It’s September, the days are getting cooler and for many children, it’s the start of a new school year. It may even be your child’s first year at school. We live in the digital era – an age packed with distractions for children. The internet, games consoles, TVs, smartphones, tablets and many other devices provide a significant amount of stimulation for children. How then, do you create a peaceful space for your child, which helps them study? We’ve put together a few tips to allow your child to work effectively and creatively in a calm, work-friendly environment – regardless of the space available.
Buy a comfy seat
One of the most basic, but fundamental things to get right is seating. If you are sitting in an uncomfortable chair you won’t want to sit and work for any length of time. More importantly, you may end up with health problems if your posture isn’t correct. Invest in an adjustable chair for your child – it doesn’t have to break the bank.
Build or buy a desk
Even with a very small space, it’s possible to build a fantastic workstation. It could be as small as 24in by 18in. A dedicated work space is infinitely better than having to work on a bed or other areas with no table. As long as the desk can house a laptop or a desktop it will make a huge different to your child’s ability to focus and study. Make sure the chair and desk are the right height, ensuring any screens are at eye level.
It’s relatively easy to build your own shelving unit, and even small shelves can make a huge difference. For instance, they can be used to store stationery and books, so things aren’t lying around.
If placing shelves on walls isn’t an option for whatever reason, how about building a floor standing book stand? Perhaps make it large enough to house A4 lever arch files and folders for any important school documents.
Certain types of music (mostly instrumental) have been shown actually increase concentration and productivity. Although classical music may not be at the top of your kids’ playlist, it’s notoriously great for providing inspiration and motivation, and aiding concentration.
Temperature & lighting
Studies have shown that warmth increases productivity. Furthermore, being warm actually increases happiness. This is because our brains don’t make a distinction between physical and psychological sensations. Ensure the temperature of your kids’ study space is well-balanced.
With regards to light, natural light is hard to beat. However, in the winter months, try to stick with fluorescent or halogen bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs are more economical and better for your eyes. Halogen are great for illuminating reading material.
Colour is another important factor in helping your child concentrate. Blue has been proven to aid productivity in the workplace, and it’s seen as the colour of loyalty – candidates are encouraged to wear it to interviews. It makes one feel physically calm, as it slows down the heartbeat and respiration. This calming effect is great for kids’ rooms in general, but particularly if they are studying in there. Blue is also synonymous with intelligence, communication and trust.
Blue light reduction
Digital devices omit blue light. This is a strong, stimulating light that emulates sunlight. This is fine if you’re using laptops, smartphones, desktops and TVs in the daytime but not so good late at night – when an increasing number of us use them. This is because the intense light tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime, thus supressing the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. If, for instance, you work on a digital device until 9pm, your brain may not start to produce melatonin until around 10.30pm. This can obviously result in reduced, broken sleep. If your son or daughter is working on a device or playing a game until late, how do you get round it?
Well there are a few ways. Firstly, set a time limit each night for when all digital devices need to be turned off. However, this may not always be feasible. Another great method is to install software like F:lux for your laptop, tablet and smartphone. Blue light reduction programmes allow you to set the time at which you want them to come on and off each night. They are fantastic as you can still work, but your brain won’t be overstimulated in the same way.
Blue light reduction programmes can’t be used on TV’s – how do you get round it? Well, blue light reduction glasses can be purchased for under £10 from a major online stores. Used in conjunction with blue light reduction programmes, they are incredibly effective in aiding restful, natural sleep.
In conclusion, it’s important to make your child’s study area comfortable, cosy, accessible and welcoming – regardless of the location. Whether it’s a small corner of a bedroom, a space under a bunk bed or another room in the house it’s possible to create a great spot to help your child work effectively.
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