From September to June your coffee/kitchen/dining room table doubles as homework headquarters. And while you’re happy to see your kids put their noses to the grindstone, the mess it creates leaves much to be desired – paper piles, pen marks, and the occasional sticky aftermath of an art project gone awry can really put a damper on dinnertime.
There’s no need to sacrifice your favorite furniture pieces in the name of education! Give the afterschool mess its own home by creating a super cool kid’s homework station.
Got little ones who need copious amounts of homework help? Keeping the work station downstairs means you can multitask while still being within reach for the occasional question. Devote a corner of the living room or dining room. Better yet, convert an unused closet into a work area –you can shut the doors to hide the mess when it’s not in use.
Older students may want more quiet and privacy. If that’s the case, add a work area in their bedroom, or consider building a homework space in the attic or the basement.
The elements of a great work area include:
- A comfortable chair and a great work surface. Don’t feel compelled to invest in a desk. A work space with multiple drawers can actually be a path to clutter–especially with little ones. Often, a simple table and chair set will do the trick. Looking for something less permanent? Invest in a table that you can fold up and tuck away at the end of the day.
- Organization. Most kids aren’t pros at keeping their belongings in order (re: your daughter’s closet). Give them a helping hand by stocking their workstation with plenty of organizational items: baskets, file folders and plenty of plastic storage bins. If you don’t have loads of space, invest in items like stackable bins, rollaway carts with multiple baskets and wall-mounted organizers. As a final touch, keep clutter at bay (and make a valiant attempt to avoid the inevitable, “Mom I can’t find my______” conversations ) by giving each basket and box its very own label.
- Shelving. These are a must for keeping art supplies, textbooks and other odds and ends up and out of the way. You can opt for wall shelving or bookcases – just make sure whatever you choose is reachable by little hands.
- A bulletin board or a magnetic chalkboard. This is the spot to display achievements, make a to-do list and hang homework reminders.
- The little extras. Very few kids put homework at the top of their list of things they love to do. Make the experience a little bit more enjoyable by painting their work station a pretty color, putting up an inspirational poster or adding an iPod dock so they can throw on some tunes and “whistle while they work.”
Keep in mind…
As you plan your child’s work station, keep in mind you’ll want to leave some room to grow (it happens so fast!). Don’t invest in pieces that feel child-like if your little one is on the verge of her tween years.
It’s also important to take this as an opportunity to collaborate with your child. The more involved they are in the design process, the more excited they’ll be to use the end product. This is an especially good tactic for kids who aren’t jazzed about sitting down to do homework in the first place.
Have you designed a kid’s work station in your own home? Tell us about it in the space below!