Design a Kid-Friendly Workspace

Create a special study spot that’s primed for productivity.

Jul 20, 2022




Jul 20, 2022

Creating a comfortable spot for your child to do their homework means carving out a place for them to focus, be creative, and develop good study habits

“Homework helps students set goals, build independence, and practice applying the knowledge they are gaining in the classroom,” says Karen Burke, SVP of Data Analysis and Academic Planning at Scholastic Education Solutions. “Similarly, a fixed place where students can do their homework can help create routines and build responsible behaviors.”

Whether you make it a family project or let your child decorate it themselves, there are a few pointers for creating a study spot that help ensure maximum learning potential. Here are four tips for creating a kid-friendly — but productive — workspace for your child.

1. Keep It Free of Distractions and Noise

If your child is easily distracted, a secluded, quiet spot is best. While soft music might be fine, TVs and tablets should be turned off — children often can’t resist becoming distracted by screens.

“Creating a designated space as a study area, and keeping it as focus-friendly as possible, can make all the difference,” says Karen Baicker, Executive Director of the Yale Child Study Center–Scholastic Collaborative for Child & Family Resilience, and Publisher for Family and Community Engagement (FACE) at Scholastic Education Solutions. 

2. Make Sure It’s Organized, Well-Lit, and Personal

Make sure the area is free of clutter and that other family members respect "homework time." For kids working at a common area, such as the kitchen table, bringing out the homework supplies is a great way to indicate that study time has begun.

Two essentials for your child’s workspace are a reasonably large work surface and comfortable seating. 

“This can be as simple as a screen-free area with a comfy spot to sit and a surface to write on,” Baicker says. 

Good lighting will ensure your child can read comfortably and doesn’t strain to see. A combination of ambient lighting, like a ceiling fixture, and task lighting, like a desk lamp, is ideal.

Finally, let your child take part in personalizing their study space so they’ll feel cozy and be less likely to think of homework as a chore. Your child might feel bolstered by having a favorite stuffed animal beside them to "help" study spelling words, for example.

3. Offer Easy Access to You

If your child is more comfortable working with other people around, choose a corner of the living room or kitchen. 

“Students in the elementary grades sometimes benefit from doing their homework at the kitchen table, or in a gathering room surrounded by family members or siblings doing their homework or perhaps preparing a meal,” says Burke.

Proximity allows you to answer your child’s questions easily — or offer a boost of self-esteem when confidence is flagging.

“It is helpful for family members to be available to answer questions and be supportive,” says Burke. Simple praise (“You are doing a great job answering those questions in complete sentences”) or talking through problems (“Read the question aloud and tell me what you think you need to do”) can go a long way toward empowering students.

“Our actions of being around and connected to the work demonstrate we believe what they are doing is important,” says Burke.

4. Add the Requisite Supplies (and Books)!

Once you've got the space and furniture covered, stock up on basic supplies. For younger children, purchase arts and crafts materials. For older children, include a dictionary and thesaurus and an atlas. Use jars to hold supplies, or stackable plastic cubes or even a shoebox for a more portable option.

If you have extra room, why not create a mini-library for your child’s enjoyment? This can be a mix of nonfiction texts relevant to their studies and fiction books or graphic novels they’re reading for class. Having a variety of books on hand for when your child wants to open one will ensure they stay engaged in reading.

Get ready for your child to go back to school with our guide — it's full of recommended books, teacher tips, homework help, and more resources for a successful school year.

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