By Daddy Nickell
School is back in service which means homework is back, too. Getting kids to focus on their homework can be a real chore. To help the process go a little smoother, create a homework haven for your kids. Set the scene to make it more comfortable and conducive to studying. Below are a few tips on creating a homework space that is perfect for studying.
1. Choose One Homework Space for the Kids: Designate one room or area of a room for homework and studying, rather than have the kids do homework at the kitchen table or on the couch in the living room. The kids associate the kitchen with food and the living room with socializing, games, and the TV, so this can cause confusion and distractions. Set aside a special room or area for a desk/table, homework supplies, and minimal distractions, because having a regular “homework room” will help the kids associate that area of the house with studying, which in turn will help strengthen their self-discipline and focus.
2. Stock with Essentials: Make sure the room is stocked with all necessary materials, such as lined paper, pens, pencils, a pencil sharpener, tape, scissors, etc. If you set up a computer in the homework room, ensure that it has certain Internet blocks so the kids can’t surf YouTube videos when they should be studying! Also make sure a printer stocked with paper and ink is on-hand.
3. Choose Proper Chairs: You want the chairs to be comfy but not too comfortable, as that can cause drowsiness and the kids might end up falling asleep instead of studying. Choose simple and rigid chairs that don’t swivel or roll around, because the kids might end up playing around on them instead of staying stationary and studying. Also, make sure the kids can sit on the chairs comfortably with their feet touching the ground
4. Lighting: Ensure the studying space has adequate lighting, set at a level that is not too low and not too bright. If the lighting is too low, it can cause headaches, eyestrain, and drowsiness. Too bright of lighting can cause a discomforting glare off the book pages and studying materials. Shielded, full-spectrum fluorescent lights are known to help people stay calm, steady, and focused while studying.
5. Noise Level: Ask your kids if they work better in complete silence or with “white noise” or low music, and plan the space accordingly. If your kids prefer absolutely no noise, ensure that you and your partner stay as quiet as possible during the hours of after-school studying. If the kiddos work better with low music, set up an iPod dock to play “white noise” tunes like rain or low symphonic music.
6. Snacks: The best bet is to keep all snacks and food in the kitchen and cupboard, and tell the kids to enjoy a quick snack and “brain break” in the kitchen before heading to the homework space. If snacks are within reach in the homework area, your kids might be constantly distracted from wanting to grab another juice box and granola bar! However, you can keep bottles of water on-hand in the homework room, in case the kids get thirsty.
7. Decorate the Walls in A Non-Distracting Way: Brighten up the kids’ study room with learning murals, as it will spark the kiddos’ interest and imagination in their studying. Also, make sure to hang up your kids’ artwork around the room, as this will help the kids develop pride in their work and in producing projects worthy of gold stars!
Getting kids to do their homework will never be easy but with the right “haven,” hopefully it will go a little smoother!
Robert Nickell, aka Daddy Nickell, father of 7, offers his “5 cents” worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of Daddyscrubs.com, delivery room duds and daddy gifts and apparel, and the DaddyScrubs blog where he covers topics about parenting all from a Dad’s perspective.