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Do Your Homework!

How to create the perfect study space at home

Whether it's a desk in his bedroom or a corner in the kitchen, a designated spot for homework and studying will help your child thrive. Here's how to organize an A+ space.

Put Junior on the Design Team

Since your child will be using the space, it makes sense to involve him in the planning. Just as he's more likely to eat a vegetable casserole he helped prepare, he's also more likely to use a homework area he helped create.

Find the Sweet Spot

Next up, the where. Your child's bedroom is only one possibility for a study space. Also consider suitable areas in the kitchen, dining room, den, basement, even a small closet that can fit a desk. But don't just think about square footage: Consider your child's personality and study habits, too. Does he work best in monk-like silence away from noisy siblings and pets? Then pick an out-of-the-way spot. If your young one prefers an environment with signs of life, position him in a place where there's a bit of people traffic (but away from distractions like the TV).

Be Fussy About the Furniture

The work surface (desk, table) should be in sync with the seating in terms of height and size. For example, if the table is too high for the chair (a swivel or straight-back are good choices), your child may get a neck ache, which will make doing homework an even bigger pain than before.

Fill 'er Up

Good lighting, such as a desk lamp with a 40- to 60-watt bulb, is a key accessory for a homework spot. If the lighting is too dim, your child could drift off to la-la land. Have plenty of grade-appropriate supplies on hand, such as pencils, crayons and scissors for young kids, or pens and a calculator for older students, and a storage basket or drawer. If there's an appropriate spot, hang a paper calendar or dry-erase board for him to keep track of important deadlines and tests.

Advertise His Accomplishments

Try to find space near the workstation to hang a bulletin board that displays his notable achievements on science projects and report cards. Nothing will spur on good grades more than having past ones staring him in the face.