(0.00) Intro to Series: Room by Room
How does the set up of the spaces within your home support your child’s growth toward functional independence and allow them to participate in the care of these environments? How can the spaces be a reflection of your family’s values and meet the needs of everyone who shares space there? How can the organization of the space and the systems to care for them create flow in the day in- day out activities of your family members?
(0.51) Benefits of Preparing the Home
An orderly home includes many benefits, for the children that live there. When a space is organized and there are systems for how to maintain it, the nervous system is able to remain calm. WHen a child is empowered, in age appropriate ways, they learn to become active participants in their world; be it caring for themselves, the environment or others. This instills a sense that they have the power to effect change on their environments. They then learn to advocate for their needs and understand that not everyone has the same needs. Compromise and working together to get everyone’s needs met as best as possible becomes the norm- a cooperative attitude that can have far reaching effects.
(2.27) 3 Questions to Guide Your Preperation
There are three questions to focus you as you explore the step set up and design of your child’s bedroom. What does my child do there? (Sleep, play, change clothes) How can my child access those things independently? And how can my child participate in the care of the space?
(3.10) Types of Beds for Infants and Toddlers
The “right” way to set up the bedroom, the “right” bed to get is the one that supports all the people in the home getting the rest that they need as often as possible. With a set up that allows for some level of independence and collaboration from the child, even at a very young age.
(3.23) The Case for the Toddler Bed or Floor Mattress
This is a bed, low to the ground that the toddler can get in and out of by themself. Why? Benefits include lifelong positive sleep hygiene; the message that you trust them to read the signals their body communicates about their need for sleep; planting the seed of trust and respect for them to tune into all of their body’s signals; and being able to wake up without feeling stuck or caged within a crib.
(8.31) Safety Considerations are a Must
If a child can get out of the bed on their own the room must be prepared to keep the child safe. Consider the following: anchor large pieces of furniture to the walls; tie up cords, etc. of window treatments; cover electrical sockets; hide or tape down electrical cords; used temporary gates at the doorway or at stairwells as needed.
(9.58) Establish Call and Response Behaviors
Respond as quickly and consistently as you possibly can when your child first calls to you so that the reunion after sleeping is pleasant. The child will to learn to trust you and incarnate to the message that they are safe versus feelings of abandonment that quickly creep in to a baby’s fears.
(10.47) To Crib or Not to Crib
A crib may be the best choice at your house depending on who lives there and what’s best for the family community in terms of safety and quality of sleep. Or maybe it’s totally unnecessary. The point is to question its use in your home environment and do without it if you seek the benefits that come from allowing your child greater access to their own bed. Maybe a crib is for nighttime sleep and the floor mat is for daytime use. Consider your options before assuming a crib is the only way!
(12.02) A Child’s Temperament and the Impact on Sleeping
Is your child someone who likes some alone time or really finds the need for company to be a necessity. Try to keep an openness to how these needs change over time based on natural developmental phases or external events. Remember that they are most secure with you their parents and will lean on you to feel grounded and calm.
(14.11) Children Help Care for Their Bedrooms
Once the child can walk steadily, look for how to include them with the tasks to care for the items within the bedroom and to participate in the activities that happen in that room. Ideas include: placing a pillow or a stuffed animal in “its spot”, pulling the cover flat, putting PJs in “their spot”, use of a laundry basket, letting them be helpers when making the bed with fresh sheets. If you didn’t start when they were a toddler, start now!
(15.31) Getting Dressed and Clothing Storage
Provide children with some options of outfits that are appropriate for the day’s weather and activity. Give the number of choices that roughly matches their age, initially anyway. Use a tension shower rod to create a low closet rod so the child can access what you put out for the day within their reach. The high closet rod is for adult access. Use hanging shelves or wall pockets designed for accessories or shoe storage from the upper closet rod allowing adults to access the upper things and the child to access the things you store in the lower pockets. If a dresser or baskets are being used for clothing storage you can consider the use of small pictures of what is inside (image of a shirt, pants, socks, etc.). This is helpful to the child as they gain independence with dressing and with putting laundry away. Plus, it’s a pre-literacy skill!
(19.23) A Full Length Mirror
Children are learning their body schema, their identity and the skill of dressing and undressing. Mirror helps with all of these things. Hang it such that it touches the floor so their full reflection is available as they stand right next to it. If there’s fear that it could shatter, duct tape the entire back before you hang it.
(21.19) What Does the Room Reflect? Who’s Space is It?
Furniture in a child’s room is often for the convenience of the adult and for good reason as we are often supporting the youngest children in the spaces for a few years. But what happens when you look at the room from your child’s height? What’s there that signals to them that this is their space? What’s accessible to them? How clearly is it organized? Is it an environment that feels calming and welcoming of sleep?
What are the systems for organizing toys and activities within the room? As children get older and toys have more parts, and engaged them for longer play (Legos, Playmobil, dollhouse, etc.) you can create storage areas and guidelines for play with cleanup strategies and boundaries for where the play takes place. The goal is that all people who need access to that space know how to operate within it and that the play and the toys are respected.
Join us on Facebook and Instagram @RaisingReciprocity.