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Area students head back to school this month.

Most area school divisions will start virtually, either 100% online or as a hybrid of online and in-school learning.

This novel move can cause stress for families, both children and parents.

One way to mitigate some of the stress: A study spot. Create a dedicated space in your home for children to use when they take classes online, complete assignments, or have video conferences with their instructors.

This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Because, let’s face it, having to create an Instagram-worthy home-school station just adds stress.

Study Spots 101

So let’s stick with the basics: comfy seats, a clean space, good lighting, a nearby outlet, and a good WiFi signal.

You will also want some storage for school supplies. You could create an organization spot in the study space. Or, children can have portable organizers that they bring with them.

Designing Spaces

Here is a great example of a portable homework supply station, made using a shower caddy from the Dollar Store. And here is an example of a simple station made with recycled cans and jars. Getting the kids involved in finding and decorating containers for their supplies will help them feel invested in their study space.

Ask your kids for help designing the study spot. They will gain ownership and feel they have some control over this situation. Encourage them to decorate the spot to reflect their personalities and their hopes for the school year.

Virtual learning is new for most students. Organizing supplies, finding and decorating containers, and creating artwork for their space gives kids concrete activities that help them get ready.

And tailor the space to each child’s personality and learning style.

“Telling parents that the only way they’re going to be successful is if they put their kid at some Pottery Barn desk is ridiculous. Because the reality is, if that’s a kid who thrives in a physical space where there’s limited noise and limited visual distraction, then maybe sitting on the floor under the dining room table is a great space. The kid loves it and turns it into a fort, and they’re really successful. Then that actually feels really special and fun.”

Hanna Bogen Novak, the director of speech and language services at The Center for Connection as told to Wired.

Make sure to meet your child’s sensory needs, too. When gathering supplies, don’t forget about stress relievers and fidget toys. You could also use exercise balls or tall bean bags as seats.

We’re all figuring this out as we go along. Don’t forget to practice self-care.

And check out our mental health resources for COVID-19, which includes grounding exercises, mindfulness jars for kids, and a printable coronavirus anxiety journal.

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