For most students, the back-to-school buzz is enough to get them opening their books after dinner and acing every essay assignment. For a while. About November, even those perfectly-packed bento box lunches and origami napkins tend to fizzle out (replaced by fruit snacks and a bag of Cheetos) — along with best-laid plans to sustain an organized homework routine.
So what’s a parent to do? Transforming an area of your home into a designated study nook may be the answer. No matter the size of your home, with a little bit of elbow grease and creative thinking, you can build a private, focused place for kids to do their homework that they’ll actually enjoy.
Set the stage
Before you decide on where the study nook should be located in your house, think about what you’d like the space to accomplish. Then tailor the surroundings to accentuate your child’s strengths and encourage their productivity. You can design a picture-perfect learning center, but if it doesn’t lend itself to your children’s age, habits and learning style, it just won’t work.
Set your students up for success by adapting some of our suggestions below to your child’s strengths for their ultimate at-home “classroom.” Nobody knows your kids — or the optimal space in your home — better than you do!
Organize to thrive
Maybe your child is naturally organized, or perhaps they need a little extra help in that department. Regardless, incorporating storage into their study nook allows you to hide away items that aren’t in use, keeping everyone focused on the task at hand. If your study station is in a space with other uses (like the formal dining room), storage could take the form of a rolling cart that gets put away after the work is done.
Keep the atmosphere “lit”
Just like many adults work best under certain conditions, small tweaks to a child’s environment can make all the difference in their ability to focus and retain information. Consider lighting. Rather than using bright overheads, soften things up with a desk lamp. Your “mini-me”s may also enjoy music to help them get in the zone. Set up a Bluetooth speaker near their workspace, and jam out (quietly) to classical or instrumental tunes so they’re not distracted by lyrics. Light a candle (in a safe place) to add more ambience.
When homework is on the line, the fewer disruptions the better, especially for kids who are more easily distracted. Seek out an area of your home with low foot traffic, away from public areas like the kitchen or den. Finding a space tucked away from the hustle and bustle of home life may require some creative solutions. Large closets can be transformed by removing the doors to give a desk and bookshelf a built-in look. Or give your child a boost (literally) with a loft bed and place their desk underneath. You could even consider repurposing the unused space underneath stairs (Harry Potter-style) as a study nook.
Motivators gonna motivate
If “words of affirmation” is your child’s love language, incorporating positive reinforcement into their study space can set their brains into gear. Place a desk in an open corner to convert this into a homework nook where they can proudly display high test grades or works of art. Utilize wall space with a magnetic bulletin board, shelves and hanging organizers, peppering in some framed inspirational quotes to cheer them on.
The bottom line: Once you’ve chosen a spot for your home’s study nook, tweak the environment to bring out your kids’ strong points. It doesn’t have to be Pinterest-worthy, but it does need to work for you. Let the learning begin!