As your child approaches his or her senior year of high school, the academic to-do list begins to rapidly expand. College tours, scholarship applications and SAT or ACT test preparation are among the most pressing tasks. For the latter, preparation is essential. And it all starts with creating the optimal place for studying.
According to GreatSchools, parents should implement the CLUE framework when brainstorming ways to create the optimal study space. The mnemonic stands for...
- C: Calm (minimal distractions)
- L: Light (lighting that fosters productivity and focus)
- U: Uncluttered (free of messes)
- E: Easy (organized)
Here are some simple ways the CLUE framework can be applied:
The best way to ensure a calm study space is to minimize the amount of distractions. This means any electronic devices beyond a computer should be prohibited in the study area. Reasoning? Edutopia explains that it takes time to shift your attention from your studies to some other source of information and then back again. Not only does the constant shifting affect the amount of time it takes to get work done, but it affects the quality as well. So, prior to each study session, have your child leave his or her electronic devices and other distractions in a separate area of your home.
As much as sunlight helps you wake up in the mornings, it can impair your child’s sleep patterns. Since teenagers need more sleep than adults, ensure your teenager's room is properly outfitted with shades that will let him or her sleep when needed. This will help your child feel recharged and refreshed for studying the next day. Furthermore, you may want to explain that sleep deprivation can have serious health implications and the importance of getting enough sleep.
At no point should your child be allowed to study in bed since the human brain associates lying down with sleep, which makes the body grow tired much faster, notes SAT Max. Instead, purchase a desk to be used in the space. Keep only minimal supplies such as pencils, pens, highlighters and paper at the desk so it doesn't become messy or cluttered. Also, consider hanging inspirational images or photos that exude serenity on the wall.
Similar to have an uncluttered work area (as stated above), a clean desk is ideal because it simulates actual testing conditions. But, this step goes a bit further by making sure all materials are organized and easy to find. Purchase a desk drawer and file folder organizers so study materials are easily accessible during each study session. You also may want to show your child an efficient system for organizing his or her notes in notebooks and folders.
One Last Tip
In the working world, employers constantly harp on the importance of maintaining a good work-life balance because it decreases burnout and increases productivity. The same premise applies to your teen. Although studying is necessary, ensure your child allocates enough down time for extracurricular activities and time with his or her friends.