Thousands of Kids are now schooling from home and it looks as though this is going to be the new normal for some time yet, so it’s really important to look at how they are set up for their learning. To optimise focus, reduce any discomfort and prevent long term issues. And make life easier for Mum and Dad at home too! All these points are relevant for adults and their at home work spaces too. However, it was seeing my kids struggle in their home schooling that provided the motivation for this blog.
So first up……
Being stuck in isolation due to level 4 lockdown you’re probably hyper aware of how how your working space contributes to your ability to focus and be productive. Our brains love associating certain environments with certain behaviours. This can present challenges when you’re trying to set up a workspace from home. Kitchen table or bench is likely to be associated with eating and talking, sitting on the couch with relaxing or watching TV and the bed with sleeping! Making it really hard to convert those spaces to productive workstations. The great news is our brains are reprogrammable. We can help them make new associations.
Finding the perfect workstation
1– try finding a spot that’s already associated with work, maybe it’s where the kids do homework, or for you where you check your emails in the morning.
2– find a completely new spot where there are no existing associations, popping a desk in a different corner of the house or using a garage or other empty space.
3– think of crafty was you can ‘dress up’ or change an existing space to trick the brain into thinking it’s a new environment. Think lighting, artwork etc
Sorry but it’s time to unleash your inner ‘Marie Condo’ and declutter your workspace. Clutter is distracting to the brain and ultimately requires more energy to focus on the task at hand. The Research suggests that a clear, clean space is so much better for productivity.
Maximise Natural Light
Ultimately have some natural light on your workspace. This improves productivity, energy levels, and overall wellbeing.
If your desk is in a darker spot make sure you get outside for a minimum of 30 mins each day. I’ll talk a bit more about how movement is essential soon!
POSTURE OR POSITIONING
Now we’ve got the spot for the workstation set up. How are the kids (or you) sitting at that desk?
Dr Rosemary explains kids desk setup
I could give you some great examples of not so good postures that I’ve seen at home here! Peering at the screen head hunched forward, feet up on the desk, slouching back like on a couch. Not optimal for engaged brains and learning.
Use the image below as a guide for proper positioning while sitting. Basic guidelines are to have the eyes looking at the middle of the screen when sitting up and to have the arms resting at approximately a 90-degree angle on the keyboard.
I wouldn’t expect kids to sit perfectly all the time but if their station is set up that it is possible for them to sit correctly, they are much more likely to be able to hold a better position, for longer.
Another great idea is to get the kids to stand where possible. Maybe during a zoom meeting or if they are watching an instructional video. Standing for a portion of the day is a gamechanger for the kids (and adults) as it allows more natural movement.
We all know movement is good for you. Unfortunately, while schooling at home often natural opportunities for movement in the day are lost. Think about biking or walking to school, moving around between the classrooms, interval and lunchbreaks. Older children especially are now being required to spend large amounts of time in front of a computer screen with much less movement. I’ve noticed this leading to fidgeting, brain fog, grumpiness and lack of concentration. To attempt to counteract this you could use the Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro Technique
This technique recommends breaking down tasks into 25 mins slots with 5 mins break in between. This could be simple as going for a walk down the drive to get the mail, running around the house a few times, running up and down the stairs if you have them. Find something simple that works for you. After 1 ½ or 2 hours take a longer break. I’ve found encouraging regular short activity breaks has helped keep the kids focused and on task.
The aim here with this information is to try to make home schooling life easier, by helping to create kids that are more settled and better able to focus on their work (win win!) it’s not meant to be another to do list you must do! Ultimately if your kids are happy you’re doing great.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to message or email us direct or ask the team when you are next in for your chiropractic check up when we are out of lockdown.
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