Google+ Authentic Parenting: How to make a House a Family Home (rerun)

Monday, January 14, 2013

How to make a House a Family Home (rerun)

Image: Dreamstime
These days, the tendency is to clearly outline children’s spaces in a home. As houses have gotten bigger, with more rooms, most often kids get their own room, where they are confined to sleep and play. Sometimes they have the luxury of an additional playroom or study.
While I don’t disagree with having a private space reserved for your child, all people need some degree of privacy from a certain age. However, I don’t agree with this vision of the home. It is too confining and gives the child the message that playing ends when they cross the door, more so, that there is no room for them in the house.

I would like to my child to think that the world is her playground and our home is as much hers as it is ours. As we decorate and move into our new house, I will give you step by step posts how we organize our living spaces with the entire family in mind. But before that day, I can leave you with a list of ideas to keep in mind.

  1. Every room the child uses should be accessible to the child. Foresee steps to get to sinks to wash their hands, brush their teeth. This doesn’t need to cost a lot, you don’t need to invest in special child only things, just find clever ways for them to use the room in a safe way, such as steps, lower seating in the living room (which can be created by just throwing a few pillows on the floor)...
  2. The child should feel at home in every room he frequents. Make sure that your furniture and upholstery are child friendly. There’s nothing more frustrating for the both of you then having to clean up after your child all the time or having to restrict the room.
  3. Make sure the room is safe and your precious belongings are protected. Have a beautiful flat screen? Kids like to clean them, so put them out of their reach. Lots and lots of electrical outlets? Block them by putting a cupboard in front of them or hiding them in some other way (that doesn’t look like a fun ‘try to reach’ game). The goal is to create frustration free rooms.
  4. Create play spaces everywhere. Having little activity-specific play areas all over the house can be useful occupying your child while you do something else in the same room. It also limits clutter, makes their stuff logically ordered and easy to locate, and gives your child a sense of belonging in every room. Examples? Have a small cooking space for your child in the kitchen. This can be done very simply by putting a small table with utensils at their height. Again, it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money, they can just play with old cutlery and tableware. Foresee a special craft area, preferably in a room where a bit of a mess is not an issue (I’m thinking far away from the couch). A craft area doesn’t nee to take up much space or be a big investment. Put up a repurposed cupboard, a small table and chair and fill with the supplies your child likes toying with.
  5. Don’t forget the garden. Just a few ‘fallen’ logs can be a great playground. Find lots of ideas on Go Explore Nature and Let the Children Play.



  1. Hi! Loved the ideas! I already did some instinctively: I have a play kitchen in our kitchen, a shelf with crayons and paper in our office-room, a bag with toys in the WC and a drawer and cupboard for toys in the living room, as well as space for Legos and crayons/paper on a table next to the couch.
    I can't see the link you added in your last line (nº 5) with more ideas...Can you post it here?

  2. woops, yes, I had written that post when I did not have access to the internet, so I forgot to add the links


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