Your application of the many tips in the Quiet Night, Happy Night series will be most successful if you first consider the bedroom. These excerpts were originally from Kid-Friendly Bedroom, which was part of the Child-Friendly House series.
Spend some time sitting in your child’s room and looking at it through the child’s perspective. Apply these general questions to the bedroom:
- Is the space simple, clean, and beautiful?
- Is it peaceful and serene or busy and stimulating?
- Does your child enjoy being in her room during the normal activities of the day?
- Are items (books, toys, clothing) thoughtfully organized for the child?
- Can your child complete age appropriate tasks independently? Bedroom tasks might include: dressing, putting away clothes, making bed, putting dirty clothes in a laundry hamper?
- Can your child access age appropriate activities independently?
These questions will shed light on whether her bedroom is really her bedroom. The first step to your child feeling comfortable in the space is developing a sense of ownership and control. Your little one loves to have control. Give it to her in the appropriate times and you will battle less. Guaranteed!
Making the bedroom her bedroom:
- Encourage your child’s comfort and independence in her room during the daytime.
- Provide easy access to the essentials (bed, clothes, books, toys)
- Invite her participation in creating a desirable space.
- Play music and have a dance party in there.
- Create happy memories in the bedroom (fun and relaxing).
Let’s look at the specifics:
Can your child get in and out of bed independently? Consider placing a small futon or mattress on the floor, even for a baby. It will be just the right height for your child to get in and out of independently when she is old enough to move around. This is true for all furniture, try to offer something child-size. Once you have made the bedroom safe, it is more interesting to move about it freely rather than be confined to a crib. Note: Our babies slept in co-sleepers and then mattresses next to our bed until the early stages of potty-training were complete, then we moved the mattress into their room. It was a smooth and natural transition.
Hang a mirror at eye level for your toddling child or just above the mattress for your infant’s pleasure. Children love to look at themselves and this is age-appropriate and healthy! They are able to learn so many things, including simply being “ready” to go (clean face, combed hair). If your toddler or older child can check her own face and hair, it removes you from a possible battle. Just encourage her to look carefully in the mirror to see if she is ready to go. Another step toward independence.
Do you have beautiful art hanging in your child’s room? Take advantage of the young child’s extreme sensitivity and expose her to beautiful art (focus on art with other children, animals, or nature and avoid popular media images). Hang these at eye-level, to help strengthen her sense of belonging and inclusion.
What else can you do to create a comfortable sleeping environment for your child?
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