How to Create a Study Space Your Child Will Love

BY NANCY MATTIA ON OCTOBER 24TH, 2016

If you grew up doing your homework in front of the TV or elbowing your siblings for space at the kitchen table, you might want to figure out a better, more study-worthy spot for your own school-age child. Having a piece of real estate to call their own underscores the importance of the tasks at hand and may make math homework (almost) fun. Here’s what you need to do.

1. Pick a suitable spot

Look around your home. Is there an area in the dining room to set up a study space? How about the den or basement? Don’t rule out your child’s bedroom, but be aware that there may be too many temptations (toys, TV, siblings) in there for it to work.

2. Think about your child’s personality

Finding the perfect place isn’t just about square footage. You know your child best: Will he thrive in a room where people and pets are nearby? Or will he concentrate better if he’s in a place that’s as quiet as a library? The best desk may be ineffective if the environment it’s in isn’t suitable to your child’s needs.

3. Get your child’s input

Everyone likes to give an opinion, and your child is no different. So instead of setting up the space on your own and presenting it as a done deal, involve him in the process from the start.

“Keeping children involved can help to get them excited for the new space and make them want to use it,” says Jeffrey Phillip, a professional organizer and designer in New York.” Give them one or two options to choose from for certain parts of the project so that they can feel ownership. It's awesome for a child to pick out a globe light, a paint color, or colorful drawer dividers and then see the item in the completed space.”

4. Go for a good work surface

“Good” doesn’t mean expensive – it means a desk or table that complements the chair’s height and size. Comfort is key, too. Have your boy or girl try out a couple of different chair types, such as swivel and straight-back, to see which feels best.

5. Find the light

If possible, position the study spot near natural light. Studies have shown that exposure to natural light improves a person’s focus which, in turn, makes them more efficient. It’s like giving your child a brain boost just by giving him access to a window!

6. Stock it with supplies

Having everything within easy reach will make doing schoolwork less disruptive – no need to hunt all over the house for an eraser if you keep one in your desk. “But a child's desk doesn't need to be overloaded with supplies,” Phillip says. “Keeping it simple will eliminate potential distractions and give them room to grow into the workspace.” He suggests keeping as much as you can off the desk surface – use the drawers to hold supplies instead, and install drawer dividers to keep everything neat and orderly.

7. Keep track of time

Get a paper calendar or dry-erase board to hang on the wall, and let your child fill in the boxes with important school dates and deadlines.

8. Promote his accomplishments

Get a corkboard and a box of push pins and encourage your youngster to post his proudest school achievements (tests, award certificates) where he and everyone else can see them.

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