Parent to Parent: Tips for supporting your Mudder during remote learning

Supporting your Mudder during remote learning is key to their well-being and success. Below are some helpful tips submitted by Parent Leadership Council member, Andrea Fant-Hobbs P23 (Madison Hobbs ’23).

1. A Place for Learning

Set-up a special place for learning other than the student’s bedroom. Much like configuring a new dorm room, it will be helpful to reconfigure your student’s current bedroom as a “learning space” if an alternate space in your home is not possible; it will help them transition to “college” and virtual learning. We helped Madison set up her separate learning space and added an HDMI cord to project the class lecture on a big screen TV—that helped as an alternate to her small Apple computer screen.

2. Letting Go!

The same way parents would have dropped their kids off [on campus] and flipped a switch mentally… they will need to more intentionally flip that switch even though their kids will be home. Don’t expect your Mudder for breakfast lunch or dinner! They will have classes round the clock and student groups and meetings and social time and they likely will not have time to enjoy daily family meals!

You may be surprised that your Mudder may appear to be laughing and having fun on line and you might not think they are working on school work. But, this is how they WILL be working together! They may need a little social interaction fun to blow off stress and steam and it’s ok.

3. Allow your Mudder Space

Let your Mudder figure out their “flow”—this is a challenging time and they won’t be experts navigating yet either.

4. Mistakes are Key to Learning

Everyone will make mistakes, but in so doing you will be learning what works for all of you.

5. Be Patient and Be Empathetic!

This isn’t that fun college experience they expected either! Be patient and empathetic. They will be tired and frustrated. They will be missing their friends and peers and in-person social interaction.

6. Shh, Quiet Please!

We had our daughter print her class schedule and test schedule and we taped it to the door of the spare room we fully converted to her learning space, classroom and lounge. We knew when she was in class and had tests so we would be sure not disturb her.

7. Food, Food Glorious Food!

At school there is a cafeteria…they could “box out” and “grab and go.” To make it easy, we made breakfast and lunch and dinner put it on trays and left them for Madison to grab and go as needed/desired. There were times she brought her tray to join us when she wanted to and needed to and had time to and plenty of times she just grabbed it and headed back to her “learning space.” There were some meals she simply didn’t eat and that was fine too. We knew she would not starve and would eat when hungry.

We also set out baskets with plenty of water, plenty of healthy, somewhat healthy, and not healthy snacks! There were days we actually didn’t see her but we heard her footsteps, and laughter, and class participation ….and we saw the food and snacks disappear and knew she was alive and well!

8. What a Chore!

Even though your Mudder is home, remember they are in school and in a very rigorous program and the work is hard. Therefore, you may need to give them a break from their old chores…mowing the lawn or whatever. The first goal is to get into a rhythm with their schoolwork and routine…let the other stuff slide! After the first couple of months you will have a good idea what if anything they can resume doing like chores.

9. Listen and Be Supportive

Our daughter always talked to us about stuff…and we found she was happy to share her thoughts and feelings about her college experience, the work etc. She talks to us about her virtual learning Mudd experience too and we listen and support her. If your kid was not a high communicator before, don’t be surprised if they aren’t a high communicator about their new Mudd virtual learning now. But, if and when they do talk to you, be sure to Listen! And, be supportive.

10. Perfect Pet Pals

Our dog was such a blessing for our daughter. A great “de-stress” mechanism, he liked to go in to her learning space and keep her company. He also had a habit of trying to get into the zoom class lectures with her!