It looks like the pandemic and its accompanying effects on work and home life are going be here a while, so both citizens and businesses are gearing up for the long haul that is the “new normal.”
Many companies, for example, have asked their employees to work remotely. While both (some) state and the federal governments, are pushing to reopen schools and get kids back in classrooms, surges of new cases in schools are pointing to distance learning being part of the new normal.
Schools, students and their parents have adapted to these changes with online classes and using learning management systems specifically built for distance learning. But aside from these, the home itself should be conducive to learning.
How do you build a home environment that’s ideal for studying? It’s not just a matter of redecorating or rearranging your space to give your child the learning space they need– most homes and apartments might not have the space to begin with. So what’s a busy homeowner to do?
Here are some tips based on the techniques that builders and design and construction companies have used to create comfortable learning and/or working spaces at home.
We know lighting affects mood, but studies have also shown that it affects work and academic performance. One study showed increased performance for students when the lighting is appropriate for the activity:
- LED lighting with CCTs of 3500k or “warm” lighting for relaxation (break times)
- LEDs with 5000k CCTs (standard) are best for reading activities
- 6500k CCTs or cool colors are ideal for what the researchers call “intensive academic activities,” or school activities that require the most concentration: tests, research, etc.
Your kid might need to have a light on for many hours during the day, so it’s best if you can save on your electricity bill by using power-efficient bulbs. If you want to save money further, you can increase the amount of natural light coming in through your windows or doors, which have also been shown to help with managing stress and anxiety.
Peace and Quiet
It is important for your child to have no distractions in order for them to focus on their lessons better. If they find themselves complaining about noise, it’s likely to interfere with their performance at school.
Popular Mechanics has some advice about how to minimize the sound in a room:
- Adding carpets to your floors can help absorb noise, as will thick curtains
- Door weather stripping around the perimeter of a door will help keep noises out
- Hard, flat surfaces can bounce and amplify sounds, so putting up soft wall and floor covering like thick curtains and carpets can help
- For better sound dampening, consider investing in sound-absorbing wall panels and thick foam
Comfort and Ergonomics
If your child is going to be in front of a screen for school AND in their free time (video games, Netflix, etc) you have to consider the ergonomics of where they spend hours on end. Bad posture while studying could lead to chronic conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or back and neck pain if left unchecked.
Investing in an ergonomic chair or a standing desk can work wonders for your child’s posture and health. Also, dedicating a chair for study use helps to establish a routine for school, which can help the line between school and home life are blurred.
You can make your home a pleasant learning haven by making a few adjustments. It might require a bit of an investment, but it should be worth it if it helps your child to perform well in challenging circumstances. You could be looking at a long-term period of classes being conducted online, so you and everyone in your family may as well get comfortable.