For most, a productive environment is one that is free from harmful distractions, organized, quiet and comfortable. Starting early in your child’s education to establish good work habits is vital for children to succeed in higher education and as future professionals. Use this guide to develop a great homework environment for your child.
Choose A Study Zone That’s Free From Distraction
Distractions come in all forms, physically and emotionally. While digital gadgets are a common one, subtler distractions like hunger or worry also affect our ability to focus. Check that these needs are met to establish a distraction-free zone:
Turn off all of the electronics.
- Remove cell phones or iPads from the area or put them on silent. Turn off the TV or any distracting music. A Stanford Medicine study found that areas of the brain involved with memory and focus were engaged while listening to specific types of music. White noise or instrumental music may work for your child.
Give kids a snack break before they start their studies.
- After a long day at school, let your children refresh themselves with a healthy snack and a quick, physical or hands-on activity that they enjoy.
Ask them about their day.
- Problems or worries that are on children’s minds will affect their ability to focus on the task at hand. Talk to them about school and how they feel today. Ease any issues before they sit start homework.
Great Study Environments are Well-Lit and Comfortable
Make sure your kids sit in a well-lit, comfortable spot with good posture that has ample room. Homework zones that are relaxing but formal keep kids’ attention more effectively. These tips are great for creating a well-lit and comfortable environment:
Set up your child’s homework station is a sunny spot.
- Natural light is best when it’s available. Try to find a spot that receives a lot of sun, but positions children so that it does not shine on their face. Natural light improves moods, making it easier to focus on work.
Use artificial lighting that is optimal for a homework environment.
- Avoid using harsh lights that strains the eye. Instead use lighting that most closely mimics natural light, such as LED.
Have your kids sit in comfortable, but functional chairs.
- It’s important that children have good posture and are sitting attentively. Kids who slouch on a sofa or lay in bed while doing homework become disorganized and distracted.
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Create a Separate Station for Homework
Creating a separate homework station helps to improve the functionality of your child’s learning space. When they have the right materials at hand, it’s easier to concentrate. Important additions to a homework station include:
Create a question board.
- Set up a whiteboard or a question page for your kids to write their questions on or to list things they don’t understand. After they have finished what they know, help them with rest.
Keep writing utensils and necessary supplies within reach.
- Be sure to include supplies that your child may need for any subject. Organize them into his or her workspace so they are readily available.
Create a review binder.
- Keep graded homework, tests, and notes in a binder that is organized chronologically and by subject. Have your kids use it as a reference when they forget something they have learned or need to study for a test.
Block any Internet distractions.
- Pay attention to the things that your child does leisurely on the computer or tablet. Block or ban any games, social media, or other distractions during homework time.
Because each child has an individual learning style, you should organize your student’s space in a way that makes sense for him or her. Common ways to categorize that young learners understand well are color-coordinating charts or labels, picture labels, letters, or word labels.
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It takes some experimenting to learn what style of learning your children thrive with. Starting with a great homework environment will help you determine what’s best for them. By keeping a designated place that is all their own and free from distractions, you are setting your child up with the tools they need to develop vital work habits and feel successful.
Originally published December 20, 2017
Jeff E. Brown is a freelance writer, self-taught lifehacking teacher, DIY home improvement specialist, owner of two happy dogs and a barbeque master. He loves learning through experience and writing about all the cool things he has learned since he moved out of a compact apartment into a comfortable house. You can reach him @jeff8rown.
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