By Benedetta Pedrana, 1thousandays
Children grow up fast and, before you realise it, your child will be crawling, walking and running around the house. Therefore, when designing your child’s nursery, it is essential to choose a functional design that you can easily adapt as they grow older.
Visualise the empty, squared room with four main functional areas at each corner: sleeping, changing, learning, and play.
The sleeping area
As your child grows older, you will be replacing the cot with a small bed. Although beds in the shape of cars and castles might be amusing, remember that the prime function of a bed is to provide a place for your child to sleep, and preferably for long hours, so favour a simple design. There will be plenty of time to play during the day.
Guard rails might be essential, but consider leaving an open space for your child to climb out of bed when waking up in the morning. They will probably head towards the toys, engaging in some autonomous play and leaving you time to wake up.
The changing area
Which parent has not dreaded the morning tantrums because the favourite t-shirt is in the laundry basket and not in the wardrobe ready to be worn? Yes, children can make your life pretty difficult, but there are ways around it. As always, less is better.
If your goal is to have your child dress independently, then start by choosing a simple wardrobe of the appropriate height that they can reach. Place a selection of clothes in there, perhaps for the full week. You can keep the rest in baskets on the highest shelves. Encourage independence when wearing clothes, and let your child put the dirty clothes in a wash basket. Children love sorting things out and tidying up, so this will develop their sense of ownership.
The learning and play areas
Montessori shelves are an easy and functional learning option that is being adopted by many parents alike, even subconsciously. These shelves have the front completely open, with the contents accessible to the child, and are always within reach. If you have children of different ages, you can consider reserving the highest shelves for the tallest child.
The main goal of these shelves is to have a selection of available toys that can then be rotated with new ones week by week. Each aperture should only have one toy or a set of toys placed on a tray which can be easily moved to the floor. The rationale behind it is simple: children love repetition, and repetition is brilliant for learning. There is absolutely no need to have hundreds of toys, as most of them will end up broken or forgotten anyways. If you are unsure about what toys to buy, generally favour wooden and open-ended toys.
For the youngest toddlers, a pull-up bar with a mirror is an excellent piece to have. It encourages them to stand up and, ultimately, learn to walk. It also helps them to develop self-awareness and explore their environments.
Educational spaces and play areas are often combined into one another, depending on the child’s needs. If you do have extra space, you could create a reading nook for your child. Simply place some comfy cushions on the floor and a few books nearby. A tepee can add a layer of fun and will allow your child to have an enclosed space, far from parents’ eyes, where they can engage in pretend play. Other great activities to have are those that develop fine motor skills, such as arch ladders or mazes and sensory boards.
If you are planning on combining the two spaces, an easy solution is to have your learning shelf fixed to the wall along its width, rather than its length. This will create a corner where the child can also play and, in time, the top shelf can be used as an imaginary bar counter or the walls of a fort in pretend play.
The ultimate educational nursery
A well-designed nursery should always be tailored to your child and it is the parents’ responsibility to remove or reduce barriers whenever they arise. So, remember to regularly observe your child at play, follow their development and make changes accordingly. Learning is often a long, difficult process, both for children and adults. However, by following the steps above, you’ll be able to create the ultimate environment for your precious little ones to learn, relax and have fun.
1thousandays is a business committed to helping parents best assist their child’s development, offering tailored educational programmes, room decor advice and much more. Visit: www.1thousandays.com