A short article I've written for Indigo Living earlier this month came to live.
From paint samples to changing pads, many parents enjoy the process of setting up and decorating their child’s room. While safety, budget and practicality are all important factors in any kids room, it is also important to incorporate furniture and designs that stimulate the senses and help with development. To create a senses stimulating room, it is therefore necessary to understand the basics of early years development.
Newborns learn about the world through the five senses (seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling). It is therefore important to include the five senses in our design to ensure each one is stimulated.
High contrast colours are best for newborns’ developing eyes. Parents should a theme for the room and then vary the shades to include a variety of colours. It is important to keep the room muted and don’t overwhelm the child which often cause frustration. Rather than painting the walls with bright colours, mix in a few pieces of items such as cushions, wall decors, storage boxesor lights strung on the ceiling instead. For example, wall stickers would be a great choice as they are temporary hence could facilitate to the child’s taste overtime.
As children learn about the world through touching, texture is important in a child’s room. Children need a soft fuzzy environment to snuggle into for comfort but they also need scratchy, hard items to understand the different surfaces through experience. Having items in various sizes and shapes with contrasting shades of dark and light would do the trick. This is especially important for children with additional needs as they are often drawn to a specific colour, pattern or texture which they find calming. It is essential to include just the right amount of stimulations in the room as children are way more sensitive than adults. Which leads to us to the next sense, the sense of hearing. Children love music, period. Music and sound can stimulate multiple senses and is good for children at any age. Placing a small stereo in the kid’s room can provide entertainment to the child but do keep in mind to place fabrics and items that absorb sounds around it to minimize the amount of volume your child is exposed to.
Besides, always put in some sort of flowers or items with natural scents in the room to create a distinct aroma in the room. Create a sleep ritual by pairing a specific scent or routine to your child, it can be giving them a massage with body lotion or a specific shower gel used in bath time; those scents will later trigger a child to sleep well into later years. However, do not use artificial sprays which can cause allergies or irritations.
Last but not least, the sense of taste. The first reaction of every child has with an object is to put it in the mouth. That’s the way they learn as this oral sensory teaches babies about texture, shape, size and even language development at a later stage. This helps to build and toughen up the gums and the muscles around their mouths for speech and allow them to acquire language. For this reason, it is vital to include non-toxic products with low VOC, BPA-free products in the kids room. Do make sure to check on the label and product origins to make sure the toys, beddings and furniture are all safe for their tiny mouth.
My personal favourites at Indigo kids would be their Stokke Sleepi crib as it is an evolving bed with lots of configurations that allow your child to grow with it from newborn to 10 years old. It is not only a money saver to the parents but also allow children to grow with it and always have something familiar at home. That sense of security sets a foundation of confidence in children and builds character. The Archie line is my other recommendation and I love the natural colour that goes well with any vibrant colours.
When it comes to designing kid’s room, the process involves lots of thoughts and debates. However, the rule of thumb is, keep the room clean and simple while creating contrasts in the room. Sensory overload is instantaneous and we need to be sensitive to our child’s needs.