7 tips for creating a child's study nook

And just like that summer is over and the kids are back at school.

They're growing up fast and it's time to tackle homework.

Whether you're starting small with phonetics or you have an older child with a substantial homework load, it's important to create a calm space for them to study.

child_study_area

But sometimes, there's not much space. 
What do you do if you don't have room for a study?

With some smart design and the right furniture, you can create a workable study nook for your child almost anywhere.

Here are 7 tips to consider when creating a study corner for your child.

Finding the space for study

T​he first consideration is where to create the homework station.

There are two main factors to think through.

Firstly, where do you have the space?

Take a look around your apartment for any unused corners. Think about how you could re-organize your current layout to make room for a child's desk.

Often parents put childrens' desks into bedrooms, which is where you might be able to more easily make room, especially if you clear out some toys! For older children, a raised bed with a study nook underneath really optimizes small spaces.

under_bed_study

While bedrooms are a quieter, more private study environment, small children might be more distracted by the toys and things around them. And bedrooms are not a good option if the kids share a room and there's trouble enough trying to fit multiple beds in, let alone a desk!

Another major consideration is your child's personal disposition.

Where would they learn best?

Some kids prefer their room, where they can shut the door and concentrate, but others can find it isolating. Some children are comforted being in the central ebb and flow of the home.

If your child is reluctant to do homework, you might want to be close by to answer questions and encourage them. In that case, a better option could be to make a homework station in the shared space of the house.

kitchen study nook
Image credit: Australian Design Review
S​o consider the practical layout of your home, your routine and also your child's learning style to decide what would be the best use of space.

 

 Study nook with blue chair

Image credit: Chris Warnes

Creating calm

Wherever you pick, you want to establish an environment of calm and concentration. If it's going to be in common living space, try to make a 'study bubble', perhaps with lighting and/or sound.

If you can't partition off distraction, position the child so that their back is facing the action. Put any TVs in the background on mute (or make the viewers wear headphones), make sure any loud games siblings may be involved in is going on elsewhere!

This little study nook that Medina from @grillo_designs created for her son is just perfect

grillo_designsImage: @grillo_designs instagram

Creating routine

The Child Mind Institute advises that establishing routine is important for children. Creating a dedicated study nook for your child helps create the routine of sitting down, in the same spot every day, to work. Try stick to a regular time of day as well.

 

 scandi study area

Image credit: Pernille Kaalund
T​his will depend on your schedule as a family, but also take into account your child's preferences. Some children like to do their homework shortly after arriving home while they are still in 'school mode'. Others like to take a long break and get into homework later when they are fresher, after a shower or dinner.

C​reating a routine with an inviting study corner and set time to study, makes it easier to habitualize and commit to learning.

Motivate your child

O​nce upon a time before Netflix, it was easier to commit to homework because there wasn't 24/7 fun accessable at the swipe of a screen. 'Entertainment' was often an hour or two of kid's TV programming that wrapped up with Alex Mack.

If your child is lacking motivation, use rewards. Postpone screen-time until homework is completed. While it's technology creates distraction, it can also empower you as a parent, since kids are no longer committed to that 4-5 block of children's programming- TV and games can wait.

Perhaps you could also bring some Scandi hygge into the equation. 20 minutes of reading a day is so much more fun with a cup of hot chocolate, cozied up on the couch with a blanket!

Furniture at child's height

Consider comfortable, ergonomic furniture solutions for kids' study nooks.
Everything should fit their height. Sometimes we forget, so be sure to wait until they get home from school before you install that brand new floating desk!
Wait for them to sit in the chairs or try out desk heights, before purchasing anything.
Ubransize floating desk
Image credit: Urbansize
Floating desks are fully adjustable to your child's height. Since they are growing, this is a great investment which will see you through the years.
I​f you go for a conventional desk, make sure the height of the chair matches the desk so that they are sitting comfortably. If their feet don't touch the ground, consider a footrest to keep their back properly aligned.
For small children, a stool is fine, since they won't be sitting for long. When space is tight, a stool is a great option, especially when teamed with a floating desk, as it can tuck away completely under the desk.

 

Floating desks are great for study nooks in common areas of the house since they take up such little space! It makes it much easier to find a spot for a homework nook.

A desk should be big enough  to do homework comfortably, but not so spacious as to become a dumping ground for unwieldy art projects or Lego builds. Impose order that the study nook is just for homework and Lego and craft extravaganzas happen elsewhere.

Study lamps

It's so important that your child is not straining their eyes.
While office corners should be near a window for natural light, this is less of an imperative for children' study nooks as they will likely be using the space after dark.
Girl at desk with study lamp
Image credit: Alt om Indretning
Excellent artificial light sources are more important.
A​ simple and affordable solution is a desk lamp, although you can play with the design of the space with fun lamp designs or multiple light sources - just make sure that when night falls, the space is well lit.

Make it personal

T​he trick to creating a study space the kids will want to use is balancing calming and focused design elements, with something personal. This should not be a classroom. Neither should it be an adult home office. You don't need to use bold colours to make it fun, but you can, with some restraint. This bright yet calming space by Sarah Akwisombe creates the perfect balance for her child to study in her bedroom.
sarah_akwisombe

 

S​ticking to light, white tones is not only, clean, calm and focused, but a neutral backdrop you can spruce up with some more personal elements that can change over time as your child grows.

Source some alphabet artwork. Or frame your child's work. Corkboards are handy to pin the latest achievement - a great test paper, dinosaur drawing, or even just their school schedule.

 

girl at desk with calander and alphabet

Image credit: Wolf and Friends
K​eep it simple and try stay clear of generic office supply stores for posters.
P​erhaps you might have a long desk or bench to accommodate multiple kids. If so, think about how you can personalise it for each child, even if it's just with their own stationery, a homemade place-mat or a beloved figurine that signals their spot.
Girl at desk in bedroom
Image credit: Kids Room Ideas

Get organized

A mug or caddy in easy reach, stocked with plenty of sharp pencils makes it quick to get down to work. No excuses. Fill a crate with all the supplies they need like a calculator, tape or dictionary. Or a calendar on hand to keep track of assignments.

When they have a lot of work, help them to make a plan to break it down into chunks. Start a homework session by checking in with your child. What assignments do they have and how long do they think it will take them? If they have a lot to do, talk through priorities and deadlines. As children get older, homework is not just about reinforcement, but also learning planning skills they will need in higher education.
If possible, purchase a desk with a drawer. A drawer is enough to tuck away necessary items once homework is done. If the desktop is clear and it's in a common space, you could even re-purpose the desk while they are at school during the day, for some of your own quick tasks. The drawer could also house your laptop or tablet.

T​here are many ways to create a study corner for your child in small spaces.

Starting early, before the demands of higher grades hit, helps your child develop healthy study habits.
Even if you live in a tiny apartment, it's possible to prioritise learning at home and make some space for it with flexible furniture solutions like floating desks.
The key guiding principle in designing a study nook for your child is how and where they learn best.
Make the space personal to them, but also an appropriate learning environment, striking a balance between the frivolity of their bedroom and the seriousness of an office or classroom.
Pick favourite book covers as artwork or hang your child's own work to make the space all about them.

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