According to our latest Instagram poll, the majority of your kids are attending school virtually this year, at least to start. None of us have ever had a Back-To-School season quite like this, and we know you’re feeling nervous, excited, stressed, and hopeful.
One of the things that can make this process a whole lot easier is having a designated space at home that supports & facilitates learning. So we teamed up with our partners at Colder’s to bring you five tips for setting up your child’s at-home virtual learning space.
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1. Choose location wisely.
Not all locations are created equal for a virtual learning space. Here are some tips to consider when choosing your space:
- Create more than one space: Consider setting up a few different spaces for different types of learning: a desk for focused work, a larger table for projects, and a quiet nook for reading. Kids (and adults) work best with a change of scenery every now and then.
- Put them where the action is: Most kids want to be “where the action is” in a home. They’ll be closer to you, so you can help them stay on task and answer questions.
- Get creative: Consider converting a rarely-used dining room into a learning space. If you don’t have an extra room in your house, add a small table in the living room, designate a corner in the kitchen, or repurpose a forgotten nook or closet. Even the floor (with a wall acting as back support) is an option if space is limited. Use a tray table with legs to give your child a hard writing surface.
- Set up a reading nook: A reading nook doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as throw pillows in a corner of the room near a window or lamp.
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- Ensure access to outlets: Make sure the workspace has access to outlets for the devices and chargers your kids will be using.
2. Light up the space.
Make sure the space is well lit with as much natural light as possible. If they’re not near a window, add a task lamp with an LED bulb to reduce eyestrain. Shop lamps at Colder’s >>
Pro Tip: The lamp should be placed opposite the dominant hand, so that hand shadows don’t streak across the work being done. If you’re right-handed, this means placing the lamp on the left side of your desk.
3. Keep it organized & contained.
Put their supplies, headphones, and a water bottle in a labeled basket or container. This will provide a sense of ownership to their space. Use clear and open containers if possible. If desktop space is limited, install shelves or a pegboard near the workspace. If you’re living in tight quarters, pack a caddy or a rolling cart with supplies and store it away.
4. Support their posture.
When doing focused writing work, your child’s desk should be at or slightly below resting elbow height, and their feet should be able to reach the floor. Adjustable or kid-size tables and chairs are optimal, but if you don’t have that, you can use pillows on the seat and back of the chair, and a box on the floor to support their feet & legs.
Pro Tip: For Zoom meetings, place the laptop monitor on a stack of books to prevent strained neck muscles.
5. Minimize distractions.
Distractions are aplenty at home. Here are some tips to keep them at bay:
- Provide a physical barrier: If you have more than one child, separate their desks with a tall bookshelf, tabletop screens, tri-fold boards, or cardboard. Keep babies and toddlers away with a baby gate if possible.
- Use white noise: Use a white-noise machine or a fan to drown out background sound if necessary.
- Blast the classical music: Purchase noise-canceling headphones and encourage your child to listen to instrumental or classical music, since music with lyrics can interfere with concentration.
- Location matters: For a child with attention difficulties, orient their workspace so that she faces a wall rather than into a room or out a window.
- Use an exercise ball: Consider an exercise ball for a child who has trouble sitting still.
Shop local for desks, throw pillows, lamps, and more at Colder’s. Save an extra 10% when you use code MKEWKIDS now through September 10th.