How to Create a Psychologically Age-Appropriate Bedroom for Your Child
Our adult idea of what constitutes a great bedroom differs from a child’s idea in ways we may not be aware of. “Many youngsters identify with their environment in a symbolic way. Surprisingly, “features that might appear unimportant to adults actually form key elements of the nurturing environment for a child”, according to research by the British Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment. Therefore, we must consider this symbolic level when designing our child’s room. Feng Shui is the perfect tool for zeroing in on the symbolic elements of a room as well as addressing the instinctual aspects like a feeling of safety. Learn how to craft an age and gender appropriate psychologically supportive room for your child! Here’s how:
1. What are techniques would you recommend to create a child’s room and what would these techniques seek to improve/balance in a child’s life?
Using Feng Shui principles, I would create a room which provides a sense of safety and coziness for the child. Have the head of the bed against a wall to create a feeling of security. Placing the bed against a wall in addition is okay as well. Make sure the child can turn on a light before entering the room, and turn on a light with ease during the night. He or she should have a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or item which act as a guardian to the child.
Other things in the room should fill the child with a sense of possibility and imagination.
If the child is old enough, I would involve him or her in the process. Using the Bagua becomes a game for them and it gives them a sense of mastery over their space.
Hang pictures at the child’s eye-level so he or she is not forced to look up at everything. Be aware of the messages you are sending with the content of the pictures.
A child needs rest, just as adults do, so I would moderate the stimulation level of the room so that it is sleep-conducive when bedtime rolls around. Very bright colors should be avoided for this reason. Having storage places or bins to put away toys and crafts when playtime is over helps signal the brain it’s time for sleep. Electronic devices should also be out of sight of the bed, to reduce the stimulation temptation.
Architecturally, I would be mindful of the angles of the walls and ceilings. If the eaves are sloping, do not put posters or put the head of the bed under this section under this section, as it will accentuate the feeling of downward pressure.
To balance a child’s life I’d first look at what is in his or her room and what is going on in the child’s life. The room and the child are part of a system, so they need to be examined together. Does he having trouble focusing? I would then make the bedroom especially soothing, with soft fabrics, sounds of nature, and task specific lighting. Additionally, I would set up the room so that he or she can attend to one thing at a time. I would keep competing stimuli, like books, toys, and electronics, out of sight when it is not being used.
Is she bored? I would add stimulation to her room. Make sure she has proper space to do what she likes to do and the things do to them with – for example, play on the floor, make things, play with friends, etc.
2. If you were helping a parent incorporate Feng Shui into their child’s room, what are the three most important things you would recommend that they do?
a. I suggest parents sleep in their child’s room to get a sense their child’s experience of the room. Notice what you see in the shadows, what you hear in the dark, what you smell, and feel. What do you see first thing in the morning? What do you see just before turning out the light at night? See when the light enters at daybreak, and what time it gets dark at night. Children are more attuned and responsive than adults to the natural cycle of the day. If your child is having difficulty sleeping, it may be because light from the street is disturbing him, or the morning light awakens him too early. This problem is easily overcome with room darkening shades, or heavily lined curtains.
b. Ask yourself how you feel being the room. It should be a one-word answer and not a description of how you like or dislike the curtains or the carpet.
c. Engage the child in the process, directly if age-appropriate. If the child is too young for that, become hyper-attuned to what the child sees, hears, smells, and feels in the room and make adjustments where needed. Keeping the room as clean and dust-free as possible is important for the child’s health. They are both closer to the floor than adults and tend to spend more time on the floor, so natural easy to clean flooring is the healthiest solution.
3. How would Feng Shui techniques differ for a girl’s room compared to a boy’s room?
A girl’s room will differ from a boys based on the cultural preferences connected to gender – pink for girls’ room and blue for boys’ rooms. Feng Shui starts with the individual and his or her interests and challenges, regardless of gender. If a girl wants to be a competitive athlete I would focus on the same area of the bagua for her [the future dreams/goals area] as I would for a boy. If the child has any awards from competing I would place them in this section of the room. The styles that the culture determines as being masculine or feminine are just that – styles.
Feng Shui is not governed by style, but rather by creating a supportive environment for the individual. A Feng Shui practitioner blends the client’s style preferences into the layout and content of a room.
4. How does the age of the child affect the design of the room?
The difference between a toddler or a child’s room and that of a teen has to do with capability and personality development. A toddler/child does not have the judgment of a teen [some parents may disagree with me here], nor as strong a need to express him or herself, so the parents will make the bulk of the decorating decisions. A teen will want more privacy than a youngster. The teenage years center of developing a sense of oneself, and their rooms will reflect this. Expect experimentation with décor and room content.
© Katherine Grace Morris 2010