We often hear about making a home child-friendly, but it doesn’t only mean painting their room pink or blue and child-proofing sharp table edges. It is more than that and requires getting down to their level, seeing the world from our child’s point of view. It means creating a space that nurtures creativity, which allows for accessibility and independence, and the fostering of self-confidence and acceptance of the world around them.
Looking at the Montessori school of thought, which believes in creating a child-friendly environment from their perspective by making them feel welcome and by making things accessible to children in an effort to nurture their sense of self and independence, really helps when we need to not only child-proof our homes but make it a place they love to live in too. So how can we make our homes more kid-friendly?
A little one’s room is their safe space, the environment in which they can express their creativity and retreat for comfort and fun. Here are a few simple ways to enhance their experience of their bedroom:
Bright, cheery colours are great for walls. Colour is proven to have a great physiological impact on people, so happy colours, such as pastel blues, yellows or greens are sure to work well. For an interactive twist, consider painting one wall in their room with chalkboard paint, giving them free reign to draw and play ‘teacher-teacher’ to their heart’s content.
Low, sturdy bookshelves lining one entire wall, or even wooden cubes stacked together at a child-friendly level, will enable them to reach all of their toys and books without needing to ask for help every time. This helps to foster a positive sense of independence and also gives mum a break!
If your child is toddler-age, consider moving their bed as close to the floor as possible so that they can simply roll out of their little bed scented with mum’s love in Comfort Concentrated Fabric Conditioner, and start playing when they wake up.
Consider keeping things at their height so that they can also work at keeping their room organised. This means that their laundry basket, toy box, and any chairs or tables can be child-height so that they can utilise them themselves.
If you have the space in your kitchen, why not put a small table and chairs in a corner so that your little one can draw, colour-in or play and chatter to you whilst you cook.
Allocate a low-level cupboard to your child. Put a bowl, spoon, plate and their ‘allowed’ snacks in there so that they can reach and serve themselves if need be.
Place child-locks on all cupboard doors containing contents that pose a risk to your child.
You may be aware of the ‘no ornament’ rule that accompanies most young children. Unfortunately, eager, curious hands will even try to explore the largest or most secured-down of ornaments. It is best to ‘child-proof’ your home and remove all breakable ornaments. Sharp edges must be protected too. Place a simple square toy box in the corner of your lounge, teaching your little one to pack their toys up at the end of the day and put them in the box.
Other child-friendly tips for the home
Cover up electrical sockets.
Clean all linen throughout the home (even curtains) regularly and leave them smelling of fragrant fabric softener for a fresh, comforting environment.
Put a little stool in the bathroom and kitchen so your child can reach the counter top or basin.
Soft, plush carpeting is much kinder to toddling little ones and the knees of crawling infants, don’t you think?
Consider incorporating a reading nook for your child, which can even be as simple as a small couch, or a few pillows hidden in a tepee-style tent in a sunny corner.
When all else fails, take a look at your home from your child’s perspective, get on your hands and knees and start exploring! Look out for anything that might be dangerous for little hands and mouths – and also look for ways in which to make their experience in the home more fun.