Creating the Optimal Homework HQ for Your Child’s Bedroom
Your child will thank you for how productive they'll be in their new study space
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A designated study space is essential to your child’s success in school, no matter what age they are.
In fact, psychologists strongly recommend against studying in bed because it limits focus, decreases positivity, and hurts our ability to get a good night’s sleep, all because we associate our bed with relaxation and sweet dreams.
To prevent stunting your child’s education, create their very own “homework headquarters,” so that they can get their homework and studying done effectively.
In this article, we’ll guide you through:
- Study space must-haves: Your baseline shopping list
- Tips on buying and building: A little help for your wallet
- Organizational methods: Because studying should be clutter-free
Must-Have Items for Your Child’s Study Space
For this room makeover project, you don’t need to buy anything insanely expensive or high-tech for them to succeed. Here are a few of the most basic and necessary components for your child’s study space.
The Desk: Where It All Goes Down
Keeping in mind the fact that beds foster poor studying and relaxation, a desk is generally a non-negotiable when it comes to creating your child’s study space.
When you’re selecting the desk, consider the space you’re working with. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind:
- Which wall is optimal to position the desk against?
- How long or wide of a desk can you have?
- Does your child need organizational drawers in the desk?
- Or, do you already have organizing systems, or space for a separate organizer?
Natural Lighting: Good for More Than Just Selfies
Natural lighting is one of the best ways to keep your child focused and energized. It is also the least harsh on the eyes, unlike many lighting fixtures. (And if your child already does a lot of schoolwork by looking at a laptop or tablet’s eye-straining blue light for a long time, this is important!)
Once you’ve got the desk in the room, consider positioning it to get the optimal natural light flow to the surface of the desk.
Outside-the-window distractions are also worth considering when you position the desk. If your child tends to get distracted easily, and you want to position the desk in front of the window that gives a view of the busy street, then consider rotating the desk to be perpendicular rather than parallel to the window, for example.
Light Fixtures: Easy on the Eyes
Although you’ll want to discourage your child from studying too late into the night, they won’t always have natural lighting to rely on—whether that’s because they got home late from their sports game, or it’s wintertime, and the daylight is shorter.
Consider adding a few simple light fixtures such as a desk lamp or floor lamp to brighten the surface of the desk.
As a general rule, opt for 40 to 60-watt light bulbs for tasks such as reading or writing, a 60-watt light bulb for computer-oriented tasks, and 60 to 80-watt light bulbs for detail-oriented tasks.
Also, avoid cool, fluorescent lights that strain your eyes and make you feel tired. It’s best to opt for warm halogen bulbs to avoid this eye strain.
Desk Chair: Align that Spine
It is speculated that children’s postural systems mature at the young age range of 7 to 10, so getting a desk chair that is ideal for your child’s posture is essential to both their health and productivity.
A great way to help your child’s posture—especially if they’ve had their share of slouching—is to invest in an ergonomic chair that supports blood flow and spinal alignment.
Or, if you already have a chair and don’t mind how it looks, you can always invest in cushions or padding made specifically for alignment. These add-ons simply sit on the chair.
School Supplies: Less is More
Of course, for a study space, you need school supplies.
But when it comes to this section, remember that less is more!
When you’re decking out your child’s study space, don’t feel obligated to deck it out with brand-new supplies. Sturdy folders, thick binders, and half-used notebooks from previous school years can always be reused.
If you do opt for new school supplies, try going for quality items that will last a long time (are you seeing a pattern in our recommendations, here?). Great options include sturdy mechanical pencils, that you can simply refill with lead, and even erasable notebooks. Yeah, you heard that right!
Notebooks such as the Rocketbook can be written on over and over again with their reusable pen—and once your child is done, they can simply take a picture of it with a smartphone or tablet to have the images of their notes saved. How cool is that?
Calendars: Instilling Good Habits
A great final touch to set your child up for success is a calendar or agenda (or both!).
You can place a wall calendar or reusable dry-erase calendar above (or near) your child’s desk and encourage them to fill out the dates with any upcoming assignments, projects, or extracurriculars. If your child is organization-averse, then you can always opt for a themed calendar with pictures of something they’re interested in or give them different colors of dry erase markers.
After showing them how to navigate and effectively use a calendar, you can be confident that you are setting your child up for success.
Tips on Buying and Building Study Items for Your Child
A home-makeover, especially one that involves purchasing big furniture items, can be intimidating. But, not to fear! Here are a few tips on buying and building items for your child.
Buy for Longevity, Not for Their Current Age
When you’re buying furniture, remember this simple piece of advice: buy for longevity, not for their age.
Although it might seem like you don’t care, try to avoid prioritizing your child’s ever-changing style when you’re buying big pieces of furniture. In other words, if you have an eight year old, avoid the pastel pink or castle-shaped desk.
Even though you might not want to think about your kid growing up, remember that they will likely grow out of these aesthetics and will be begging you—“I’m not a baby anymore!”—to replace the furniture.
When you’re considering furniture, choose simple, quality pieces that will last for a long time in both looks and material.
At the same time, you don’t have to turn your child’s room into an “adult-feeling” space—you can always add flair and trends to your child’s room with a few decorations, which are less expensive than big furniture items.
Your kid and your wallet will thank you later for it.
Shop Vintage or Secondhand
A great way to find quality furniture pieces is to shop at your local vintage furniture store or online secondhand marketplace.
If you already have a certain model of furniture in mind, try to see if anyone in your area is reselling the same thing. Or, if you’re not tied to a brand, browsing your vintage and secondhand options is a great way to find unique pieces that will last you a long time.
Buying vintage or secondhand not only gives character to your child’s room, but it will also save you money.
Building Furniture: A Bonding Experience
Whether you DIY from scratch or follow along with an IKEA manual, building furniture is a great opportunity to bond with your child and give them a sense of accomplishment and pride in their study space—which will help reinforce the importance of studying.
Also, when you’re a parent, you’re not thanked a lot for your duties, so you can ease the stress of creating a study space for your child by not taking the tasks so seriously and having a little fun building or assembling a piece of furniture.
Clean up, Clean up: Organizational Methods to Keep Things Tidy
Declutter Before You Get Started
Are you dreading the mess that will swallow up all your hard work in your child’s room?
The best approach is to declutter before you start any of your work. That way, you’ll get all the hard work done first and leave the rest of your time for the fun stuff—furniture, decor, and DIY.
Need help on decluttering? Check out our article on how to get started.
Tuck Away Tech
It’s likely that your child will have some sort of technology in their study space, whether it be a speaker for their study playlist, a computer, or just their phone.
If your young child has issues focusing, consider making their study space a “tech-free zone” so that they can spend an hour or so really focusing on their homework in order to build habits.
Or if they are more independent, consider a tech organization system like a cable box to streamline their cords and reduce mess.
Bye bye messy cords! Check out a cable management system like this one offered by Blue Lounge. You can’t even tell that cords are stored in there! Image courtesy of Blue Lounge.
The less messy your child’s space, the more productive they can be.
Overall: Keep It Simple!
When you’re doing any room-makeover, keep it simple, and go slowly. You don’t have to buy everything at once, nor do you have to buy the fanciest items! If you keep it simple and stick to your means, then your makeover is sure to be rewarding.