It’s that time of the year again: Back to School. But it looks drastically different this year. In March, many parents became caretakers, teachers, and employees, which are all hard in individually but combined together is difficult to balance. Juggling all of these roles can leave you to fall behind, leading to repercussions we don’t want to think about. If your kid didn’t do well when school transitioned online, it’s time to reevaluate their work environment. Early education is vital for their success in the future, so it is important that you instill good work habits now before your child falls behind.
To prepare yourself for this new school year, equip your child with the best tools to set them up for success. One way to do this is by creating a designated workspace in your home to help them stay on task, be organized, and complete their assignments. Here are some tips to help you with this endeavor.
Have Your Kid Make the Design Decisions
Make designing their workspace a fun adventure where they get to express their style through creating their perfect work area. Preparing for school can seem down and drab, but get your kid excited for the new school year with a brand new desk area that they curated to their needs. Additionally, have them decorate their surrounding workspace like posters on the wall or a nice rug under their desk. Letting them pick out what they want will also get them excited to work as they have created a space that embodies their personality and creativity.
Pick a Workstation
In a perfect world, your kid should have their own room to solely do their schoolwork in, but not everyone has the luxury of choice. Ideally, your child’s workspace should be separate from their bedroom, but if that is not possible emphasize that their desk is only for working and that they cannot work in their bed. Working in bed sends mixed messages to the brain as they need to be focused to complete their work, but they are in bed so they should sleep. This can lead to them doing sloppy work or falling behind. Avoid this by sectioning off a work area and a relaxation area.
If possible, assign their workspace to a spot where there is lots natural light and limited distractions. Working at the kitchen table is okay, but having to clean up their workspace everyday may get annoying to everyone. If there is anyway to designate a spot in the living room they could work in, that would be best. Wherever you place their desk at, emphasize that their desk is only for working. No goofing off, no surfing the internet- that is reserved for their bedroom or the couch, not their desk. Like working at your bed, if you use your desk as both a place for work and fun it could send mixed signals to your brain. Doing this will provide a good foundation for a solid work ethic and make everyone’s life easier.
Now that you have designated a work area, stress the importance of keeping a clean workspace. A cluttered area leads to a cluttered mind. Make it a habit of telling them to clear off their desk by the end of the day to promote an organized space. There are multiple ways to optimize organization, but simply having containers for paper, pens, pencils, etc. helps greatly in this department. Target, The Container Store, Amazon, and others have a myriad of containers that you can choose from to match your kids style. If your kid can clean their desk regularly, maybe they can clean their room regularly.
Incorporate Planners Into Their Routine
Instill good working habits with the use of a planner. Planners and to-do lists have saved our lives, so incorporate this practice into your kid’s life. Everyday ask them to go over their planner with you and make sure that they have completed their assignments before they go to bed. Making a habit of writing down assignments and their due dates will help them manage their time more efficiently. If they have a big assignment due in two weeks, make sure their planner shows how they will incrementally complete their assignment. This will keep them organized and accountable for their homework. If possible or wanted, you can buy a large, dry-erase calendar with their schedule and dues dates all lined out for them to refer back to. The planner should always stay on their desk so that they never lose it and are reminded of deadlines they have.
Have a Clock Readily Available
The clock will obviously help them tell time, however the purpose of adding the clock is to incorporate a healthy work-break schedule for them. Do this by having them work productively for 30 minutes and then taking a break for 15 minutes. Repeat this work-break cycle until all of their work is done. This is commonly known as the Pomodoro Technique, but you can use the method to promote healthy work habits. You may need to supervise them for a while to keep them accountable, but once they have gotten comfortable with the routine you won’t need to supervise them.
We hope that these tips will help you create a lovely, productive workspace for your child as we begin the new school year online. Creating an environment that cultivates a healthy work-life balance for your kid is going to benefit them in their future. They might think you’re being overbearing, but they will thank you later down the road. If you are working from home alongside your kid doing online school, check out our article on how to balance working from home and online schooling. Good luck!
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