Growing Up At Home: Back to School!
Your kids are growing quickly and that means assessing their bedroom for better studying and creating. Here are tips for getting that done.
School is a big deal when you’re a kid. Every new grade is another step toward Growing Up.
I remember the summer I was 12. A little movie called Stand By Me was released about a bunch of boys my age, all about to go into the eighth grade, and the last adventure they had before that eighth-grade rite of passage.
That narrator was right, there are no friendships like those we have when we’re kids. There are no big momentous days we all relate to like “the first day back to school.”
This year, why not have a chat with your kids to see if they have practical ideas for how to embark on a new school year with great promise? Take time with them to assess their “work space” at home. Help them organize a work space they’ll enjoy spending time in, which in turn might increase their success.
Shelves and cubbies
Do they have enough storage? Forget the whole “cluttered desk is a cluttered mind” maxim. It’s worse than that. A cluttered desk is frickin’ annoying! It’s distracting! It’s just no fun.
See if there’s anything they can get rid of from when they were too young or is broken. You know the drill — declutter that space!
There are all kinds of fun shelves to install in a kid’s room. Think old snowboards, skateboards, funky cubes. I had a chuckle from this DIY snowboard shelf I think most high school students would love.
Most parents are dismissive of ideas had by their kids. Not in a mean way, just as a chuckle and “oh, kids, so imaginative!” kind of way. I think this is a pretty destructive habit that none of us intend.
Did you know that it was as a child that Nikola Tesla had a vision of the civilization-changing power generator at Niagara Falls he would finally bring to life 30 years later? Did you know that Steven Spielberg “directed” his first movie at age 13 with his friends and still considers it so important to his career that it’s listed on his page in the Internet Movie Database? In his master memoir on the craft and life of writing, On Writing, Stephen King tells a great story about being not even a teenager and writing stories for his mom for a nickel. She’d even give him feedback, since she was his “client.”
What all these “kids” had in common was they were encouraged to be creative and explore their ideas.
Teen years are formative and ideas should be encouraged! What about painting their whole “study” wall with chalkboard paint so it can be an artistic and schematic design center? What about putting cork all over the wall to use as a place to pin up ideas and sketches? Give them ways to display their notions, draw concept images, make art, and explore who they are.
Check those ergonomics
Your kids are GROWING! Yay! But that’s expensive. Make sure that their seating and desks are proper height for them. You don’t want potentially lifelong bad habits like slouching and stooping to begin in their teen years, thanks to dated furniture.
When seated at a work desk, their knees should be in a neutral 90-degree angle. When sitting straight, their forearms should be on the desk with their elbows able to be 90 degrees with the shoulders back.
Here’s a great website where you can plug kiddo’s height into a calculator and it’ll give you exact heights for everything!
Make learning comfortable
With a comfy spot to read in, an idea center to create in, and an ergonomic desk to work at, your child won’t have to fight their environment just to learn.
I’m not a fan of spoiling kids, but I believe in giving them what they need for success in learning, and most of that, I think, comes through support at home. Education-friendly spaces play a big role in that — whether you make it pretty or just keep it functional.