Rooms That Grow With You
10 to 14 Years Old
Developmental milestone: More independent work at home.
Focus on: The desk.
Right now your child is: Capable of handling more responsibility and completing homework assignments on his own—in theory, at least. Reality, however, is another story, says Breuner. “Despite what parenting books may tell you, lower your expectations about how organized the kids, even ones toward the end of this range, can keep their desks and their schoolwork,” she says. If you can, place the desk in a spot in the child’s bedroom in sight of the door, so you can check in discreetly.
Take advantage, or at least keep her on task, by: Establishing a clean work space, with at least four drawers (or compartmentalized shelves), to corral the clutter. “Kids
this age are highly distractible. It’s easier for a child to spread out books and notes if there’s as little as possible to
demand his attention,” says Breuner. Why four drawers? Donna Goldberg, author of The Organized Student ($15, amazon.com), recommends one for basic supplies (pens and pencils), a technology drawer for iPod and camera accessories, one for stationery
and paper, and a junk drawer for all the miscellaneous items that can multiply in a child’s desk. Another key item: an analog
clock kept in plain sight, to boost productivity. “When you look at a digital clock, you’re always in the present tense and
you don’t see time pass,” says Goldberg. Finally, it’s essential that your child feel involved in the setup process if he’s
going to have a shot at maintaining the space, says Goldberg.
- Beadboard Smart Space-Saving desk, $499, and hutch, $249: pbteen.com.
- Austin desk chair (similar to one shown), $275, ducducnyc.com.
- Sweeping Second double-bell alarm clock, $21.50, pearlrivermart.com.
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So maybe you can’t change your health overnight. But you can get a head start.