In real estate, it’s all about location. When it comes to homework, it might be about location. The environment in which children do their homework can certainly affect their focus and motivation. We would like to propose the return of the kitchen table as a prime location for studying, especially for elementary school children.

By Wendi Ostroff

Throughout history, the kitchen table has been a gathering place for meals, storytelling, and conducting family business. It has always been a place rich with imagination and conversation. Today our lives are busier, and our homes have multiple rooms, but the kitchen table is still one of the best places in the house for homework.

Without television and other distractions, the kitchen table is an ideal place to study. The location is central and comforting with refreshments a step away, and unlike one’s bed or the couch, the furniture is less sleep inducing.

Granted, there are certain times of day when the kitchen is the most chaotic room in the house and concentration will be a challenge –this is not the time for homework at the table. Afternoon hours and quiet evenings are best, especially with a supportive adult nearby who is willing to answer questions or offer encouragement. The mere presence of an adult – not hovering, but within sight– will likely keep the child on task. Even better if the adult is doing his/her own version of homework like paying bills or reading the paper. The goal is to create a relaxed environment for learning with a definite sense of purpose.

The prominent location of the kitchen table sends a valuable message to children that schoolwork is meaningful and necessary, and part of the family routine. Parents, too, will reap the benefits of being close by. Questions from an assignment can ignite more conversation and learning opportunities for the whole family. We at CLC know that homework time can be a challenge; try the kitchen table approach and see if it works for your child. The new location might bring about the positive changes you are seeking.