If your home looks more like a classroom with textbooks and assignments strewn about each school night, then it’s probably time to consider creating a dedicated study space.
A designated space not only will allow you to reclaim your kitchen table, but it also will help teach the children how to keep themselves organized.
Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Find a dedicated space that’s big enough to set up a desk with a comfortable chair. Depending on your child’s age, learning style and amount of assistance required, this spot could be in a communal room, such as a kitchen or family room, or in the child’s bedroom. Your goal is to give them a spot where they can work at a table (instead of their lap) and have room to spread out all of their materials.
2. Keep an adjustable lamp and essential school supplies (pens, paper, folders, notebooks) within easy reach of the desk so your child doesn’t have a reason to roam. For older children, include extra charging cords for their technology. Keep everything tidy using labeled jars, containers and caddies. Don’t forget to include a trash/recycling can near the desk to encourage regular purges of older papers and other garbage from their backpacks.
3. Install a heavy duty hook to the wall near the homework area so your child’s backpack (and homework assignments) are within reach. A bonus is that your child will always know where the backpack is (or should be anyway).
4. Set up two trays and label one “in” and the other “out,” and teach your child to place important permission slips and notes that need signed or reviewed by you in the “in” box. Place any documents that need to be returned to school in the “out” bin, ready for your child to pick up in the morning.
5. Erect a clock or timer nearby to help your child manage his or her own time. Devices, such as the Time Timer, allow children to visually see how much time they have left for a certain task even if they are not old enough to read a clock yet. A calendar with upcoming field trips, events, due dates and tests also can help older children stay motivated and learn how to manage their time accordingly.