Sometimes, where you study is just as important as what you study. The context in which your child studies will influence how they remember that information. Most of us know this because we have tried to study in a loud café, at a relative’s house during a holiday, or while a roommate is practicing guitar. Some study sessions are more effective than others.
The good news is that you and your child can have a lot of control over where they choose to study. Wherever you live, wherever your kids tend to study, consider these tips for creating the best study space out of your environment.
- Pick one place, and like it
Designate one room or area as a study space, and over time your child’s brain will catch on. They will enter “study-mode” sooner upon entering the space, which is valuable before tests or when they are crunched for time.
- Recreate their environment
“Context-dependent learning” means that students will remember something more in the place where it was first learned. So, if they studied in a classroom with big windows, they will recall information best in that same or very similar classroom. This means that their study space at home should evoke the same atmosphere as where they will be tested. Obviously, you can’t stage your home with desks or add extra windows, but you can make a similar environment by regulating the temperature, smells and noises.
- Let them get comfortable, but not too comfortable
Professional writers who work from home have a lot to say about comfort, and their advice is usually contradictory. Your child should enjoy the place where they study, be comfortable, but not too relaxed. If studying on the weekend, have them change out of their pajamas before they crack the books open. This gives their mind a signal that it isn’t lounge time, but study time.
- Look for natural light
Humans love natural light. It can make or break a space, and anyone who has worked under fluorescents for nine hours a day knows this. Even a little natural light reflected off a hallway mirror can bring warmth and vitality to a room. This is necessary for making a healthy study space.
- Diminish distractions
If your child has a phone, tell them to turn it off. Don’t have them put it in their pocket. Don’t just turn it over. Turn it OFF. When studying, a phone can be the biggest interruption. Just knowing it’s there and that texts or Instagram “likes” might be coming through will be distracting. Switching it off can be mentally liberating.
- Add some plants
It has been proven by NASA that certain houseplants improve indoor air quality. Also, having something green and alive makes a study space more serene. Get a low-maintenance houseplant, like an aloe or snake plant. This can make the environment more peaceful and make it easier to breathe.
- Keep it positive
Studying has a lot of negative implications, but it shouldn’t. Studying is just another word for learning. Remind your kids that studying is a good thing, that it will help them in a future career, which is exciting. They can bring this positivity into their study space by putting up family photos, or quotes from their favorite book. Unless they thrive on clutter, have them tidy up their study space regularly. Also, reward them because as good as studying is, it’s work and they’ve earned it!