This week’s unintentional theme seems to be “all things school-aged kids.” Monday, I talked about taking academic stock mid-semester in order to proceed with a plan for the rest of the school year. Yesterday, I talked about changing your discipline strategies to match the situations of school-aged kids. Today, I am looking at room organization and how to best suit a school-aged kid’s needs at home.
One of the biggest transitions in your home is the transformation from baby nursery to child’s room. This usually means bringing in a bed, a dresser, possibly a desk, and some useful shelving. I think it is 50/50 between parents who welcome this change in their child’s life and those who find it hard to let go of the baby items. Either way, I would like to offer suggestions to make this transitional time as easy as possible.
Start the conversation
Talk about this change and have conversations about what it means to have a big kid bed. Where will you get the new furniture? Where will the old furniture go? Are you going cold turkey or moving things out a piece at a time? Talk about these things with your partner and your child to make sure everyone is on board.
Get them involved
Kids love to decorate! Take them along to pick out decorations, paint colors, rugs, and any other items with which they can help. Organize old toys and get rid of broken or unused items. Decide whether your child’s room is going to double as a play room, a study room, or neither. If you have an idea in mind for the room before you start, setting up the space is much easier. Clean out the closet and donate old or gently used clothing. For most kids, having less stuff is the easiest way to keep their room clean. Decide how flexible you are willing to be on your child deciding their own bedroom style. Find ways to compromise on colors and styles.
If you are purchasing new furniture, do your research and purchase items that will withstand the test of time (and kids). The first bed I ever had I used until I went to college and put in my house a few years later. Bookcases, shelving units with colored bins, and desks are great ways to add decoration and function to kids’ rooms. These items can often be purchased with a lower price in mind at stores such as Target and IKEA. You can always find great deals at flea markets or second-hand stores and refinish or paint them yourself.
Sharing a room
If you have more than one child in the same room, you have a few more decisions to make. Do you want to have the room the same for each kid or can they choose their own style? Does everyone get their own shelves and desk, or are they sharing? I strongly advise you to involve your kids if this is the case and they are old enough to have a say.
Ultimately it is important that your child feels that their room is their own. Having a safe place to go and think, read, study, or talk is very important for kids. Being able to help with this transition can be fun for them as well as exciting for you. It is likely that you will be changing this room a few more times before they move out, so make this time special for everyone.
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