An age old trick to creating comfortable as well as exciting places for children is to literally change their existing space while keeping it the same. How is this done and what’s the point?
Here’s how and why!
In any size space, move the furniture. In a bedroom, change a bed to the other side of the room, add a small chair or table, switch out baskets where toys are stored in and change the lighting. Are there lamps or even lamp shades that can be exchanged? Add a colorful blanket to the end of the bed or a fancy pillowcase. Frame (inexpensive) your child’s paintings and works of art to create a gallery at their eye level, place hat or sweater hooks next to the bed, tie the curtains with wide ribbons, add a calendar (for older children) and look through the house for other safe and appropriate items to exchange in their bedroom. Move the bookcase and highlight favorites with simple displays. Put colorful placemats on the dresser and be sure children have an eye level mirror (safety glass for young children). Plants and pets (fish, gerbils, birds) are wonderful ways to teach responsibility and caring – with your help.
Depending on their age, children will love to be the designer of this “new” space with you as their assistant!
Rotate toys and books – go through baskets and bins and collect toys and books that have been out for a long time. Tuck them away to be brought out later or in a different way.
Throw away puzzles that you still can’t find that last piece to after looking for 3 weeks! Throw away broken toys or the ones that haven’t had a battery in them for months. Donate outgrown favorites if they are in good shape.
Go through art supplies with your little one. I guarantee there will be broken crayons, dry markers, empty glue sticks and flat pencils. No one wants to use these but they are always around!
A quick and inexpensive splash of color, a new frame for a favorite friend, baby dolls and superheroes given a quick cleaning, and personal spaces given new love – these are lovely ways to support the very real ways children learn to accept and embrace change.
Appreciating and caring for personal space and property are life skills we want our children to have. Our attitude and models will support these skills. Engage children with simple tasks and experiences in their homes to see how this is done!
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director