As your child settles in for a productive evening of homework and studying, does he or she have a study space that promotes mental efficiency and focus? Here are some suggestions for structuring a home study area that nips distraction-related frustrations in the bud and encourages kids to get the job done!
• Provide an outlet for nervous energy. While there are students who are perfectly fine staying focused while sitting still, some attention spans are definitely shorter than others! If your child is of the easily distractible variety, we suggest keeping fidget toys like stress balls around to keep anxiety at bay and help them stay on task. We love this article about how one middle school math class utilizes stationary bikes to help students stay focused. For a more low-key alternative, try an appropriately sized balance ball in lieu of a standard desk chair!
• Keep things minimal—but not sterile. Eliminate visual distractions by keeping your child’s study area neat, clean, and organized. Stow away infrequently used school supplies in a drawer. That said, a space that’s too minimal can prove uninspiring. Kids should enjoy being in their study space—decorate with soothing colors such as lighter shades of blue and green, and maybe a child-friendly desk toy to keep them engaged while brainstorming. We’re big fans of vision boards—kids outline their long-term goals and create a fun collage with words and images that symbolize what they hope to accomplish! Sit together with your child and make one that highlights his or her dreams. Keep it on display in the study space as a consistent reminder of the big picture.
• Limit access to technology. Establish a cellphone-free study zone and liberate your child from the distracting buzz or ding of unanswered texts. Also, if your child needs to go online to complete a school assignment, installing software that temporarily blocks access to social media sites gives students a reason to stay on task and save the funny cat videos for later.
• Make space for items that support good time management. A desk calendar with enough space to make note of important deadlines teaches kids the value of planning ahead. A clock or timer encourages them to be more mindful of their workflow, decreasing the chances of them spending too much time on a particular task.
• Set the stage with proper lighting and sound. Lighting that’s too dim can cause energy levels to wane, and harsh artificial light can prove jarring and unpleasant. Pick a desk lamp that mimics natural light. As for background noise, some students may function better with music in the background, while others prefer complete silence. Explore different options with your child and pick what works best!
Which study space essentials are must-haves in your household?