As families prepare their children to head back to school during our current state, we know it’s going to look a little different. Masks will likely be worn by most, desks will be spaced out, some students won’t be in the classroom. Whatever the case may be in your household, having a dedicated workspace at home will be important for your child’s growth. Help them be productive and efficient learners by creating a space they want to be in, help them fall in love with their school work at home. We look at seven ways to create a productive and welcoming workspace at home.
1. Desk or Table Positioning
There are two options here, depending on your child’s age. For older children, set them up away from distractions. They should face a wall, facing an open door or window will only lead to distractions. Facing a wall also gives you the opportunity to place important reminders or notes on a board for your child to glance at. For younger children it’s almost the opposite. Because they will need more help and support you will want them somewhere close to you like the kitchen table or counter. Having you nearby will eliminate the distraction of calling you for help or leaving the workspace to find you.
2. Good Lighting
Ideally, you want to setup in an area with good natural light, but remember not where your child is facing a window. You will also want to add a desk light to help brighten the work on the desk. Good lighting helps to keep your child alert and focused. You don’t want them straining to see the work laid out in front of them.
3. Proper Seating
Ensure the seating for your child is supportive, comfortable, and at the right height. Ideally you have an adjustable chair for your child but if you don’t, there are things you can do with your existing furniture and other home items. If you don’t have a chair your child’s size, likely the chair is too big. Boost your child’s height by sitting on pillows or books (phone books or other large surfaced books). There should be a 1”-2” gap between the back of your child’s knee and the front edge of the seat, to achieve this place a firm pillow (or two), rolled up blanket, etc. between the back of the chair and your child’s lower back. This will also help to support their lumbar spine. Finally, your child’s legs should not dangle they should be flat on the floor or a footrest, boxes, or more books. The less fidgeting they do to get comfortable, the more productive they will be.
4. Remove distractions
Specifically, if your child has a phone, especially a smart phone, remove that from the space. Create a strict “no-phone” policy so your child isn’t tempted by any phone distractions like checking their social media accounts or playing games on the phone. Additionally, you don’t want any items in the space that is not important to the task at hand.
Not everyone has a spare room to create this workspace so if you’re creating the space in your child’s room try to hide the distractions. Games, toys, and other possibly distracting items should be out of sight. This can be as simple as tucking it in the closet while the space is being used for school work.
5. Have Supplies on Hand
Make sure to have all the supplies your child may need within reaching distance but keep the desktop neat and tidy. Ensure each item has a dedicated space on the desktop or in the desk drawer or shelf. It’s important to keep the tabletop tidy so your child’s mind does not wander and is not overwhelmed but you also want to make sure your child does not need to lose his/her focus by searching through drawers for any supplies.
If your child is sensitive to noise then he/she may lose his/her focus upon hearing noise from the next room or from outside. If this is your child, consider letting them use noise cancelling headphones with a quiet tune in the background. Be sure this is a pre-determined playlist and if the music is coming from a phone that that phone is with you and not your child.
Make sure there is water to keep your child hydrated!
There you have it, seven steps to creating a productive and welcoming workspace at home. A final suggestion, when designing this space ask your child for their input and let them take part in creating the space. This will help them feel more comfortable in the space and create a stronger connection making them more likely to want to use the space. Happy designing!