Choose a room
This is a controversial one: although kids, will be keen to be in their bedroom, this is almost the worst place they can be – they are unsupervised, and surrounded by tempting distractions. Some families use the kitchen as the homework space, which can work well as you’re on hand to give advice if it’s needed; others prefer to base their children in a quiet, unoccupied room. Make the decision based on how easily distracted your child gets, and try to decide together.
Stock their space
Take your kid shopping before you build the space so they can choose items that will make homework at least a little bit more appealing.
It’s vital to minimise electronic distractions: mobile phones should be off, as should radio and TV (blaring hip hop does not help them get ‘in the zone’). Younger kids are less likely to need to type their homework, but if you’ve got teenagers and they’re writing essays, disconnect the internet. Should it be necessary for research, make sure they don’t go on Facebook or MSN Messenger.
Make sure the area your little learner is working in is well lit. Not only will it save their eyesight and prevent headaches, but it will also help to keep them alert.
Some people function better when they’re away from a desk: lying on the floor or sitting on the sofa can be fine if they’re doing background reading or research.
Build up a routine so that the space becomes a regularly utilised spot. If your child spends roughly the same amount of time there every day, at a designated time, it will feel less of a big deal and more like a regular part of their everyday life.
Popping into the room at regular intervals with trays of carrot sticks and jugs of juice is a nice thought, but it will be just as distracting as the TV – and 10 times more irritating. However, breaks are important, especially if they’re revising. Encourage them to get away from the homework area for five minutes after every half-hour of study, preferably in the fresh air, and they’ll return to studying refreshed and ready for more.