enough and give up on school.

Hint: only one of the 10 action items has anything to do with school.

Something to Share

If you’re like me, and many of these strategies for bringing the calm to parenting fall under “things I know but often forget to do in the moment,” feel free to download my “Cheat Sheet” here. 




A Word about Self-Compassion During Distance Learning…

Last I checked, there’s no manual called “Parenting in a Pandemic”.

There’s no “Educator’s Guide to Turning on a Dime and Doing Everything Remotely.”

So if things have not been going well, or you’ve hit a wall, I invite you to do a self-compassionate reboot with me.

Give yourself the grace you’d give a best friend during this time.

You wouldn’t shame a best friend or judge them for not having it all figured out, so give yourself the same kindness you’d give someone you care about.

We are in this together, friends. And we will get through it together.

🧡 Rebecca


Rebecca Branstetter, Ph.D., is a school psychologist, speaker, and author on a mission to help children thrive by supporting school psychologists, educators, and families. She is the founder of The Thriving School Psychologist Collective, an online community dedicated to improving mental health and learning supports in public schools. She is also the creator of several parenting courses designed to help parent with the stress of the pandemic, particularly for parents of neurodiverse children.  For more information on Rebecca’s resources for parents, visit

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