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Decorating your child’s room

decorating Children today not only have a plethora of possessions (clothes, toys, books, games – does the list ever end?), but they also have a strong sense of individuality. Add to that a limitation on space available in urban Indian homes and the result: a harried parent who has to create an interesting, stimulating yet functional haven for her child. Yes, children’s room decor is quite a task, but ParentEdge gives you some tricks of the trade to make it an enjoyable, rewarding and enriching experience for all concerned!Start out by making the room decor project (whether it is a rehaul or an enhancement) a family affair. Involve your children in the process – it will make for many weekends of bonding, learning and fun. Of course there will be long-drawn out disagreements and arguments, but that is part of the game!The process will be determined by the age of your children, when you plan the next decor rehaul (keep in mind that children tire of things quickly), budget and how much time you can invest. Many of these factors influence each other. For example, if your children are below 10, you will anticipate that a rehaul will be required when they enter their teens and may not want to invest big money now. If your calendar is already full up, you may not mind setting aside a larger budget, as you may not have the time to explore the most economic options. So, do think of all these aspects carefully.Decide on whether there should be an overarching theme or not. Some common themes for younger children are cars, trucks, (basically anything that moves but is not living!) and superheroes for boys and Disney princesses, flowers (and anything else ‘touchy-feely’) for girls. Older children will scoff at themes – you can get creative with their help and bring in a unique look without using a theme. (Parents who are ideologically against gender stereotyping can try this non-theme approach with younger children.)It’s all in the planningNow that you have determined your financial and time outlay, and the theme (or the absence of one), scope out your decor project. Here are the basic elements: • Storage space – wardrobe, bookshelves, toys/games chests • Work space – studying, hobbies, other interests • Sleeping space – cots, play pens/cribs for young children • Accessories – curtains, lights, fans, clocks, paintings/drawings, area rugs, bedspreads and throws • Wall paint or wall paper
Decisions, decisions….

You may have some items in some or all of the categories above that you may just continue to use (e. g., a solid wood cot). For some others, you may decide to give a fresh look (change wall colour). Some in the list you may need to buy a new – do mix and match based on the budget laid out earlier. There are some things to keep in mind while making a ‘continue-to-use’/rehaul/buy decision. For storage, examine carefully what you want to put in the children’s room. Can frequently used sneakers, jackets, rain coats go into a closet in the foyer area? (along with tennis racquets and soccer balls!) Should extra bed linen go to the underused guest bedroom wardrobe? Other than a few favourites and ‘I am reading- now’ ones, should all books just go into bookshelves in the study? Asking such questions (to your children) will help free up valuable space in the children’s room. Children need to feel a sense of space in their room, though they may not always realise this, and your challenge as a parent is to strike the right balance between what stays and what goes.

If your home computer is anyway housed in a unit of its own in the study or elsewhere in the house, a complex ‘study centre’ that takes up a lot of floor space can be avoided. Instead, you could look at a work table that is more suited for writing, doing puzzles, art and craft. The work table (instead of a conventional ‘computer unit’) will also be more suitable if your children use a laptop. Whether you want a double cot or two single ones will depend on whether your children mind sharing the bed. More importantly, if your children’s room occasionally needs to accommodate guests, factor that in while making the decision about the cot. Bunk beds are great for siblings sharing a room. If your children are very young, think about cribs that can be converted to cots as the children grow up.

If your child is young and sleeps in your room, you will use the child’s room as a playroom and not a bedroom. In this scenario, don’t clutter the room with a cot- just spread mattresses and playmats and allow her free range. You could also consider a playpen if your child is very young.

As far as accessories go, the sky is the limit for children to express their creativity – they offer a huge scope for learning, as explained in the next section.

Shopping for any decor item is an easy affair, as most cities today have well stocked furniture and home furnishing and accessories stores.

Space Savers Bunk beds Toy chests that double as seats Curtain pockets for small soft toys and knick knacks Folding beds Folding study tables

How the decor project can be a learning experience?

The decor project can be a tool to sneak in some serious learning experiences for your kid unawares. Even a child as young as five years can learn the basic concepts of measurement, while helping you determine where to hang the framed picture that he painted.

Let your teen take a call about how big a rug to buy. Discuss the pros and cons of CFL lighting (pros are environment-friendly bulbs and lower running costs, downsides are the fewer options you have in CFL-fitted fixtures).

While shopping for furniture, explain why rubber wood is more eco-friendly (as it is from plantation trees that have already served their purpose), and why some China-made painted furniture may not be a good idea (toxic lead paint).


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