Some of us work desk jobs, while others are on our feet more or traveling about. Those of us who work at a desk for the majority of our workday know how important it is to have a decent workspace. Some people prefer to surround themselves by personal items that remind them of family, vacations, pets and other things they love, while others prefer to keep their desk space minimalist with only the simple basics to get them through the day. Whichever way is preferred, productivity can take a major hit when things are displaced or when you just don’t feel comfortable in the space surrounding you. Have you ever been in a meeting where the topic is dicey and it’s too hot in the room and all you can focus on is how to hide the bead of sweat that’s about to roll down your face and possibly fall onto your computer or notebook? Or how about a room where It’s so bare and quiet and echoey that you can hear the clock tick during pauses in a person’s speech? This, is what we’re talking about – discomfort in a space you’re in and trying to focus in.
Just as it might be hard for you to work and focus in somewhere that isn’t familiar and set-up to be comfortable, it, too is hard for kids to concentrate when their spaces aren’t quite right. It’s helpful for kids to have the right tools for success, especially if they are struggling a bit in school. To ensure your child’s studies are successful, it’s best to set up a space that makes them feel good. Below are some helpful things to think about when building a study space for your child.
Have you heard the saying “a cluttered space is a cluttered mind?” This is an excellent motto to keep in mind when putting together your child’s space. You don’t want to their desk space to feel sterile or foreign to them but putting a few things up that inspire them versus a desk full of trinkets and collections will allow them to still be surrounded by minimal creature comforts. Having them participate in this is key. Have your child select 1 – 3 items that they want to keep on their desk or hang above it that are “extras” (things that aren’t necessities in studying. This way, they are active participants in the creation of their space.
Time Management Tools
Learning how to keep track of time and prioritize different tasks doesn’t come natural to everyone. It’s more of a learned skill for some of us. Finding a way to track time, set goals and meet deadlines is important for kids to start doing – especially once they hit upper elementary school. Having a desk or wall calendar that you help them start and they manage, or a physical or electronic planner can help kids get the hang of being responsible for their own tasks and time management. A skill needed for all adults!
Remember how we talked about how being a meeting in a room that’s too hot can be super distracting? Well, lights are of similar value to temperature. Make sure your child’s study space has enough lighting to keep their brain engrossed in what they’re doing, but not so much that it feels like flood lights are overhead and they’re about to beamed up by Scottie. Too little light tends to make us sleepy and too much artificial light can cause headaches. The best source of light is natural light.
Music (or Not)
Just like every child has different preferences for school subjects, activities and sports, every person studies best with their own set of preferences. Music is something that can really help kids focus – especially if it’s the right kind of music – or it can distract them. If your child complains that their space is too quiet for them to focus, try playing music. Classical music or lyrics-free jazz is a great place to start because there aren’t voices or words to fixate on. Background noise can very much help kids direct their attention away from their own thoughts that might be distracting, to diligently studying.
Limit Screen Time
It’s ok for kids to take a break from studying and constantly having to use their brains. We all need to checkout sometimes, but too much time in front of screens where they’re checking out, be it phones, tablets computers or televisions, can be harmful for kids on many levels. Using screen time as earned currency can be a great way for kids to learn work ethic, as well as moderation.
Do you feel your child is struggling specifically with math, even when their study space is spruced up? We can help at Mathnasium of El Segundo. We have proven methods to teach number sense and mathematical fluency to your child in a way that makes sense to them. Give us a call at (310)616-3181 to schedule a FREE assessment.