When you ask an adult what makes their home a happier place, these themes crop up:
– having a sense of warmth/cosiness/ creativity
– a space that reflects your interests
– a space you can retreat to
Would your kids want the same….? The answer is yes. You can help them to create a happier space by going through these 10 steps.
Step 1 -“chaos control” to make your child’s room a happier place
Clean and declutter their room, get them to help you so that they take ownership and ultimately take responsibility for the mess. Everyone feels more stressed in a messy cluttered room so help put an end to it by making tidying up part of the daily routine and create place for everything to be tidied to. Use flexible storage that will evolve with your child’s needs. See an earlier post on how to declutter and take a look at The Mess Goddess’ Guest Blog for more on how to tackle decluttering.
Step 2 – Let them get a Good night’s sleep
We all feel better after a good night’s sleep. A fundamental step towards greater happiness is to get more good quality sleep. This is especially true for children. (remember that colour can help with creating a soothing environment for sleeping) For a more detailed look at how your child’s room design can help them sleep take a look at my earlier post How to Help your Child to Sleep .
Ideally there would be no electronic devices in the bedroom or during the hour before bed. If they are in the bedroom try and keep them at least 1m away from the bed with no blue lights from screens or chargers showing.
Cosy, soft enveloping textures create that nest like feeling that will help your little one fall asleep so invest in natural fibre sheets and duvet sets.
Control the light in the room -consider black out curtains for daytime naps and bright evenings as well as halogen reading lights at bedtime and other artificial light sources like nightlights to create an adaptable cosy space where your child will be able to pursue the things that makes them happy.
Step 3 – Use colour to change the mood
Over the years there have been many books devoted to colour therapy and the influence that colour has on our moods and the shapes the way we use space. It can help with concentration, sleep, creativity and yes, you guessed it, happiness. You can use colour to create either soothing spaces with mellow tones or uplifting ones using vibrant yellows, greens and oranges. These brights can be on accessories instead of on whole walls to provide that “Pop” of colour.
Step 4- Get them to make their beds
According to CNBC, socio-economist Randall Bell, Ph.D., has been studying high achieving people for over 25 years to find out what they all have in common. He and his team surveyed “more than 5,000 people across the world, including professionals, students, retirees, the unemployed and multi-millionaires.” They examined factors from writing thank you notes to eating dinner together as a family each night. One key factor that many had in common was making their bed every morning. According to Dr. Bell making your bed each morning puts your mind into a productive mindset, and can spark other productive tasks throughout the day.
Author Charles Duhigg writes about this in his New York best-selling book titled, “The Power of Habit”. He mentioned a study conducted by a researcher from Duke University in 2006 that found that more than 40% of the actions people perform each day aren’t actual well-informed decisions, but rather, habits. When habits pile on top of each other each day, they can have an enormous impact on our health, productivity, financial security, and happiness.https://www.simplerecovery.com/making-bed-makes-you-happier/
Getting your children to make their beds first thing in the morning as part of a daily routine will form a good habit that should help give them a sense of achievement and drive to see more things through and achieve more throughout their day. Looking at a made bed is inviting and makes you feel happier than looking at a messy bed which could contribute to stress.
Step 5 – Add Plants to make your child’s room a happier place
There are many benefits to including plants in your child’s room. Plants can help to boost mood as well as help to clean the air. We seem to be programmed as humans to like nature so bringing some of it inside to care for and look at is of great benefit to our wellbeing as well as that of our children. To help make your child’s room happier add lots of plants.
For a fuller introduction to Biophilic design go to an earlier guest post by the Benholm group .
Step 6 – Add Natural light and fresh air
This ties in with the principals of Biophilic design but needs an extra mention. Make the most of natural light and you will find that it helps to lift everyone’s mood. And children are drawn to it. Natural light will help them regulate their circadian rhythms as well so this will help them get more sleep at night. Opening windows and letting fresh air in lets out the mustiness and adds to the sense of calm, fresh, happiness too. The connection with the outdoors which we subconsciously crave is strengthened by these tiny touches – greatly boosting our happiness levels.
Step 7- Surround them with things they love
For kids that could be books, toys, photos of family, their artworks, treasures, fond memories, things that give them joy and show their personality. These will obviously evolve and change over time as interests wain.
Step 8- Layer lighting
Layering lighting is an important important component in Feng Shui. Which seeks to balance our energy within the home. The use of a mixture of lighting such as dimmers, pendants and lamps and different bulbs, such as halogen and task lighting combine for multi purpose use of the space at different times of the day. Think about the way your child uses their room and try and future proof a bit so that you have as many lighting options as you may need for play, study, make up, reading in bed or gaming for instance.
Step 9- Create good flow
How you arrange furniture can influence how well your family connects. Encourage good use of their belongings and space by positioning toys near a space big enough to play in, books near a cosy spot and so on. This follows on from the decluttering and tidying up that will have taken place. A place for everything and everything in its place is a really helpful mantra to keep in mind when thinking about children’s rooms and is key to helping to make your child’s room happier.
Step 10- Soft edged furniture can make your child’s room happier
If you do have need of extra furniture or storage solutions choose soft edged, curved pieces which are soothing to the eye and make your body and mind relax. Our brain tends to associate sharper corners with getting hurt.
Other tips for making your child’s room happier
Scent is a very powerful sense and research shows that floral scents used around the home can help boost happiness. So you could try using a diffuser in your child’s room to promote happy smells.
Making friends with your neighbours and feeling more connected to your community also contribute to your sense of happiness – so allowing your children to play with the neighbourhood children and make friends locally really can help forge that sense of belonging and boost social interactions which we humans – social animals that we are, crave. Hopefully you are able, in this time of social distancing, still able to chat over the garden fence or wave to each other from across the road or post letters to each other to build on your relationships within your neighbourhood.
My final advice for helping your children to make their rooms happier places
Be happy with what you have, make the best of what you have but don’t spend your time striving for perfection.
It is clear that as long as you are happy with your home and find it comfortable and cosy then you will be happy in your home. Do not keep striving for the perfection found in social media – find your family’s happy place.
I hope these tips help you and your children make some positive changes to your space especially now as we are spending more time than ever in our homes due to social distancing measures. Pick and choose which changes to make and which changes would work for your child. I’d love to hear from you and see the changes you’ve made to make your children’s rooms happier.