The school year has kicked off and with it comes a new set of opportunities to remake your kids’ bedroom into an inspiring space that works for virtual learning, after-school homework, and relaxation. Whether your kids have in-person classes or virtual classrooms, a few updates can create a better, more motivating learning environment. Read on for our favorite tips for getting your kids’ bedrooms learning ready.
Get Your Kids Involved As Karen Aronian, Ed.D., of Aronian Educational Design LLC tells Parents, “Empower your child by giving [them] a say.” Before you begin rearranging spaces, buying new tech, and reorganizing closets, sit down with your kids and talk to them about what they need and want in their rooms for this school year. From 1st graders to high school students, your kids will have thoughts about making their space inspiring and relaxing – even if they share the bedroom with a sibling.
Set Your Learning Priorities
Make a list of your family’s priorities as you delve into the school year. Will your kids be taking online courses in their bedrooms, or will the bedrooms be relaxation zones instead? Do they need new tech items? Do you need to reconfigure the room to divide learning and relaxation activities? Once you know your priorities, the easier it will be to start getting your kids and their spaces ready.
Create a Learning or Homework Station
Getting your kids’ bedrooms learning ready will mean creating the best possible environment for virtual classroom learning, studying, and homework. If your children are attending in-person classes, you’ll need to be sure that there is an area conducive to after-school work. Start with the desk or workstation. This might mean repainting or spray painting an older desk to give it a brand new feeling. As Parents reveals, “setting up a brand new space for your child … will help them feel focused and comfortable….”
Do your kids share a space? Is the bedroom shaped in a way that makes it challenging to dedicate one side to schoolwork? Consider going vertical. College kids are pros at making small dorm rooms fit for multiple purposes, and their solutions could be your inspiration when remaking your child’s bedroom. Raised bed systems can be purchased, or you can create a system with a few supplies. The goal is to raise the bed high enough to make a safe second “room” beneath it. Rather than working on the bed, kids can work at a desk in the new space, complete with supplies, calendars, lighting, and fidget toys.
If going vertical isn’t an option for you in the shared space, Real Simple recommends purchasing a room divider. A simple screen helps create privacy and enhances concentration when both kids are doing homework or taking online classes in the same room. Expert James Wheeler of Atlanta-based J. Wheeler Designs tells Real Simple that an ingenious tiered cube shelving system may be the perfect answer to getting your kids’ bedroom learning ready. He explains: “A tiered shelving unit [can double] as a room divider that also provides extra storage without blocking the light from coming through.” Kids can fill the cubes with clothes, books, folders, trophies, and toys – keeping things organized and adding some much-wished-for space separation.
Choose the Right Tech
If your kids have started the school year with virtual learning, ask the school for some guidance about any additional technology they need. Many school districts are distributing dedicated iPads to children for virtual classroom access. Even if you don’t have to supply an upgraded computer or dedicated iPad, think about the best access options available in your budget. For instance, your kids may need microphone/headphones that are comfortable and functional for long school days. “Noise-canceling headphones are effective [for blocking distractions], especially since some kids enjoy studying to music…,” explains Parents.
An upgraded computer with a better camera system and faster processing might be something to consider. You may want to buy and install a Wi-Fi range-extender to improve the signal in your kids’ bedrooms if the router is stationed farther away in the main living area. This should allow them to get a cleaner signal from their virtual classrooms. These technology updates will allow your kids to successfully navigate homework, tutoring, and online cultural programs long after the coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
Accessorize the Bedroom
Lighting, lighting, and more lighting – it is the critical element in creating a learning ready environment. A good desk lamp, multi-tiered ring light, or hanging lights are a great way to help ease eye strain during long periods of computer time, whether your child is doing homework after school or spending the day taking online courses. Natural light is always welcome, so be sure to have blinds or curtains that easily open to let the light flow during online classes.
Does your child have a favorite hobby or sports team? Consider updating the bedroom with new artwork, banners, printed photos, or posters that reflect their current interests. Similarly, new bedspreads or throw rugs can help bring renewed energy to any bedroom.
Organize School Materials Analyze your space. Is there free wall space above your kids’ workstation? Parents loves the idea of adding mounted shelves where “you can organize a single homework zone that does the job for several kids.” The editors at Real Simple rave about the advantages of using a colorful organizing cart. Each drawer in the cart is a different color, allowing kids to have a specific drawer for each class or activity. The wheels make this organizing tool priceless, as your kids can tuck it back into a corner when they don’t need it and move it near their workstation when they do.
Deborah Gussoff, a certified professional organizer, tells Real Simple that she is a fan of versatile magazine files because “their vertical format is great for small spaces.” Do you want to be sure that your older kids always have a spot for their keys, phones, wallets, and other necessities before leaving for school? Gussoff recommends “putting [magazine files] by the door for an easy place to drop keys and other small items that would otherwise clutter the room.”
Command hooks are ideal for hanging up school backpacks, jackets, baseball caps, and other miscellaneous items that might otherwise clutter desks, closets, or floors. Meanwhile, bulletin boards or chalkboards are terrific for visual reminders of class times, assignments, practice times, appointments, or other necessary information.
Build a Relaxation Nook
After long days in school or taking virtual classes, your kids will want a dedicated space in their bedrooms to relax or read. Even in small bedrooms, this is possible with very few adjustments. One of the easiest ways to do it is with command hooks and some light fabric. Real Simple recommends “[attaching] command hooks to the ceiling and [using] them to hang a curtain around the bed to create a private nook.” You can also place some ultra-comfortable cushions on the floor and drape fabric from the ceiling using command hooks or metal hooks to make a new relaxation space in just minutes. If you are particularly handy, building a window seat, complete with storage, can add a practical and inviting retreat to a multi-purpose bedroom.
Rearrange the Bedroom Closet
An organized bedroom closet will not only help your kids get ready for school on time but keep the room as tidy as possible – a great goal whether your children are taking virtual classes or getting have in-person schooling. Lisa Adams, designer and owner of LA Closet Design, tells Real Simple: “‘Ideally, every kid’s closet should have matching kid’s hangers (if you use adult-sized ones, their clothes will just fall off), pull-out belt racks and hooks, shelf dividers, drawer inserts, a hamper, and storage baskets for sporting gear’….” Make sure that your kids’ daily items are easily reached, while the top of the closet can be reserved for out-of-season clothes or storage. If you have additional dressers, consider adding drawer inserts. They allow drawers to be divided, easily configuring the drawer space for multiple purposes while keeping each side neat. If your kids share a closet, design an easily divided space, even if that just means attaching a temporary partition to a clothing rod.
Over-the-door shoe organizers can bring much-needed relief to bedrooms with small closets. And they don’t have to be limited to storing kids’ shoes. The experts tell Real Simple that these organizers are perfect for freeing up drawer space, recommending that they can be used “as a hold-all for rolled T-shirts, clutches, and even umbrellas.”
When the closet organization is done, the room is almost learning ready. The final touch? Decorating! Stickers, colored lights, and mirrors can easily be added to bring some personality to the closet. Even painting can be a fun family activity that sets the right atmosphere for the school year. As Real Simple explains: “[Paint] the closet walls your kid’s favorite color, or swap out boring drawer knobs with ones that have cooler designs.”
And voila! Your child’s bedroom is learning ready.