A great Labor Day project to take on with your student is to create an inspiring and productive study space to help support their success.
No matter the level of education of your child – from kindergarten to college – an individual, dedicated space for schoolwork can provide the inspiration and structure necessary for them to do their best work.
Despite the certainty of Labor Day and the beginning of another school year, it’s going to be a very different beginning of class for many students.
Amidst the unknown, schools are implementing a variety of means of study – onsite, remote learning, and variations in between. A personal study space with an organized desk can mean the difference between an enjoyable and successful school year for your child or one that is just that much more disorganized and stressful.
And, while no one study space works for everyone, with the help of cues from your child and these suggestions, you can create a homework and study area that is certain to be more suitable than the kitchen table.
Choose the Place
Over time, a designated place to study encourages your child to develop an appropriate mindset when they enter the space. Initiating focus rapidly helps the student get started more quickly, with a better sense of motivation and fewer distractions.
Movement between different spaces requires time to settle in, process, and regain focus each time. One dedicated space where your child can establish a routine and workflow means far less time and energy wasted.
Set the Tone
Is your child comfortable in a busier environment and not so easily distracted by noise? Or, maybe your student can only concentrate when alone in a quiet space?
For the child that enjoys more activity, perhaps a location near the kitchen or family room works well. For the solitary learner, a barrier to block interruptions, away from the higher trafficked areas of your home is best.
Consider Ergonomics for Healthier Studying
To better support your child in their study habits, comfort is key to promoting focus and productivity. Look for a computer desk and chair that offer good ergonomics. An ergonomically designed desk will ensure they can sit and work, for hours in many cases, without pain or discomfort.
Ideally, choose a quality computer desk and chair that offer adjustability to fit your child’s body and encourage healthy posture. Provide a desk with enough surface and storage space in which to spread out and avoid being overwhelmed by stacks and piles.
When your child is seated, they should be able to rest their elbows on the desk surface without hunching their shoulders. Feet should rest flat on the floor. For smaller children, provide a pillow on the seat and tuck a box under their feet for greater comfort.
Be Comfortable – Just not TOO Comfortable!
Schoolwork can get done at home in pajamas — people who work at home do it all the time. Some parents require their kids to get fully dressed to do their work. It depends on the individual and the way they learn.
Along with a place that facilitates effective study — where your child can be focused and alert yet relaxed – the only parameter should be ensuring your student is comfortable enough to minimize distractions. However, you want to avoid the kind of comfort that causes your child to be lethargic or fall asleep.
Choose Natural Lighting
We, as humans, search out natural light. Yes, daylight will diminish as we leave Labor Day and summer behind us. But your child can enjoy as much light as possible throughout the school day if their desk is located near a window. Light from the outdoors is one of the best sources of light in any office, for studying, work, or otherwise. Just ask anyone who works for long periods under fluorescent lights.
Don’t have a window in your child’s study place? Position a mirror to reflect the closest source of natural light into the room. Even a little is better than none at all. Alternatively, if natural light is hard to come by, opt for lights that replicate sunlight to provide the next best solution.
Stock Up on Supplies
Prior to Labor Day, the stores are loaded with school supplies at great prices. Be sure to equip your student’s workspace with everything they might need throughout the school day. A calculator? A ruler or geometry set? A variety of papers? Be sure they are close by and in ample supply to keep your child on task without losing momentum from hunting things down.
Tip: provide your student with a calendar or planner to keep them on track so they can reference their to-dos quickly and easily.
Keep Everything Organized
A place for everything and everything in its place will ensure that your student knows where to find what they need when they need it. Use decorative bins and boxes or use organizers in drawers and cabinets. The more place you have to keep things orderly, the less time and energy will be required to find what your child is missing throughout the school day.
Organization includes keeping computer files orderly, too. Review with your child how to save documents, create and order files, and how to name their electronic folders properly to help them save valuable time when working on their computer. It’s a great lesson they can take with them beyond their school years.
Personalize the Study Space
Decorate to inspire and motivate – let your child personalize their study space. Posters, photographs, artwork, or anything else that has meaning to your child will help them enjoy this space as it motivates and inspires them every day.
Don’t forget to include house plants! NASA proved that houseplants could improve air quality and bring a sense of calm and peace to indoor spaces. Afraid of the maintenance? Choose a hearty and low-maintenance succulent for a burst of life that is easy to keep looking good.
Remove Electronic Distractions
Turn off, or remove your child’s mobile phone and other devices that aren’t necessary to get work done. Phones are one of the biggest distractions when it comes to studying – even just knowing it’s nearby can be distracting. Allow low-volume background music, if anything at all, during homework time to help maintain your child’s focus.