How to adapt your home to your growing child!
I was recently asked to compose a few tips for a press release by an estate agents, about how to prepare your home in practical ways for different ages of children. It was actually a really interesting task, and it made me think back through all the different family homes that I have worked in (and lived in myself!), and all the changes and transitions I have been through with parents and their children, and what worked best and when.
Different things matter most at different stages - safety for babies, independence for toddlers, personality for tweens, and privacy for teens! Re-decorating, home-ware shopping and de-cluttering are always fun, and the older your child gets, the more you can include them in the process! Here are three of my best tips for four very different stages of your child's life - from their arrival as a newborn, to the teenage years!
Declutter your home before the baby arrives (you will be unlikely to do it after the baby arrives, and you will appreciate clear surfaces and extra cupboard space!). Make sure to clear everything off the floor - you don't want to be tripping, stumbling or bumping into things while holding a new baby! (For more on this, check out Decluttering and Organising before your New Baby, with professional declutterer Joanne Forde!).
Baby-proof cupboards and drawers containing sharp items, cleaning products, or medicines, and do the same for furniture with sharp corners, electrical sockets, and if necessary, staircases (you can easily find various baby-proofing gadgets online!).
3. Clear storage space
Clear kitchen, bathroom, and linen cupboard space for baby-only items. Babies come with a lot of paraphernalia, much of which is either small in size (such as baby socks!) or has multiple parts (such as baby bottles!) so you might want storage within storage (e.g. containers or baskets within cupboards or drawers).
TODDLERS AND YOUNGER CHILDREN
1. Toy storage
Make sure you have a good selection of storage baskets and boxes for toys, arts and crafts materials, and role play props! Try to sort toys by usage and size, this will make it easier for your child to access the toys they are looking for, and for you and your child to tidy up at the end of the day! (For more on this, read Planning the Perfect Playroom!).
2. Books should be within reach
Try to have a variety of books within the reach of your child. Your child is much more likely to enjoy books and reading if they can see and reach the books whenever they feel like it.
3. Furniture to promote independence
At this age it is useful to incorporate furniture that will promote independence in your child - a table and chair to suit their own size (like those you see in nursery classrooms!) are always good, as well as games, books and toy baskets that they can access without the help of an adult. (For more thoughts on this, read Planning the Perfect Playroom!).
KIDS AND TWEENS
1. Personal choice
Let your child start personalizing bedroom by choosing lamps, bedding, and cushions for their bedroom. Accept their preferences, even if they are not what you would choose! Your child is developing their own personality and sense of taste!
2. Add a mirror
Consider adding a mirror to their bedroom (if they don't already have one!) - at this age your child will begin to take notice of their own appearance, and start to take an interest in their hair, their clothes, and their appearance in general.
3. Cork board
A cork board to display photos, invitations, certificates and other personal items is always a nice touch!
Make sure your teen has a good-sized desk with plenty of storage for books and stationery, good lighting and an ergonomic chair - they will have a lot of studying to do!
2. Accept preferences
Accept your teen's decorating preferences (they are likely to want black walls and torn posters of their favourite musicians!), even if you don't necessarily love the colour scheme yourself! As long as you use high quality materials, finish the decor to a high standard, and frame those torn posters, the room will still hold its own!
3. Add a few nice touches
Add a few nice touches to your teens room (that they may not be able to afford themselves!) like reed diffusers, scented candles, indoor plants, and natural, eco-conscious cushions and rugs. Your teen's room may be messy and chaotic, but at least you can input a little calm, serenity and cosiness!).
Do you have any other helpful tips to add for different age groups! Let me know, and I will add them in! What worked best for your family, and what mattered most to you as a child? Were you a messy teen, or a tidy teen? And did it bother your parents?! Let me know!
While you are here, why not check out my Winter newsletter, full of lots of positive, holistic, and sustainable ways to enjoy this beautiful season. You can also ready my Better Bedtimes Q&A with guest Sleep Consultant Alexandra Collingbourne, and if you are interested, check out my posts with Pre- and Post-Natal Fitness and Nutrition expert, Emma West, about Pre-and Post-Natal Exercise, and Pre- and Post-Natal Nutrition)!
Check out my other posts for more info and advice on screen time, dinner times, fussy eaters, buying pre-loved children's clothing, decluttering before your new baby, and thinking about whether or not your family could foster a child.
Get in touch for more information on any of the topics mentioned here or elsewhere on my site, I would love to hear from you!
x ISOBEL PS. Catch me on the Step In Mum Podcast (the first UK podcast for stepmums) talking about screen times and bedtimes (particularly the issue of co-sleeping), with the fabulous Veronika Durham - I loved talking to Veronika, she says it like it is, and really does "Cut The Cr*p"!