It’s “Back to School” time! What changes do you need to make to your home to accommodate the new academic year? Your children have grown in size, and their maturity level has grown as well. These changes may require a shift in the space for everyone because they have new educational needs.
This is an opportunity to talk with your children about their goals for the coming academic year and what they would like to achieve. This can lead to an interesting and fun discussion of what environment they need to succeed. (What do they need to work comfortably? How does that look and feel for them?)
Since this may be the first time they have ever reflected on this, it can be a learning experience for them to create a setting that works for them and helps them to achieve. It could lay the foundation for them to create awareness about their living space. They can realize they have control over their space.
The home environment is always a learning place but to formalize it as an extension of the classroom requires thought and a personalization of space to help your child reach peak performance.
As the parent, you might already have your own ideas and opinions. However, it’s empowering for children to be a part of creating their own functional and comfortable environments. Here are some sample questions:
- Where do you prefer doing your homework?
- Would you rather be in your own room, at the kitchen table/counter or in the family room?
- Would you rather sit on the floor or at a desk?
- Do you like to sit up or recline?
- Do you like to sit in a chair, sofa or bed?
- Do you like to work outside on the patio in nature?
- Do you need the phone close by?
- Do you need a computer?
- What is the best lighting for you?
- Do you need quiet or do you like to have the radio or TV on?
- Would you like to work in solitude or do you like having people around?
- Does music or a burning candle soothe you?
- What are your storage needs?
Even though you may not agree with your children’s answers, it is important to listen and be open to the different ways they may like to work. This can be a great time to teach children that their needs matter and can enhance their lives and productivity when acknowledged. Together you can come to an understanding that will work for you both.
This is also the time to note if your children have grown to the point of re-decorating their room. Do they need a bigger bed, more clothes storage, bookcases or areas to house their growing interests? Rooms can be designed to grow with your children.
Consider the permanent pieces of furniture and make them more neutral. Then you can be more creative and personal with the less expensive pieces such as bedding, window treatment, paint and accessories. These items can change easily as children grow.
Our environment influences us even when we don’t realize it. Here’s your opportunity to create an environment that is conducive to learning and to help your children feel comfortable and happy in their personal spaces.
As I always say, “Rooms have no feelings, YOU do!” and that’s true for your children’s rooms as well.