Spring in New England is a re-birth of ourselves and our families. We swap out heavy sweaters for lighter options, trade brighter colors and patterns, the days are staying lighter and longer, and the start of spring sports ensures kiddos are getting time outside. It is also the perfect time to get organized!
We’ve recently connected with the lovely Steph Allison of Childish for easy tips to optimize your child’s space. Steph has a Masters Degree in Child Development and over 13 years experience. Her services include consulting, organization, design and parent support. Thank you so much Steph for providing these incredible helpful tips!
Below is an article written and contributed by Steph Allison of Childish.
You might be surprised to learn that an organized and well-designed room could have enormous mental health benefits for your kids. Let’s look at 4 ways you can improve their wellbeing with a well-kept home – PLUS A BONUS TIP on toy rotation that requires zero planning:
- Make it Accessible – Our children, especially young ones, spend the majority of their life at home needing things (am I right?). From getting themselves water and food, to getting dressed, packing a school bag, or finding something to play with and knowing where to put it away, there are dozens of times each day when children have the opportunity to be independent but often have to rely on a caregiver. Setting up a home where a child can reach and see where things belong not only takes the responsibility off the caregiver to do all of the things, but it also boosts the child’s confidence.
- Make it Beautiful – Wall color, art decor, and meaningful (and yes, beautiful!) objects are just a few ways for a playroom or bedroom to welcome your child in. Let your child help select how a room is decorated. A room that feels comfortable and “at home” to your child will be a space they will want to be in and will give them a sense of belonging.
- Make it Bright – The science behind the importance of natural light on humans’ mental and physical health isn’t new. Pull those shades up during the day or place a cozy cushion and a basket of books in a sunlit corner of your home. We know that, especially in New England winters, it’s important to get sun exposure even through a window, to increase our serotonin levels: higher levels of serotonin correlate with calmness, feelings of satisfaction, and better mood, while lower levels are linked to anxiety and depression. Proper lighting also helps with circadian rhythms and bedtime issues.
- Cancel “Clutter Culture” – Do you ever notice your cluttered pantry or desk makes it hard for you to focus or get things done? The same effect is had on children. Even the best of us catch ourselves thinking “if I buy them that fun little jar of slime they will be so happy” or “this toy will give them something to do.” When they have too many toys available, kids become over stimulated, frustrated by lack of space, and bored more easily. Store away most of your toys (so you can access them If you need them) and keep around 6-7 types of toys per child available in your playspace to watch the creative, independent, and focused play happen.
BONUS TIP: The Toy Store – many of us have heard of toy rotation; the idea of cycling your kids’ toys in and out of storage periodically so not everything is out at once. It’s a great idea, however I’m taking this to the next level. I don’t have time to remember to rotate my kids toys and I certainly don’t want to add one more thing to my never ending To Do list. Instead, set up a “toy store” at your house. If you have a basement, closet, or other storage space that your kids can access (with you) put your toys that are not in use in there. Large plastic bins or simple shelves are just fine. This is your toy store. When your kids are exclaiming that they are bored or if they’re begging for a new toy at Target, invite them to go shopping at their own toy store. Let them choose one toy from “the store” and trade it with one toy that is already available in the house. I recommend trading similar size and type items (ie: one type of blocks for another, or dolls for Barbies, etc). It feels like their birthday to choose a “new” toy, no money was spent and no more toys were added to the house! For more tips and tricks, or to learn how to hire Childish to help organize, design, and transform your home (playrooms, bedrooms, and more!) follow along on Instagram @childish.spaces, on Facebook, or visit my website www.childishspaces.com.