How to Create the Ideal Space for Your Kids to Do Homework

How to Create the Ideal Space for Your Kids to Do Homework

Ten ways to make your child's workspace more conducive to finishing homework

Kids need a dedicated space to do their homework, whether it's in their rooms, a common room in the house, or at the dinner table. But if it seems like your kids find any excuse not to sit down and do their homework, it could be their workstation is lacking in the right light, the right inspiration, or even the right chair. These quick and easy fixes will get your kids to focus on their homework—and ensure it gets done.

“As parents, getting our kids to focus on homework can be a daily grind,” says Lisa Sugarman, a nationally syndicated opinion columnist and parenting expert. “But by creating a space that entices our kids to sit down and dig into their work, we’re setting them up for success without anyone kicking and screaming along the way. And that means less stress for us and for our kids.”

It’s very important to pick a quiet spot without any distractions like TV, devices of any sort, and toys. “Tell your kids that it’s their spot to do their work,” Sugarman says. “Giving your kids ownership of their homework area is a really big deal to a kid. Next, always make sure to help them get invested in the space by encouraging them to help shop for the items they’d like and then set it up and get it organized together.”

Now that you know why your kids need a dedicated homework station, read on as Annie Draddy, a professional organizer and co-founder of Henry & Higby, a professional organizing company in New York City, shares 10 ways to get your kids to actually sit down and get their work done—plus products that will help enhance their space. We promise that your kids will thank you later!

RELATED: Three Tips to Help Your Child with Homework
     

Make the workspace appealing.

Once you’ve carved out a room or space in your home that works for your child and is intended just for homework, make it aesthetically pleasing by adding decorative items such as a colorful accent rug, bookends, and a funky desk lamp that matches their personality. “It doesn’t matter if this spot is in a communal room of the home or a desk in their own room, provided it feels personal to them,” Draddy says. “Ultimately, the goal is to get them to work in a proper set-up with a table and chair instead of doing their homework on the couch. This way they establish good habits and can properly work on their handwriting and other skills.”

Desk Pick:  Kids Navy Blue Campaign Desk, $399
     

Select a good desk chair.

The goal here: to select a desk chair that’s as comfortable as it is supportive. “You don’t want a lousy chair to be the reason that your kids are doing their homework in front of the TV,” Draddy says.

Chair Picks:  Rockin’ Roller Desk Chair, $149; or Wal-Mart Urban Shop Swivel Mesh Chair, $39.99
     

Make it easy to keep a shipshape desk.

Although it may seem obvious, keeping a trash or recycling can near your child’s desk is a win-win. “Not only will this encourage him to throw out old papers, but also—perhaps with a little coaxing—purge the garbage from his backpack on a regular basis,” Draddy says. Bonus points if you encourage your child to routinely empty that trash on her own as part of her chores.

Trashcan Pick: Pink or Gray Trash Can, $29
    

Post important notices.

By hanging up a corkboard for your kids to pin papers, reminders, and a calendar, you’re keeping important information within sight. “This is a space that should be within reach of their desk so they can easily add/remove important items on a regular basis,” Draddy says. “It can also give them a chance to decorate and personalize their space—and maybe even sketch out a dream board, which will hopefully inspire them to keep using it!”

Corkboard Pick:  Zig Zag Cork Board, $12.99
    

Keep supplies close at hand.

Stowing supplies within reach of your child’s desk is one of the biggest keys to your kid’s productivity. “There needn’t be twelve trips around the house looking for the tools they need to complete each project,” Draddy says. It’s easy: Just keep pens, pencils, erasers, Post-Its, highlighters, three-ring binder paper, graph paper, rulers, and a pencil sharpener within easy reach. “If desk space is an issue, consider making your own mobile supply station that can be easily wheeled in and out of the space when it’s homework time,” she says. “A version of this caddy can also be made for the road if your children won’t always be home when it comes time for homework.”

Caddy Pick: Acrylic Accessory Drawers, $12.99-$13.99 
      

Embrace your label maker.

It’s time to dust off your label maker and use it to help your kids stay organized. “Label everything on your supply containers/caddy,” Draddy says, adding that this includes recent tests, papers, and assignment sheets as well as bins containing supplies. “This will help teach your children how to maintain their space and hopefully put an end to the continuing cycle of them asking where to put their supplies when they are done with their homework,” Draddy adds.

Label Picks: Simply Remarkable Reusable Chalk Labels, $9.95 or Brother P-Touch PTD 210 Easy-to-Use Label Maker, $24.99
     

Corral those cords.

As your kids get older, homework will often require the use of technology, whether that’s a laptop, iPad, or other plug-ins, all of which means cord and charging chaos. “Keep your kids’ homework space tidy from the cord clutter by using some of those ingenious products and hacks to help cables stay neat and handy for when it’s time to plug in and charge,” Draddy says.

Cord Storage Pick: Cable Twisters, $9.99
     

Time it right.

If assignments need to be timed, give your kids the tools to manage their own time by keeping a clock or timer on their workspace. “Setting time limits for each subject can help them stay on track,” Draddy says. “This is a life skill that will bode them well in life after school, too.” 

Timer Pick: Time Timer Original 8 Inch, 60 Minute Visual Analog Timer, $24.99
     

Encourage color-coding.

Color-coded file folders can be vital to keeping organized. Encourage your child to stow all science papers in a green folder, English compositions in their blue folder, French worksheets in a red folder, and so on. “This helps kids keep their notes organized whether on their desk or in their book bag,” Draddy says.

Color-Coded File Pick: White, Pool Blue + Aqua Letter Size File Folders, $15
      

Behold the power of the in-box.

With school comes tons of assignments and papers that need to stay organized. “Consider setting up an ‘in’ and ‘out’ bin where your kids can put assignments that need to be done and others that are already completed,” Draddy says. “This makes it easier to remember that everything in the ‘out’ bin needs to be packed in their backpacks and returned to school the next day.” For papers your kids want to keep for future nostalgia, consider keeping these in bins. By doing this, your house will stay streamlined too.

Storage Picks:  Artists Loft Studio Portfolio, $42.99; or Archival Album & Scrapbook Storage Box, $17.99

RELATED: How Much Should You Help Your Child with Homework?