With schools shut for the foreseeable future and most students learning from home, it’s more important than ever to ensure your child has the optimal work space. The ideal workspace will help reduce distractions and make your child more focused and productive. Here are five easy steps you can take to support your child in creating the perfect home workspace.
1. A dedicated working space
It’s important your child has a set space for working. Whether it’s a desk in their bedroom or a spot at the kitchen table, a set work space will mean there’s a clear distinction between when your child is working and when they are having a break. Not only will this make it easier for you to keep tabs on how much work they’re doing, but clearly delineating between being ‘on’ or ‘off’ will enable your child to be more productive when in work mode.
2. A tidy work environment
Your child’s workspace doesn’t need to look like a minimalist masterpiece, but it does need to be organised. Knowing where everything they need for their lessons is, whether that’s a worksheet or textbook, will help your child feel in control of their learning. Even if they don’t have their own desk, your child should have somewhere where they can keep all their school books and folders.
3. Quiet space and/or headphones
A quiet work environment usually means less possibilities for distraction. But sometimes this just isn’t possible. If multiple members of your family are sharing a work space headphones are a great and inexpensive way of blocking out noise and potential distractions. Over ear headphones are the best option in this situation as they passively block sounds such as people talking.
Even if your child has a quiet space to work, a pair of headphones can help with their concentration. Putting on headphones can make them feel as if they’re in their own world. It may also help your child distinguish between ‘work mode’ and ‘relax mode’.
Important feature to look out for: If your child is taking part in online lessons then it’s important to buy a pair which have a built-in microphone so that they can easily contribute in lessons. For sound quality, it’s best to buy a pair where the microphone is near the mouth instead of near the ear.
Lighting is not something people often think about when setting up a workspace but ensuring your child has the correct lighting is really important. Not only will it help reduce eye strain (especially important if your child is spending more time in front of a screen) but studies have shown that lighting in the workplace can affect mental health. Now the days are short and the weather is dreary, relying solely on natural light isn’t an option and the main light in your room may not reach your child’s work area sufficiently. Assess where your child is working and whether the lighting is adequate. A freestanding light or desk lamp may be a good investment.
5. Ditch the phone
Studies have shown that having a mobile phone nearby (even turned off) when working can negatively affect your cognitive ability (the ability to retain and process information). Unless your child needs their phone to complete a piece of work, try to encourage them to leave their phone in another room when they are doing schoolwork. Not only will this increase their concentration and productivity but it will also help them differentiate between ‘work mode’ and ‘relax mode’.