Friday, October 26, 2012

Decorating Your Child's Room With Their Help

Happy Friday everyone.  I am so excited to have a guest blogger here on Mission Decorate today!  So please let me introduce to you the wonderful and always insightful Kerrie LaRosa.  (Cheers & Applause!)

Kerrie is a mom of two, a licensed clinical social worker and a parent coach.  Kerrie is the person I turned to when my daughter had her first on the floor, kicking and screaming temper tantrum.  Her blog is the place I visit when I need a parenting kick in the pants.  And her website has given me invaluable resources to help me grow as a mama.

So today I asked Kerrie to help us with something that can be so fun...decorating your child's room with their help...but can also be a little tricky to navigate.  As always Kerrie pulls through with great tips and things to think about.  Thanks Kerrie!   

It is usually an exciting day when a child can participate in the fun task of decorating their room. It is usually when a milestone has been reached: they are old enough to help meaningfully, they are getting their own room for the first time, they are transitioning from a crib to a big bed or you have just moved into a new home.
Engaging your child in the process of decorating their own room can be exciting and helps boost a child's confidence and gives them a sense of control and ownership over their room. But, to make this project successful, consider some of these tips:
Make sure you are comfortable with allowing your child to help. Many people like to be in control and will feel too anxious about letting a child (of any age) participate in the decision-making or decorating of a room in their house. If you are not sure, try and come up with some small decision or task that your child can participate in and then complete the rest of the project yourself.
Consider your child's age and developmental skills to determine whether decorating her room is an appropriate task.
Of course make sure the task is safe for a child. I would not recommend having your child present for a lot of painting or structural work unless there is someone else there to watch him and keep him safe.  Make sure everyone is in the right mood to tackle the project. When you are ready to begin, make sure you have sufficient time to complete the task; everyone (parent and child) is well-fed and well-rested and in a calm mood. This will increase the chances that it will be a successful project and help you avoid a situation in which your child fingerpaints your favorite rug.
Another way to help your child feel engaged in the process (while you do the bulk of the work) is to allow your child to engage in parallel play while you work. If you are hammering nails in the wall to hang pictures, set up an area for your child to safely use her toy hammer; or let your child shine a flashlight on your workspace or use the tape measure to measure objects in the room. It is amazing how little projects can engage a child, make her feel helpful and keep her busy while you work!
Finally, here are some thoughts on specific ways to include your child in decorating his room.

- Let your child pick the paint colors, room theme, rug or his bedding. Make sure that you give your child specific options to choose from (limit it to under 5, preferably only 2), so you maintain some control of what the room looks like so you don't end up with black walls, a fluorescent green floor and bug decals plastered all over the room  (unless that is what you are into). 

- Let your child help put up wall decals. You can let her pick where they go, or if you want more control, you can choose where they go and let her stick them on the wall (or help stick them on the wall). The great thing about wall decals is they are not permanent and can be easily moved or removed (especially if your child's interests change frequently).

- Make the room a creative space for your child.  Use magnetic paint to create a magnet board where your child can learn and be creative.  Use chalkboard paint and create a space for art.  With magnetic and chalk board walls your child will continually be able to decorate her room.

- Make it kid-friendly. Put up a magnet calendar, a coat rack he can reach, a reading corner, a homework space, a display for her artwork. All these will engage your child on a daily basis as well as encourage learning.

See I told you, great tips from Kerrie as always!  If you want to follow Kerrie's blog, learn more from her website or contact her just visit her here.  And if you have any stories about decorating with your children we would love to hear them.  Especially the funny ones!  Have a great weekend!