I know that one thing all parents, be they first timers or old hats, need help with is getting babies and young children to sleep. There can be problems with initially putting them down to sleep, the whole bedtime routine that can last hours with cries of “one more story” or trouble settling off back to sleep in the middle of the night. I thought it would be a good time to share with you how the design of your child’s room can help.
Obviously this topic is huge and covers diet, routine, anxiety, lactose intolerance, colic and all sorts of things but you may not have considered your child’s environment in helping to get them to sleep better and /or for longer.
I would say that the colour of the room, the amount of light it gets, room layout and storage solutions can all have an effect on how a baby or young child sleeps in their own room. So let’s break it down:
Blue is basically the most calming colour you can have, it lowers heart rate and can help with anxiety. Especially good to use if a child has an anxious bedtime. Careful about how you use blue in a room with little natural light as it can feel cold.
Green makes you think of health and freshness and is said to help with reading ability and concentration and can help little ones to wake up feeling refreshed.
Yellow can be used sparingly in a child’s room. A pale lemon yellow can help concentration but be warned, go too bright and it can induce frustration. If you want bright yellow use accessories dotted around the room to break it up and steer interest to another colour in the room.
Pink can help your child fall to sleep but can be a risky choice as you might find yourself repainting rather soon as it becomes out of favour with your child.
White walls are clean and fresh and give an impression of space – be careful to choose a wipeable paint finish for all the sticky fingers and dribbles that will inevitably occur. Remember to accent this with other colours that work well in children’s rooms so that it doesn’t feel too sterile.
Black can be used as an accent colour to great effect.
Neutrals such as taupe or greys work well in a bedroom and are very popular. Just try to pick the warmer neutrals so that the room doesn’t feel chilly.
Light Purples can be used as they help you feel relaxed. Just don’t go too dark.
Colours to avoid include great expanses of red as it is an angry colour which is associated with lack of focus. Dark Purples, bright pinks and yellows should also be avoided on the walls, and brought in through accessories dotted around the room as accent colours if wanted.
2- Make it dark at bedtime
Black out curtains are a parent’s best friend, especially in Edinburgh in the summer when the sun comes up at 4 am and can stay up til 11:30pm!
If your child is afraid of total darkness invest in a nightlight with a red bulb that casts a warm light that won’t wake them.
3- Create zones in your child’s room
Your child’s room is a very multifunctional place. Your child sleeps there, plays there, gets dressed there and maybe even does crafts and drawing there as well as imaginative dressing up, story time and home work. As such, a clear distinction between the sleep zone and the fun zone can easily be made through furniture placement and use of colour.
Defining the zones helps your child to concentrate on their task in each zone. Letting your child know that the sleep zone is for sleeping only will help them to be conditioned into feeling sleeping there.
4- Use Great Storage
Putting everything away before bedtime can remove the temptation for your child to play past bedtime as the toys are “out of site and out of mind” leaving them cosy with some books and maybe a nightlight to get calm and relaxed before bed.
Tidying up helps to further that serene atmosphere you are trying to create to allow your little one to feel relaxed and go to sleep. make tidy up time part of your routine so that children become used to it and gain a sense of achievement and confidence from help. having child-accessible storage is key here so that they can do it themselves.
5- Oxygenating plants
It is great to include plants in your child’s room design as they add a certain softness by bringing the outdoors in. A last tip that could help your little one sleep better is to include oxygenating plants in their room. Plants such as Orchids, Christmas Cactus and Aloe Vera release their oxygen at night which could help your child sleep.
I hope this helps you think a little about your child’s physical environment and the effect it can have on them. What has worked for you ? Do you have bright bold colours in your child’s room and find that it creates a calm atmosphere