Cluttered Room, Cluttered Brain
The messier a space is, the harder it is to concentrate. The eyes are bombarded with visual stimuli that inhibit clarity and inhibit the absorption and retention of knowledge. Focus your student’s mind by thinking ‘zen’ and shelving as many distracting items and knick-knacks as possible. The desk should be bare apart from essential stationary and reference books. Make sure the bed is made – nothing makes a room seem sloppier than messy sheets – in fact, if you can spare a space that doesn’t have a bed, so much the better. A dedicated study room study will have much fewer distractions.
Lights, Camera, Action!
If the room has fluorescent lights, try not to use them, as they can be a strain on the eyes. A good desk light is important, but make sure not to choose a bulb with a high wattage as the glare can have the same effect, and cause headaches.
An Educational Eden
Buy a potted plant for the room, and place it somewhere prominent. Apart from giving off a little extra oxygen, plants offer a soothing presence to any area (and a friendly reminder to your kid that there’s an outside world). Much like a fish-tank, gazing at a plant is relaxing, allowing you to temporarily switch off your brain and organise your thoughts. Choose something with a soft shape and generous green leafs. The colour green is said to stimulate creativity. Avoid thorny flora like cacti – their sharpness has negative connotations.
Colour Code your Brain
It’s fairly obvious, but a room with darker shades of paint can cause you to tire more rapidly. Not that we’re suggesting you repaint the entire room, but if you can, place your child in a lighter environment, which is less fatiguing.
Colours actually play a big part in influencing our thoughts and moods, and many fast food chains, like KFC, McDonalds and Burger King, prominently feature red in their logos or buildings, specifically because it stimulates hunger. Similarly, many classrooms are painted a soothing light blue for better mental concentration.
Don’t Forget the Ears
Aural stimulation can have an enormous effect on focus. Clearly, you want a space without intrusive background noise, so if you’re unlucky enough to live near construction work, or under a tap dancing neighbour, invest in noise-cancelling headphones. Alternatively, instrumental and soft classical music, or tapes with nature sounds can be helpful.
Bear in mind though, that like anything else, how people study is a completely personal thing. Just because your daughter is listening to thrash metal music doesn’t mean it’s affecting her concentration. If it helps them to have a background beat that keeps them alert, so be it. Though you may want to put on those noise-cancelling headphones yourself…