Podcast Episode 27:
Optimizing Your Child’s Education Through Getting to Know Your Kid: Environmental Considerations

In this week’s podcast, we’re digging into environmental considerations!


Who selected where your child is expected to do whatever constitutes “schoolwork” in your house?


How is that working?


I am not judging AT ALL!  So many of us think about what will work best for us, and not what will work best for our children.  (A bit like Blake’s teacher who required absolute silence because that’s what she liked…)


But our children are unique and different from us.  


Some kids will do really well at the kitchen table with a lot of bustle all around them.  Others will need a silent space away from everyone.  


Some kids will do best sitting upright at a formal desk.  Others will do best laying on the floor, papers spread all over (that would actually be me much of the time!).


Some will do best indoors, and some outdoors. 


Even the scents in the environment can have an impact on how they are learning!  Essential Oils diffused in the air can be beneficial for some kids, but different kids will respond differently to different oils.


The amount of lighting and the type of lighting that is provided can have an impact, especially on those with some kind of visual processing disorder or light-sensitivity.


Another big aspect of considering the environment is considering how things are organized.  We could spend a whole lot longer talking about all of the intricacies of organizational considerations!


Watch, Read, or Listen to this week’s podcast!


Then, stop and take a moment to consider each of these.  Which do you need to spend some more time considering and evaluating?

  • Sound

  • Smells

  • Lighting

  • Movement

  • Seating

  • Organization

Audio version: www.DecodingLearningDifferences.com


This is Decoding Learning Differences with Kimberlynn Lavelle. This episode is part of our series, optimizing your child's learning through getting to know your kid. In this episode, we're getting into environmental considerations, which might sound a bit daunting or confusing, but we'll dig into it. So the first aspect of your child's learning environment, which is what we're really talking about,

we're talking about environmental considerations is what is your child's learning environment? What might you need to consider that maybe you haven't considered before or haven't considered recently? The first one here is sights. What is within your child's sight in their environment and how is it impacting their learning? And maybe they've got a beautiful window, beautiful view out their window that they can see.

And they, it, it helps them to focus to feel that calm, to see the sunshine. It's very helpful for them. Maybe that wonderful window that brings in that beautiful sunlight is distracting to them because they can see the people walking by and the garbage truck picking up the garbage and the mailman, delivering to all the houses. And they just get distracted all day long sitting in front of this window.

It could be positive or negative. You've got to consider for your child, which is maybe for your child sitting in a room with their desk up against a wall, no distractions, nothing on the walls, no toys in the room. It's just got their books and their stuff. And maybe it's perfect. There's no distractions. They can actually focus. Maybe the lack of anything Makes them kind of bored and turned off and not able to focus on anything because it's just like a,

I don't know. Okay. I, I struggle with this in creating a learning environment for my students that works for all of them. And ultimately I can't because I have too many students, but I can kind of make different areas of my classroom, a little different for different kids so that they can face the blank wall because that's what they need. Or they can face the wall that has different posters on it that are educational so that when their eyes start wandering and they need something to kind of think about or look like,

get some ideas from where they learn something while they're looking at all the posters, right? So I can kind of set things up that way. You don't have to do both unless you need that same space to work for different kids that have different needs. And then maybe you do, but think through for your child or your children, what is it that they need and start really noticing how they respond to different sites in their environment.

When someone walks by, is that completely disruptive to them? Or do they just ignore it and keep working? Do they work? Some kids work better in the middle of the hubbub, at the kitchen table than they do alone in their room. And some work a lot better alone in their room than they do in the hubbub at the kitchen table. Who is your kid?

That's all, that's what you got to figure out is who is your kid Sounds? What sounds are distracting your child or engaging your child's learning. Some of us get distracted by almost any noise in the environment. If I'm trying to focus on something, even classical music, it has to be like super soft in the background. And I'd rather it not be there.

To be honest, I would rather complete silence. Others learn super well with the TV on that's getting the sights and the sounds, and I would be completely distracted and some focus better with all of that in the background, they can then focus without it. They have trouble focusing. They're like looking for the stimulation to then be able to focus. Some people need that stimulation to then be able to focus.

Now, most kids, people do better with either no sound or sound that doesn't have any words like music. Without any words, it doesn't have to necessarily be classical music, but like just the melody, no, no lyrics with it. And if it's the melody that you recognize that are then trying to sing along to in your head, that doesn't help either because you're then trying to put the lyrics in and that can be distracting.

So in general, that's usually what works best for most people. Your child might be different though. So just keep that in mind that some do very well with music. In fact, more people do better with music than don't, but usually it's without any lyrics or any, you know, the TV can be very disruptive to most people, but not to everyone.

I had a friend in high school who would watch the news while he did his homework and did great at all of it and would tell me things on the news. I'm like, wow, I don't know how you're watching that while doing homework. I tried doing homework with him one time and I was like, yep, can't do this. I can't focus.

I don't know how you're focusing. Now. You may have never considered this one smells. Especially if your child has some sensory issues, you're actually more likely to consider this one, but smells can impact your child's learning. Now I'm not an expert in this particular area. I've just done some research and reading. And I know that some smells will be distracting or disruptive and some smells thing,

but all those essential oils that are telling you, oh, this is for calm. And you might think it's baloney, but it does work for some people. There's a reason why a bunch of people why it's so popular. It, it actually does work for some people, not everyone. Some people will find that smell really distracting or unpleasant, and they won't want,

they won't be able to focus because they've got this, like they're disgusted by the smell. Maybe smelling, cooking gets their, them so hungry that they can't focus on their learning. So having them where they can smell cooking will not be helpful to them. Being able to focus on whatever they're trying to study or learn or work on. So think through what are the smells in that environment and how are,

how is it impacting your child? Take time to think about it, reflect on it. Textures. This one is typically more of an issue for those sensory processing kiddos that have some issues with something. This is where they might need something that has a certain texture to just hold in their hand and rub, or to kind of just play with maybe it's or maybe it's on the desk that they're just rubbing something with it that has a certain texture and it's giving their then their,

the feedback that they need that to be able to actually then focus on whatever they're working on and different textures will do different things to different kids. The clothing they're wearing can impact how they are, whether or not they're able to focus the seat that they're sitting in. And the textures of that, the texture of writing. Sometimes the pencil produces an unpleasant texture for them,

and they prefer a pen, a very smooth ballpoint pen that is or gel pen. Sometimes it's even better for them. Something that's very smooth. If there's any kind of roughness to it, they have a hard time and can't write, sometimes they use whiteboard. Markers are better for them, or just markers in general are better for them. But the whiteboard on like a smooth,

like a plastic overlay or something gives them the like, okay, I can actually write without that like horrible feedback. Cause it's like nails on a chalkboard for sun. So respect all of that, investigate all of that. Look for those types of things and whether or not any of that is impacting your child's learning. Okay. These are we're, we're getting there.

The Next aspect of the environment, which is a really big one is organization. How is the environment organized And how is that playing into their learning? Different kids need things organized in different ways. Some need to be able to like see every single thing, but they might need to grab, like they basically need every textbook that they are working with or workbook or whatever,

all of the materials forward facing so that they can see the cover and grab the right book at the right time and know what to do. Some of them need a specific place where they do math and a different place where they do writing and a different place where they do reading because their brain like can do math here, but not there. Sometimes they need there,

all of the things in one spot that they can access all the markers, all the pencils, all the scissors. And sometimes that's distracting and they need that organized somewhere else. And just one puzzle left for them right here. So the way that the environment is organized and there's so much more that we could get into with organization, but just really be thinking through how am I organizing the environment?

How is that impacting my child's learning? And I kind of Alluded to this a minute ago is where your child learns best the environment in which they learn best might vary a lot based on this exact moment in time and this exact subject. So it might change tomorrow. They might need a different learning space or math and reading might be a different learning space.

Also, don't be afraid to kind of think outside the box on what their learning space is. They might need to do their reading under a tree outside. They might need to do the writing, lying on their belly on the bedroom floor. They might need to work on math, sitting on a big mat on the kitchen floor with all the hubbub of around them and the manipulatives spread out on the map,

right? They, it, it might completely vary depending on subject or just depending on their personality. Maybe they do all of their work belly down on their bedroom floor, just a little sprawled out because that's how they learn best. That's how they focus best. And that's one thing that I didn't put in here that I should have is positioning where their physical posture and positioning can impact their learning.

In general. It is suggested that wherever your child is seated, that they sit or their feet could be flat on the floor, not dangling that in general, for most kids that allows them to sit properly focus. It's very, it gives some feedback. It's very helpful. Every child is different. Some will do better sprawled out on the floor, on their back,

reading a book, whatever it is. So, or walking around. Sometimes the position is that they are not stationary. They're going to be mobile moving around while they're doing things, standing at a standing desk or counter top kind of dancing around while they're thinking and working on things. And that's all okay, too. There's so many aspects to environment that we can talk about.

And there's so many little nuances I probably could have done an entire episode on each one of these pieces. We're not going to go that deep today, but maybe we will in the future. But right now, I just want you to take some time and think through what are you going to adjust in your child's learning environment? What are you noticing what's coming up for you?

I would love to hear from you. It is the delight of my day. So email me, Kimberlynn@DecodingLearningDifferences.com. I can't wait to hear from you and I'll talk to you again next week.



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Decoding Learning Differences