Creating Your Child’s Ideal “Home Office” for Distance Learning

By: Ann Koenig, Education Specialist

As students tackle distance learning during the coronavirus pandemic, they may find it hard to feel as though they’re in school when in fact they’re “working from home.”

One way parents can help? Create a dedicated office space for your child in which they will love to learn.

Ann Koenig, education specialist at Connecticut Children’s, joins the blog with step-by-step advice.

Choose a location with as few distractions as possible.

For best results, your child’s workspace should have a clean surface and few distractions.

  • A desk in a quiet room is ideal. When that’s not possible, look around your home for other areas where you can limit disruptive sights and sounds.
  • Even if you’re tight on space, think creatively about any underused areas in your home: A hallway, closet, landing or corner may be the perfect office nook.

Decorate the space.

If the child helps to design their workspace, he or she will have ownership of it. This is their office, and needs to be treated with respect.

  • Establish the space by turning it into a mini-cubicle: Make a three-sided cardboard partition out of file folders that sits on the table, surrounding your child.
  • Encourage your child to decorate their space in any way they choose, so they’ll look forward to spending time there.

Organize supplies.

Work with your child to fill their space with necessary, age-appropriate supplies. Here are some examples to start.

  • Cup filled with writing utensils: Turn this into an art project! Cover an empty, clean can with construction paper for your child to decorate.
  • Tray to organize markers, crayons, eraser, stapler and scissors: A plastic vegetable box, cardboard box, storage container or aluminum baking pan are all great options.
  • Writing paper: Have both lined and unlined paper available.

Include stress relievers.

Some kids can concentrate better when they’re allowed to fidget, or have soothing background noise.

  • Consider including a squishy ball, Rubik’s cube, Silly Putty or something else to keep their hands busy.
  • If your child is unable to sit in one place for a long time, try an exercise ball for a chair. You can also let your child know that it’s okay to stand while doing assignments.
  • If the workspace seems too quiet, relaxing, classical music sets the perfect tone. Just avoid turning on a television.
  • Bonus tip for parents: When helping your child with schoolwork, you should have your own stress ball in hand and let Google be your best friend!

> For more helpful resources, check out our Back to School Kit

Remember movement breaks and healthy snacks.

Don’t forget about the importance of movement and nutrition.

  • After working for 30 to 45 minutes, your child should leave the “office” to take a break, go outside if possible and engage in a physical activity. Weather not cooperating? Try these 23 Indoor Activities for Heart-Healthy Kids.
  • After the break – also known as recess! – your child should have a healthy snack and return to work.

Your child’s “home office” isn’t just great for distance learning. Even when schools reopen, this dedicated space can serve as their homework station, study zone and creative workplace – which will set them up for lots more academic success.

> Learn more about coronavirus

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