Starting at school: The need for a study space
According to a mean-spirited saying, everything takes a bit longer in the South. In Germany, this is true only in terms of the summer holidays. Whilst children in some German states can forget about their schoolbooks at the end of June, students in southern states such as Bavaria stay at school until the beginning of August. Accordingly, the first day of the school year is around early August for northern states and mid-September for southern states. Parents whose children are leaving preschool have an exciting time ahead of them. They have the task of creating a workspace for their little ABC-troopers. To do this effectively, make sure that you pay attention to a few key points.
the first step is always the hardest
Regardless of how long ago it was, most people remember their first day at school with fondness. The exciting feeling of carrying a schoolbag, full to the brim with covered schoolbooks and a pencil case with brand new pencils. The anticipation of seeing whether your pre-school friends would be in the same class, and more importantly, who you would be sitting next to. Lifelong friendships have been made in those few exciting hours. And remember the pride you felt at finally belonging to the ranks of the ‘big kids’ even if you had to start small at first.
There is no question that starting school life is a big milestone for a child. It marks the first step towards work and requires some adjustment. While preschool allowed unlimited imagination and fantasies, school operates under a strict timetable. Responsibilities go beyond the typical six hours at school and include things such as homework. At this time of independent learning, the onus is often on the students to organise themselves.
The next big change is physical. Suddenly, your child spends most of the day spent sitting down. In the morning, children sit on chairs in class, and the afternoon begins with a few hours of homework on the desk at home. A quiet workspace is important. While the living room or dining table seems to become a study space in many families, experts recommend a workspace in the child’s bedroom. This allows your kids to retire to their rooms and to focus on schoolwork in peace. As nice as it may be for parents to have their kids an arm’s length away, do not underestimate the distraction factor. This is only increased when siblings decide to do acrobatics on the kitchen table, or when the parents are cooking while talking about the invoice they just received or their next shopping trip.
Once a child reaches school age, their job is to study
Often, the need for a child to have a proper study space is underrated. According to the experts, a study space is even more important than an office for the parents. The reason for this is simple. Mum and Dad have already achieved their career goals, but their child still has their goals ahead of them. According to the logic that working life begins at school, a student has a job that they have to take seriously. Their task is to acquire knowledge and to deepen their understanding of the subject matter covered at school. Their pay comes in the form of marks and assessments. While parents (unless they are self-employed) can leave their work at the office and are undisturbed by business matters at home, students normally take a significant amount of work home.
A study space is not only essential in encouraging good marks; it is also relevant in terms of physical health. Contrary to their natural inclination to move around, children are forced to spend a large part of their day sitting down. This can be difficult for children, particularly at the beginning of their school career. Too much time spent in sitting in an unfamiliar posture is very demanding for children and is unfortunately not just the prerogative of adults. Accordingly, it is important to take into account the basics of ergonomics when setting up your child’s workspace.
The child needs a study space
- The room
Let us approach this subject from a safe distance and focus on the details last. The first question that parents have to answer is where to put their little offshoot’s desk. Ideally, it would be located in a bright corner of the child’s room and not between distractions like the Lego box and the train set. It would also be ideal to place the desk next to a window that gets a lot of natural light. For now, there is no computer monitor on the desk that can reflect the light falling into the room, so the desk can be placed directly under a window.
- The desk
The market offers a wide range of desk options. Pay close attention to the following standards. Ideally, the desk should be adjustable, that is, it should ‘grow’ with the user in as small intervals as possible. This means height-adjustable legs and a desktop whose inclination can be changed. If a desk is too big, the user must constantly overstretch their back and pull up their shoulders. If the desk is too small, the child has to bend their back while writing. Particularly in periods of rapid growth, such as puberty, parents should monitor whether their child has outgrown their desk at least every few months. Children should be able to adjust the inclination of their desktop safely and according to their needs. An organised, aesthetically calm environment promotes concentration. A few desk drawers and a filing cabinet won’t hurt as storage space for ink cartridges, rubbers, colour pencils and of course schoolbooks. The market offers an endless array of desk models and colours. There are pink and white options for the girls and colourful, blue or natural-coloured desks for the boys. There are even options that are modelled on school desks.
- The materials and the environment
Parents should take note of the materials used for the desk. Often parents should simply judge desks according to their taste. However, lacquered wooden furniture and chipboard often has a chemical smell. It is liable to gradually release these sometimes not entirely safe chemicals into your child’s room at home. On another note, a good study space should have good ventilation and be and well lit. It is important to regularly aerate your child’s room in winter and to ensure a permanent supply of fresh air in summer. Finally, put a desk lamp on the side of your child’s desk. The lamp should be placed opposite to the side your child holds their pencil or pen with. It should provide your child’s workspace with even illumination.
More important than a child’s desk - clear rules during study time
There are many apartments that will only house a desk with difficulty. A small corner table or even a foldable tabletop can meet your child’s needs. If you are short on room, store your child’s schoolbooks in easily accessible boxes or containers. Space problems aside, there are many students who have difficulty studying alone or in complete silence. Company is not a bad thing in such cases, but the study space should still be subject to strict rules. For example, the needs of the student should be respected, and they should not be disturbed by their parents or siblings.
Younger siblings may have time to draw or to read a children’s book during homework time. Older children should also complete their more demanding homework tasks during this period. If the parents have an office, they could install a small workspace for their children there. This way, ‘school’ and ‘work’ can both be confined to the office.
Whether your child studies at their own desk, at a small corner table or at the kitchen bench, they should have an office chair that is ergonomically adjustable. This is particularly relevant in light of the increasing number of children with serious back problems. To adjust your child’s office chair correctly, heed the following instructions. Your child should sit on the seat and put their feet flat on the floor. Raise the seat up to the height of their knees so that their upper and lower legs are at right angles. Similarly, raise the desktop so that your child’s upper and lower arms are at right angles.
Child’s desks are available for children 6 years old and older. They have a washable, easy-care surface and are height-adjustable. They also feature an ergonomic backrest and a base with chair castors. For those who like things a little bit more fancy, there are small office chairs that have an inclinable seat. These may also have backrests with special padding for lumber arch support, and they may be pendulum mounted. Parents who want to strengthen their child’s back musculature may consider a work stool. This specialised variant of the conventional office chair is fitted with a flexible seat and enables your child to develop an evenly developed back musculature. In light of the variety in models and colours, visit a retailer and get some advice on child’s office chairs. If you choose to buy your chair online, make sure that the seller has a generous returns policy. This will give you time to test the chair thoroughly.