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Having three young boys, two of whom are in primary school, I understand the importance of setting your kids up for productive study time.

This includes not only preparing them for learning through a balanced lifestyle but also creating a well-structured study space.

Create healthy habits for your children from a young age to set them up for success well into their schooling and adult life. This means placing an importance on sleep, healthy eating and physical activity.

  • Sleep

Sleep is especially important for children as it is during their dozing hours that growth hormones get a boost – hence their need for more shut eye than you and me. My recommendation is 10-11 hours of sleep per night for children aged 6 to 12 years of age. For teenagers, 13 to 18 years of age, 8.5-10 hours of sleep will ensure they’re able to function optimally.

Enough sleep will help decrease mood swings and irritability, improve problem solving and decision making ability, increase concentration, motivation and creative thinking, result in a higher tolerance to stress and increased immune system. Share the benefits of sleep with your kids to reinforce the importance of rest time.

  • Nutrition

A healthy diet of limited processed, sugary and fatty foods and an abundance of wholesome meals and fresh fruits and vegetables will greatly benefits your child’s learning capacity. Many research studies have shown that the effects of sugar in a child’s diet, even small amounts, can make a child hyperactive, feel tired, worn out and irritable as well as decrease concentration levels.

  • Physical activity

Being active is all part of being a kid. At the start of recess and lunch breaks at school, kids are raring to get out of the classroom and blow off some steam. The benefits of exercise, for the young and old alike, include improved emotional wellbeing, mental health, concentration, ability to manage anxiety and stress, social skills, learning and productivity and decreased anti-social behaviour.

For children aged between 5 and 18 years of age, 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity every day is ideal. This might be running around during breaks at school, riding a bike to and from school, sport outside of school and on weekends or fun in the playground rather than sitting at home in front of the television.

  • Study space ergonomics 101

With these three factors covered off, your child or teen will be well prepared to learn. You can further assist by optimally structuring their study space at home. My recommendations to set up an ideal computer based study station are as follows:

  • Desk – if possible, consider investing in an adjustable study desk rather than being tempted to plonk your kids down one end of the dinner table. The desk is really the foundation of the study space.
  • Chair – choose a chair that can have the seat height adjusted. Alter the height of the chair so that the seat is at the level of the rear of your child’s knee when their feet are flat on the floor.
  • Feet – both feet should either be flat on the floor or resting on a foot rest.
  • Arms – position your child’s arms to rest on the desk at a 45 degree angle and ensure that the elbows are not positioned too far away from the body.
  • Posture – no slouching allowed! The position of the desk, chair and computer/study materials should allow for an upright, perhaps very slight reclined position and not twisted or rotated in anyway.

Research has shown that sitting in a sedentary position for periods of time without movement, even as little as 30 minutes, can be detrimental to our health. While this may most often be associated with adult office workers, our kids are in the same situation at school and at home when they study – especially those in senior years of high school and at university.  Encourage your children to move around after 30 minutes of sitting or completing a task to improve their concentration. You might also like to recommend some stretching, especially of the neck and back. If in doubt on how to best establish the right study environment for your child, then contact a physiotherapist to guide you through the process.

What kind of study area have you set up for your kids at home? Tell us in the comments below.

  • Thank you for great tips.

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  • I have a study area set up in our front room which is key for getting them quietly working when they need to focus.

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  • When the kids are younger we used the dinner table. Now they’re older they use their desk. Only my youngest does her homework still at the dinner table.

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  • Definitely all of the above. We created a study space for my on in a ‘play room’ (not his bedroom) where we could see him and he could ask us for help etc. However, over time he moved to the kitchen table where he preferred to study!! Go figure.

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  • kitchen table is a go to so that I can be on hand to help.

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  • My son’s had a designated area to do their work at. As soon as they got home from school they had to get changed and have a snack (if they wanted it), play for half an hour or so, then they had to do any homework they had and half hour study on what they’d done that day. Then it was dinner time and then bath time, an hour of television or games then off to bed.

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  • Setting a routine that works for them and sticking to it.

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  • I agree these 3 things are more important

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  • All good points; Sleep, Nutrition, Study space/conditions and routine !

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  • A good routine that includes breaks , food, exercise and sleep too is a good start.

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  • Thank you for all the tips. Will need them soon

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  • Study breaks are important too.

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  • sleep is so important for children and teenagers.

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  • Thank you for this amazing post! BTW I think that ergonomic chair is a must-have for any school child. Here https://myergonomicchair.com/best-budget-office-chair/ I found a great post about the best cheap office chairs, strongly recommend checking

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  • Helpful article routines are important

    Reply

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