Well, from the back of the room somewhere, I can just about hear a voice going, â€œSo what’s the big deal? It’s not like you’ve never done this before!â€ And that would be rather the point. We have never done this before. We did try to set up a nursery. I painted Peter Pan pictures, and we put up a hanging nappy bag and a travel cot. Mr Husband even put shelves up in an enclave in the wall. But it was hard to spot the baby stuff among the bookshelves, printer, desk and general office stuff.
And so we ended up co-sleeping, which was the biggest accident I’ll never regret.
Now, 18 months later, we’ll be moving into a new house soon, and I think it’s time for us to have a room for Ameli. While I have no illusions that she’ll walk in, flop down and not emerge again till the next morning, I think it’s time to develop the notion of her own space.
But, like with everything we’ve discovered so far in parenting, there’s just doing it, and then there’s the conscious way of doing it, and that’s what I’m sitting here trying to discover. So I’ve been thinking about what I find important in a toddler room?
I’d like it to be a space of peace, creativity, calm and inspiration. I’d like Ameli’s bedroom to be her place of sanctuary (I’ve never been a fan of using â€˜go to your room’ as punishment , nor do I think you should conduct a fight in either your kitchen or your bedroom.)
From an attachment parenting point of view I’ve been thinking of things that encourage natural childhood too.
So, what have I decided?
- To start with, I’d love a rocking chair â€“ I know that would have been ideal for nursing a newborn when not co-sleeping, but I can still imagine sitting in the rocking chair cradling a sick little one. The rocking chair, I’ll admit, is purely my own fantasy for my own enjoyment.
- While a lot of attachment parenting is about closeness between parent and child, I read somewhere that a large photo of smiling parents over the crib (which we won’t have) establishes their dominance over the child â€“ I can’t imagine a more horrible use for photos, so I’m more interested in having smiling family pictures of both us, and the people who love Ameli, as well as pictures of her, in the room.
- Speaking of beds, we’ve totally bypassed the crib or cot stage now, and while I always loved the idea of a beautiful sleigh crib, I don’t regret that we cosleep instead. So, we will be moving straight on to a bed, and I’ve yet to decide whether we’re going for a Montessori bed, which users swear by, or to a toddler bed. We have a futon, which I think might suffice in the short term.
- As a place of peace and calm, I do not want to introduce a television into my child’s room. I know parents sometimes do for a variety of reasons, but apart from an MPR3 player and speakers to play her music â€“ Ameli just loves music and dancing â€“ I think we’ll keep the room an electronics free zone for as long as possible. We’ve spent the last 7 months with no TV in our home, and it’s been great, so not introducing it won’t be hard at all.
- I read a Feng Sui book once that said you should keep fish tanks and water features out of children’s rooms, and make sure their beds don’t have a view of the toilet or bathroom. I’m not sure why, but according to this book, it could increase respiratory problems. Now, I’m not sure I buy that, and I would have thought a fish tank would make a lovely night light and be very calming, but alas, maybe not.While academics may be important in the future, I don’t like the idea of children starting homework and formal learning at age 4 (and in fact, studies show that children who start school later do better later on too.) So, while I’d like a Ameli sized table and chair in the kitchen or family room for Ameli to sit at, draw at and, again, have â€˜her’ space, I would like a seasonal table in her own room. On this we’d collect bits and pieces from nature while we’re out and about. Feathers, seeds and egg shells in spring, brown leaves, gnarled twigs in autumn, and so on, bringing environmental learning and consciousness of nature, or seasons and of the world around her into her domain.
- Most of all, I’d like a play area. I’ve always liked the thought of a mosquito net draped down from the ceiling. It looks a little like to turret of a castle, but rather than teaching my little girl that she’s a princess in need of rescuing, I’ll tell her that it’s her own palace, her place to be in charge of â€“ I’m not much a feminist, but I’m not a huge fan of the gender stereotyping of children either.
I am not one to lecture about neat and tidy either (hmmâ€¦ is that my mother guffawing in the background?), but will strive to keep the room clutter free, so that it is easy for peace to reside there.
What else do you think is important in a child’s room? What is just my fanciful dream that is very unlikely to happen in reality?What have I left out or forgotten? Any hints and tips?
*thanks to the ladies at NPN’s Facebook page who shared what they felt was important in a child’s room!
** Thank you Tesco’s bunk bed range for being sponsors of Diary of a First Child