The text "Distance Learning Tips for Supporting Parents and Families" written in front of a blue background

Parent and family involvement has always been essential to student success. But during distance learning, family involvement takes on an entirely new meaning. Many parents and families are taking on new responsibilities to ensure their students are continuing to make progress. So from afar, how can educators support parents and families during remote learning — knowing their involvement is so essential to its success?

Here are nine distance learning tips teachers can use to help parents and families support remote learning.

9 Tips For Supporting Parents and Families During Remote Learning

1. Equip families with background knowledge and examples.

If any activities you are sending home require a little explanation to help parents, make a cover letter with tips for those activities, and include pictures of a completed sample when available. Brenda Tejeda, lower elementary educator

2. Provide a simple checklist of tasks to complete.

When sending home packets of materials for elementary students, make it easy on parents by providing a daily checklist of what you want done at home and for how long. Fun To Teach, ELD educator

3. Have families set a schedule that includes home activities.

Having [a] schedule for their day that includes snacking, playing, getting fresh air, and 1-on-1 parent time can really help. It’s important that the schedule is consistent day after day, keeps the kiddo’s personality in mind, and allows for wiggle room. super cool nerd mama, lower elementary and homeschool educator

4. Define when and how you can be contacted. 

Answer email quickly and frequently throughout the day, but turn it off at night. Give yourself a time limit, such as any email received after 7:00 p.m. will be answered the next day. It is important to make time for yourself. – A – PLUS Literature Guides, upper elementary and middle school educator

5. Host office hours for students and families.

Secondary teachers should be available for their students and their families. If your system permits, establish virtual office hours through whatever platform they allow. – Leah Cleary, middle school and high school educator

6. Keep a communication log to ensure you’re connecting with every family.

[Keep] a parent-teacher contact log with updated parents’ information that includes e-mail [addresses] and phone numbers. – Bilingual Bee Creates Learning, lower elementary bilingual educator

7. Encourage families to support student learning in their native language.

Let the parents and caregivers of your English Language Learners know that reading to their children in their native language will help develop students’ reading skills. […]  Also, the adults can ask comprehension and critical thinking skills in the language they know best and have good conversations with their children about the books they are reading.  All the reading skills used in the family’s home language will transfer over to English, so reading in students’ first language is a good way to support them. – The ESL Nexus, middle school ELL educator

8. Provide options for different home situations.

When planning your distance learning lessons for elementary students, try and make your lessons flexible. Some students will have a parent to sit with them all day, others will have to navigate the work on their own. Sarah Anne, lower elementary and middle school educator

9. Have families turn home activities into educational opportunities. 

Integrate lessons into real-life activities and experiences. This makes learning more engaging and relatable. Additionally, it breaks up sitting time. For example, money skills can be practiced by setting up a store where family members can come and purchase goods; the child counts currency and makes change. […] Older elementary children can practice fractions by measuring ingredients for a recipe, but perhaps they only have the quarter cup and half teaspoon available to measure ingredients. Homeschooling and Homesteading, lower elementary and homeschool educator

Distance Learning Resources for Teachers, Parents, and Families

Parent Communication Log | Documentation Forms + Version made for Google Sheets™  by Learning in Wonderland

The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).

Digital Weekly Newsletter Template, Editable Calendar 2020-2021 for Google Slide by The Little Ladybug Shop

The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).

Digital Parent Communication Log || Google Form FREEBIE! by Classroom Shenanigans

The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).

Independent Work Packet | Learning From Home Enrichment | Distance Learning by Tanya G Marshall The Butterfly Teacher 

You can convert this PDF into an interactive online assignment for students. Learn more.

EDITABLE DIGITAL MONTHLY NEWSLETTERS | GOOGLE CLASSROOM by Tales of Patty Pepper

This is an Online Resource for Google Apps™. Learn More.

Distance Learning BUNDLE: Paperless Digital Resources for Parents by Reading in Room 11

The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).

For more distance learning resources for teachers, parents, and families, check out digital resources available on TpT.


Parent and family involvement is a key component of remote learning. With the right support and tools, parents and families can help teachers like you ensure students are continuing to make progress, even when learning from home. We hope these nine tips for supporting parents and families during remote learning give you some helpful ideas for building even more effective partnerships with your students’ families.