Five Ways to Create a Productive Study Environment for Your Kids
Part Two of our Series: Studying for Success
By Melody Johnson, Curriculum Developer and Writer from Georgia
This guide can help your student boost their productivity, concentration, and test scores by implementing simple solutions for optimizing their study space. Here are some quick tips that your learner can use to create a productive study environment at home.
1. Good Room Lighting
Poor room lighting dulls our ability to concentrate fully on a task and makes it difficult for us to give a task our full attention. According to the University of Georgia, poor lighting can cause the brain to gather less information when studying. One way to improve lighting is to check the lumens (the measurement of brightness) of the light bulbs being used in your student’s study space. LED bulbs provide more light while using fewer watts of electricity. Using a side lamp in addition to the primary light source in the room is another great and cost-effective way to improve the amount and quality of light in your learner’s study environment. Some side lamps even have two lights, which is a double bonus!
2. Use Natural Light When Possible
Natural light does wonders for the brain and body, so if your students enjoy sitting next to a window with some sun coming through, study time is the perfect time to do so. Natural light not only increases their ability to concentrate on a task, it can also help them feel refreshed and energized even afterwards. That’s because natural light allows our bodies to take in melatonin, which helps regulate our internal clocks and allows us to sleep better at night. When your students are well-rested, they perform better in school and are able to concentrate more when studying.
3. A Comfortable Chair
Nothing is worse than sitting in an uncomfortable chair for hours. It is hard for students to concentrate when they’re experiencing discomfort. If students are working remotely, an office chair or desk chair with a more flexible backing is the ideal seating option, if one is available. Comfortable orthopedic seating is an excellent investment for any study space — if that option is available. When a new chair just isn’t an option, try using a chair cushion, which will lessen the amount of pressure that is placed on the lower back. This will allow students to study for longer periods of time. When engaged in simple activities, like reading, consider using alternative seating, such as sitting on a beanbag or lying on the floor with a few pillows.
4. Eliminate and/or Reduce Distractions
To eliminate distractions, students should go to a room that does not have a television. It is even better if you can go to a room that isn’t even near a television. If this is something that they can’t avoid, they should move as far away from the TV as possible, sit with their back facing the TV, and put in earplugs. If having the TV on is vital for some reason, closed captioning is a great compromise because it allows the viewer to continue to watch their program on mute or at a lower volume, so students can focus on studying.
Personal electronics, such as smartphones or tablets, are also common distractions. The bright screens, the notification, the alerts, and temptation caused by the fear of missing out can prevent someone from remaining focused on the task at hand. A great way to avoid these distractions is to put devices on “Do Not Disturb” mode, which will temporarily turn off any sounds, texts, and calls for a short time — just remember to turn that feature off once study time is over. Apps are a great way to encourage better study habits. “Stay Focused” can block websites at certain times to help students finish their work. The app “Forest: Stay Focused, Be Present” allows them to “grow” trees by focusing on the task at hand and not distractions, but if they close the application or go to a site on the blacklist their tree will wither and die.
Sometimes other people are a distraction, which can be tricky, especially for students. It’s best to establish clear boundaries pertaining to study time and understand that compromises might be necessary.
5. Clean the Study Area
Having a messy, disorganized space makes it more difficult to focus because it can create anxiety and even cause frustration, discomfort, or stress. When students are stressed out, it is harder for them to focus on the task. This will affects working memory and the ability to retain information. Before students start a study session, have them take a look around the room. If there are things out of place or out of order, students should put them away before beginning. Taking five to ten minutes to put things away, neatly stack papers, and remove any dirt or debris from their desk or table will help eliminate distractions and prevent potential frustrations. If their room is messy, encourage them to set aside some time to clean it. A tidy environment will put their mind at ease and make it easier for them to concentrate.
Implementing these five steps can create a productive study environment that establishes a foundation for academic success and improves concentration. All of these steps can be implemented in the classroom or at home, but depending on each student’s unique situation, some steps may be easier to implement than others. It is essential to keep working at this and keep trying new solutions, especially when circumstances and situations are fluid. Some spaces have limited natural light, and some have plenty of it, so adjust lighting accordingly each day, if possible. If working remotely, encourage your students to test the different chairs in their homes to see which work best for long or short periods of studying. Think about what distractions might occur in their study environment, which ones can be eliminated, and which ones can only be reduced. Have students take 10 to 15 minutes to tidy up their space every day, so it will only take them a few minutes to get organized before they start to study. No study environment is perfect, but with these five steps, you can help your students be more productive as they prepare to ace that next big test.
For more engaging studying tips that will boost achievement no matter where learning happens, download our guide!
Melody Johnson is a curriculum developer, educator, writer, lover of coffee hot or cold, reading, writing, and baking. She is a proclaimed supermom, combustible content creator, and aspiring future pet lover of two Sphinx cats or hermit crabs, old or young! Born a New Yorker, but living and loving the Southern life in Georgia, she is married, with three amazing kids. You’ll find them all curled up watching a fun cooking show rooting for the underdog or playing some extreme game of rock paper scissors or UNO in the kitchen! She is the CEO and Founder of Loving Literacy, a company dedicated to eliminate frustration to parents working remotely and being “teacher”, empowering children and boosting the self confidence of children with reading challenges. Reach out to Melody for a free lesson and free consultation on Twitter @lovelit01, Instagram@LoveLiteracy01 and Facebook Loving Literacy01.