Succeeding in school often means children need to put in work at home -- but without a dedicated space for learning at home, children may struggle with distractions and concentration. A study area at home can offer a place for kids to learn and grow in their education.
What kids need most in a study space is an area where they can spread out learning materials and focus without distractions. That means it should be roomy, quiet, and somewhat private. That might be their own bedroom, but it's best to avoid their room if possible, so they can better separate sleep from schoolwork.
Make sure there's room for you and other collaborators such as study friends to sit down with them and work together. Ideally, your child's study area should be fairly sparse so they won't be tempted by distractions. Noise can be an issue, too, so you'll want to pick a spot that's somewhat separate from main living areas -- but still easy to access.
Your child's study space can be a place where they store their laptop or desktop computer, most likely right on their desk. This is a place where kids know they can keep their school tech and charge it overnight when not in use.
Consider storage as well. Schoolwork comes with a lot of papers to keep up with, so create a system that makes it easy to manage it all. A tray for current work, filing solutions for older papers, and a recycling bin for anything not important can keep the flow of paper manageable. You'll also want space for school supplies, so they have pens, pencils, highlighters, and post it notes easily within reach.
The environment should be welcoming, offering good access to light so your young student can see what they are working on. Consider bringing in house plants or other natural elements so the space is more comfortable.
What If You Don't Have Room?
In some homes, a dedicated study area for kids is a tall order. For smaller homes where there just isn't room, a mobile desk might be a better solution. A homework caddy or rolling cart makes it easy to keep supplies and schoolwork easily accessible wherever they want to get homework done. For example, you can store the caddy in your dining room and allow kids to roll it to the table any time they are ready to work. If they need help with noise and distractions, a pair of noise cancelling headphones or even earplugs can do the trick.
Giving your child a space to study can help support their learning now and in the future. Show them you're serious about schoolwork and encourage them to make their study space comfortable and functional for their needs.
Susan Austin is a family research specialist with Family Living Today. A mother of three and small business owner in Texas, Austin spends her days juggling work and family life -- sometimes expertly, sometimes not.