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In the west, it’s not uncommon for babies to be brought home from the hospital straight to a nursery room of their own. Closer home, in India, some infants do sleep in their own nursery while others sleep in a pillow fort on their parent’s bed.
Well, there’s no right time as to when should a child have their own room. What is undeniable, is that children do need their own space as they grow. Having a space to call their own makes children more independent, more responsible and lets you enjoy the privacy of your bedroom.
So, how do you decide when to give your child his/ her own room?
When Your Child Can Sleep Through The Night
Many doctors feel that infants should not share a bed with their parents but recommend sharing a room for at least the first few months. It’s a matter of convenience and safety. When you’re breastfeeding your baby, having to get up every few hours and go to the other room can make the experience more tiring.
Infants often do not sleep through the night. If your baby is in another room, you may not hear him cry. There’s no clear winner in the debate between letting a baby cry themselves to sleep and rocking them to sleep.
However, there is a safety concern to be addressed. The baby may be crying because he’s feeling uncomfortable or he may need his diaper changed, etc. It’s easier to keep tabs on these aspects when your baby is in the same room as you.
You could consider letting your baby sleep in the nursery once he starts sleeping through the night. This is usually somewhere around the time when you can also stop night feeds. Of course, as a parent you will still want to and need to check in on your baby from time to time, it will be a little safer for him to sleep in a crib in a different room.
Do keep in mind
If your child is still an infant when he/ she moves to an independent room, make sure the room is thoroughly childproofed. A crib with high walls is ideal to keep him/ her safe at night. Also, make sure there are no sharp corners or edges and that all drawers and shutters are locked securely.
When Your Child’s Things Are Overcrowding Your Room
A child may be small but they require a lot of stuff. Even as an infant, you’ve got all the clothes they need, diapers, towels, special infant soaps and shampoos, toys, books, and so on.
Giving your child an independent room where all of this can be stored and organized will make your life a lot more structured. When it comes to organizing their stuff, it’s usually not a question of should kids have their own room but, when to make this move. If you start seeing baby things all over the place, it’s probably time to set up a kid’s room.
Note, this is the best time to start organizing your baby’s belongings. Create zones for sleep and play and give everything a specific place.
In The Case Of Siblings
When it comes to siblings, when the younger sibling is ready to move out of the parent’s room, s/he usually moves into the elder sibling’s room. When do kids need their own room instead of sharing a room?
When Your Child Has An Independent Schedule
If there’s a significant age gap between the siblings, both may have independent schedules. The older child may get up earlier to play a sport or study late at night. This could affect the younger child’s sleep schedule.
Similarly, as children develop their own interests, one may want to read a book while the other may want to listen to music at the same time. This usually spells out the beginning of an argument. If you’re noticing such differences, it’s probably best for both siblings to get independent rooms.
If you don’t have an extra room available, you will need to creatively design the space and create independent areas. A simple way to do so is to use a bookcase as a space divider.
Alternatively, you may consider dividing the room into distinct sleeping and play/study zones. This way having the light on in the study zone will not disturb a child sleeping on the other side of the room.
When Your Child Develops A Need For Privacy
Privacy is a concept children need to learn about and respect from an early age. In the case of siblings where one child is in senior school and the other is in playschool, the older sibling may find it very challenging to maintain a private space. It’s a simple thing like not being able to watch a movie because it isn’t appropriate for the younger child. This is why when children become teenagers, they usually begin asking for their own room.
Balancing Privacy And Trust
As parents, you too must respect your child’s privacy but, that said, your child should trust you and be honest with you. For younger teenagers, you may choose to design the room in such a way that it cannot be locked from inside. This is important not just for trust and privacy but also for safety.
When You Want To Teach Your Child To Take Responsibility For Himself/ Herself
Having room to call their own makes children take responsibility for themselves. It’s easier to tell children to clean up their room than it is to tell them to pick up their things from all over the house.
Children are old enough to take responsibility for cleaning up after themselves at around the same time they start formal schooling.
Setting Up A Child’s Room
Setting up a child’s room is very different from designing an adult bedroom. Adults use their bedroom primarily to sleep and relax but a child’s room is where they may spend the entire day and participate in various activities.
When you design the room, break the space available into a sleep zone, a play zone, and a study zone. You don’t necessarily need walls to break the space. You could use carpets or a play on ceiling heights.
Plan plenty of storage dedicated to different types of things. Your child will need separate space for clothes, linen, toys, books, shoes, etc. Planning an efficient storage system is the foundation to keeping the room organized and giving children a goal of how to take responsibility for themselves.
Safety is another important aspect to be considered. Avoid furniture with sharp edges. When you design a room for young children, built-in furniture is safer than stand-alone pieces as they have no risk of falling or being pulled down accidentally.
Design the wiring of the room such that there are no loose cables on the floor that children could trip over. Also, all sockets should be child-proofed.
Lastly, the room must be well-lit and have plenty of ventilation.
So, Is Your Child Ready For Their Own Room?
Every child has unique needs and there is no set time frame that you can judge a child by and decide when they are ready for an independent room. To encourage the move, include your child in making decisions about doing up the room and let them feel a sense of ownership over it. If you need help deciding color schemes, planning the room, etc, we’re just a phone call away.
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