Last week, we shared our latest design: A makeover of a little girl’s room for the specific purpose of helping her sleep in her own bed. The makeover, focusing on a few of our favorite sleep tips, was featured on the daytime talk show The Doctors and features items available from Rosenberry Rooms. Today, we’re sharing our top tips for using great design to help a child sleep in his or her own room.
Window treatments: From nurseries to older children’s rooms, we always recommend two types of window treatments—a blackout solution and a light filtering solution. During daytime naps, the light filtering curtains will help control temperature and keep a child from becoming accustomed to sleeping in complete darkness. However, using blackout curtains at night will allow parents to keep consistent hours of sleep, in spite of time changes that allow late evening and/or early morning light in the room.
Sound Control: The sonic environment of a child’s room is very important. We highly recommend a simple white noise machine for all child spaces (we used a great Munchkin version in this project). This will set a consistent baseline, as well as provide a barrier for other noises (or lack of noises) in the rest of the home.
Lighting: All child spaces can benefit from two simple lighting solutions—a dimmer, which allows overhead lights to be lowered in the period before bedtime to “set the mood,” and a small light on a timer. The timer should turn the light off before bedtime and turn it on again when it’s acceptable to get up in the morning. This will set a clear visual signal for a child. If they wake up in the middle of the night or too early in the morning, the status of their light will immediately tell them whether or not they can get up.
Make it Theirs: While a nursery is generally considered a space for the parents to enjoy, there comes a time when a child is ready to have a space of their own. The transition usually occurs in a natural way sometime between two and four years. When your child is ready for a big kid room, be sure to fill it with things they love that are age appropriate. Remember that as they grow up and become more independent, they should have a space that reflects that.
Calming colors: Although many children thrive in bedrooms of all color palettes, if you have a child who’s having trouble sleeping in their own room, consider a calming palette in light colors. The stimulation of bright colors may be too much for your little one.
Floor Plan: Whenever possible, particularly in the case where your child is having difficulty sleeping in their own bed, create a floor plan that accentuates the bed. If the room is focused on play things or study areas, the child can easily associate the space with those activities, rather than the important activity of sleeping through the night.
Scary Factor: Lots of things that seem normal to adults can seem scary to little ones, and those things should be removed or at least discussed. Imagine branches on trees outside of the window, a harmless hat hanging on a wall hook or a shadowy figure emanating from the hallway—the simplest things can look like monsters, especially in the middle of the night.
Try It Out: The single best thing we can suggest is to try out the room for yourself. We recommend that all parents try out their child’s bed and not just to sit on it for a minute or two. Really snuggle up in it. Is the mattress comfortable? Are the sheets soft? How do the pillows feel? How is the temperature? And, don’t forget, how does the bed smell? A great starting point for any comfortable bed is a set of soft organic sheets. Finally, be sure that there are extra blankets and pillows at arm’s reach to account for your child’s temperature or comfort changes in the middle of the night.
Is your child’s room somewhere you would want to sleep? Is it comfy, cozy, secure and wonderful? If so, you’re well on your way to using design to create a great sleep environment for your child!