After getting back in the school routine, there is still nothing more stressful than the return to the dreaded homework. It can be a nightly battle centered around completing those after-school assignments. But does it have to be?
I can feel like a marathon runner at the end of the day. I ran a good race, but I still need to finish strong. Which means getting through those last hours of the day – cheering on my kids to finish, as we trudge through homework. I need to provide the encouragement, environment, and materials necessary for successful studying to take place at home.
With a son who gets distracted easily and another with some sensory issues, staying focused to do homework can be difficult. I had to create an environment, at home, that encourages learning even after a long day. So after a lot of research and talking with learning specialists, I have been able to incorporate my children’s five senses to create a calmer studying environment.
Five Ways to Create a Calmer Learning environment:
- Get Moving (touch) – Before sitting down to do homework, encourage your child to get active (no video games or television)Get outside to shoot hoops, ride a bike or skateboard, spend time on a playground or swim. These activities will reduce stress, get the blood flowing, and fire the brain to be active.
- Eat a Healthy Snack (taste) – Serve after-school snacks that are low on the glycemic index. This will avoid the blood sugar levels from varying quickly, which prevents the child from getting sluggish. Consider nuts, smoothies, cheeses, and vegetables for a snack. Try to avoid high sugar snacks and drinks.
- Pick a Study Spot (visual) – Most important is to find a place where the child will pay attention and feels comfortable. The bedroom can be good, but the toys can be distracting. Remember, for some children it might be sitting on the floor or on a bean bag chair. This is no written rule work has to be done at the table. Also, to reduce stress have the necessary supplies (books, pencils, paper, index cards, highlighters etc) readily available. I have a basket that can be moved where needed.
- Listen to Music (hearing) – There’s really no easy answer. Some kids study better with music, since it helps them ignore other sounds around them. Other kids sometimes get so into the music that they forget about what they’re supposed to be doing. Try it in the beginning. If the child is getting their work done and test scores are good – why not.
- Odors Influence Performance (smell) – In a report by Scientific American, people who were exposed to natural plant odors were calmer, more alert, and in better moods than those in an odor-free environment. In addition,certain scents created a longer attention span when presented with information, which increases retention during studying.
Consider infusing these scents that encourage learning into your home environment. There are different options for essential oils or a diffuser, such as a Lampe Berger lamp. Be cautious when using candles some can contain chemicals.
- Lemon promotes concentration and has calming and clarifying properties that are helpful when you’re feeling angry, anxious or run down.
- Jasmine is also commonly used as an anti-depressant because of its uplifting capabilities that produce a feeling of confidence, optimism, and revitalized energy.
- Rosemary is the perfect Monday morning pick-me-up. In addition to improving memory retention, rosemary has stimulating properties that fight physical exhaustion, headaches, and mental fatigue.
- Cinnamon has stimulating properties and can help fight mental fatigue, improve concentration, and focus.
- Peppermint is an energy booster. This scent invigorates the mind, promotes concentration and stimulates clear thinking. Perfect when brainstorming for a project or essay.
Each child is different. Their learning styles are different, from even the parent(s). It can take sometime to find your child’s perfect blend, but it the results are so worth the energy.
Some days seem longer than others. Reducing the household stress and creating an after-school learning environment, benefits everyone.