As the school year settles in, it’s important to provide your little ones with a space to complete their assignments, attend virtual class, and do homework. Creating a distraction-free area that is both comfortable and functional will set your kids up for success this (virtual) school year.
Invest in an Organized Space
This might seem like a no-brainer, but as kids begin to work through their classes, you’ll find that the arts and crafts need to be separated from the multiplication tables. The more cluttered their space is, the harder it will be for them to focus on their assignments.
Invest in storage containers and folders for each subject. Reuse shoe boxes or the pile of Amazon boxes from when you ordered supplies (no shame!) and label them appropriately. High-use items like pencils and notebooks should be easily accessible while craft supplies and textbooks can be set aside. Other great storage options include buckets, baskets, bookshelves, and desks with a set of drawers.
Make sure to invest in other storage options, such as shelves or a bulletin board to hang artwork, place important homework assignments, and positive reminders. This gets it out of the way without making it out of mind. White boards are also a great way to make note of assignment due dates, project reminders, and test dates.
Ever sit on your bed for too long and stand up to realize your back is sore? Creating a workplace where your kids have good posture is important to prevent those kinds of aches and pains that can turn into long term problems.
Try to avoid letting your kids attend their virtual classes on their beds, on the couch, or from the floor. While it might be convenient for them to plop down on the living room rug, in the long run they need to be able to sit up and do work without having to manipulate their bodies into strange shapes.
A few key things to keep in mind when you are setting up the space are to make sure your kids feet are able to touch the ground when they are sitting in their chair. The desk or table they are working on should be about the height of their arms bent in a 90 degree angle to allow them to type without bending their wrists or hunching over. The seat should not be so deep that your kids have to sit all the way forward to place their feet on the floor.
Mom Pro-Tip: Use pillows to improve posture by placing them behind your kid’s back.
Block Distractions (as much as possible)
We know that kids can find things to distract them pretty much anywhere. Creating a space that is “distraction free” is nearly impossible for most younger kids, but removing major distractions is important when it comes to helping them focus.
If you are creating a workspace in an open room where your kids will not be facing a wall, create a trifold using cardboard to place in a small box around your kid’s workspace. You can easily decorate this to make it into a fun classroom themed trifold and add pins to let your kids hang their homework and assignments. If you are creating a workspace in a corner or up against a wall, you can set up walls next to them using cardboard or bookshelves next to their desk.
For parents with multiple children, make sure each has their own space that is divided from their siblings. Not only will this prevent accidental homework swaps, but it will also allow them to stay better focused on the screen directly in front of them rather than drifting off to watch their brother’s science lesson. You can do this by separating them into different rooms or setting them up with their own tri fold divider. If noise is an issue, invest in a white noise machine or sound–blocking headphones to create a quiet environment to study and work.
Get Your Kids Involved
Letting your kids decide where the pencils go and how they want to label their folders is a great way to get them acclimated to their new virtual classroom environment. Think of this like customizing your office space at work. By involving them in the process of setting up their workstation, they have a better idea of where their supplies are and will feel more comfortable.
Virtual learning environments can be a great outlet for your kids creativity. Without traditional limits on what they can do with their desks, you are able to give your kids a completely customizable space that fits their habits and needs best. Fidgety little ones can have a small bin of fidget toys or exercise ball seats while kids who struggle with organization can have color coded folders and bins for every subject.
This year looks like no other school year parents, kids, and teachers have experienced before. It comes with extra stress and overlapping workloads. Do not place unnecessary pressure on yourself to create the perfect environment for your kids. As long as they are able to learn and complete their work, you are winning. Remember to breathe because we are getting through this together!