Parents and Families


If your student is one of the many U-M students engaging in the 2021 Winter Academic Semester online, managing the class workload will be a different experience. They will need to balance academic focus while maintaining health and well-being -- doing it all on a virtual basis. 

Parents and families can help by encouraging students to engage in effective time management and wellness tips. One of the most valuable skills can have -- especially online -- is effective time management. The better they manage their time, the easier it will be to achieve their goals while enjoying the experience. Some tips to best manage time include:

  • Plan ahead -- Having a consistent time and workspace, tuning out distractions such as social media and television, and avoiding surfing the internet is a first step. Despite the flexibility in being an online student, it’s important to have frequent engagement with their studies throughout the week. Make sure your student schedules time to space out required readings, assignments, and online discussions.
  • Set up a virtual study space -- Your student should designate a space for study that is comfortable with the right lighting, sound, and background. For example, some people prefer to work with headphones on, while others prefer silence or an ambient backdrop with people quietly chatting. A comfortable chair is essential. Closing out the browser windows and putting away their phone is also key.
  • Get a good night’s sleep -- Sleep is essential to rest your body and keep your mind fresh for the next day. Try to get seven to eight hours of rest a night. Pulling all-nighters is less productive than studying consistently. Include sleep in your schedule, and you can reap huge rewards.
  • Take study breaks -- Studying is important, but so is taking a break to keep the mind alert and fresh. Key to a good break includes:
    • Decide what you want to accomplish before the break.
    • Leave your study space.
    • Keep breaks short so it’s easier to get back to work.
    • Set a timer during breaks.
    • Choose activities that physically and mentally recharge and make it easy to pause and go back to studying.

The university also offers many activities for study breaks, such as:

  • Virtual Recreation resources and virtual activities.
  • Your student can also check out some fun and relaxing videos for a quick break. Wellness offers videos of nature and music, meditation and mindfulness, study break stretches as well as ways to try something new, learn cooking skills and more.
  • And there are lots of other great ways to take a break, including going for a walk, eating good food, and meditating.

It’s important to encourage your student to take care of their health and well-being, because self-care can be the first thing to go when students are under pressure. The little things often mean the most, and students really do notice and appreciate your support.