No child's play this!

No child's play this!


While doing up your child’s room make sure you don’t end up buying the wrong furniture. Often we go by what looks cute and nicely displayed in the store. Ensure that the child’s growing needs are properly taken care of while selecting furnishings and accessories. “Nowadays with fewer outdoor avenues for children, they end up spending a lot of time indoors. Special emphasis should be laid on creating this indoor environment. The room should radiate an environment that is conducive for overall development of the child,” says Dr Suman Sinha, consultant psychiatrist with World Health Organisation. 

“The child spends a lot of time in the room and therefore the ambience adds to the way s/he thinks. Ensure that the room is well lit, cheerful and motivates and energises your young one,” points out nursery teachers’ trainer Shashi Tewari. Play equipment, games that stimulate the senses, construction materials, manipulative toys, dramatic play equipment, art materials, and books and records should be easily accessible in the room to encourage independent use, and should be periodically changed to provide variety. “The first priority while doing a child’s room is undoubtedly safety concerns. Keeping in mind that children are more vulnerable than adults and their inquisitive nature often lands them in trouble, close all sockets with baby protection plugs or tapes,” advises Dr Swati Kashyap, Senior Consultant Behavioural Physician, Fortis La Femme Hospital. The room should be safe, clean, attractive, comfortable and spacious and provide a rich learning environment. “It should be furnished with developmentally appropriate activities and themes that promote the physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development of children. This encourages independence and creativity through positive interactions with the environment,” adds Dr Sinha.

For the new-borns
Always go for durable cribs. In case one’s attention slipss, little ones might roll down from their beds. Anything you buy for your baby can be used only for a short period of time and then it is stored away or taken out only for the next arrival. It is advisable to choose affordable stuff that is solid and reliable. Safety is the major consideration here and therefore select carefully.

It is also important that delicate and precious objects like table glass or any furniture with sharp corners be removed or made child proof. Wires should be well covered and loose wires should not be lying on the floor.

Light and ventilation are also important aspects. “Natural lighting prevents eye strain while reading and encourages vitamin D production in the body. The room should be properly ventilated with windows facilitating a good circulation of air,” adds Dr Kashyap.

Fun themes
Fun-themed beds are an interesting option. Install a bookcase that accommodates books of all sizes, chests and drawers that are comfortable and large enough to stack everything neatly. Bunk beds are a good option for toddler siblings. Interestingly painted chairs, chests and drawers encourage the child to use them and learn new things.
Anuja Gupta of a home furnishing store in Delhi strongly recommends wooden flooring “to keep the room warm in winters and cool in summers. This also provides a cushiony effect and the child doesn’t get hurt when falls.” Sterilisers and air purifiers are also good items to invest in, as they ensure an infection-free environment. Also do keep in mind before getting into a shopping spree that children outgrow and get disinterested in themes and toys very quickly so go one step at a time. “Ensure that the bed, table, other furniture etc is of the right size and height (preferably adjustable) according to the age of the children. It should be easy to clean and maintain so that the children can be taught to keep their room neat and clean themselves,” says Dr Kashyap. Do not forget that the room should look like a children’s room reminding anyone who sees it of their childhood. Themes are not essential but soft toys, cartoons and posters can make the room colourful and full of life.

Take the case of young parent, Loveleen, whose one-year-old never got used to the expensive toys she bought out of enthusiasm from abroad. Her daughter Tara prefers a teddy that she never let go off. Children show a preference by articulating in their own ways. So, let them have the first choice. Aparna Jain, CEO of a children’s accessories store, advises, “Use the moses basket for sometime before you shift your baby to the crib. This would ensure easy movement for the child, as and when you change locations from one room to the other and also make the child more interested in the crib once he/she is transferred to the bigger bed.”

Do keep in mind:
* There should be a lot of moving space in the room for little ones to run and play around.
* Go for innovatively shaped furniture like a car or a plane painted in bright colours to add liveliness to the room.
* Have curved fixtures around sharp edges or go in for smooth edge furniture.  
* Bunk beds ensure maximum usage of space.
* Leave space for a play area on the floor for colouring and crafts. Do put up inspiring murals and posters to encourage the child,” adds Dr Sinha.
* Ensure that the windows are covered with grills or bars.
* “Lay special emphasis on lighting. A strong light in the middle of the room, one bedside reading lamp and one near the study table is a must,” says gynaecologist and obstetrician, Dr Smita Verma.
* “Also keep plug points out of reach of children,” adds Dr Verma.
* “Avoid sharp edges, pointed nails jutting out of the cupboards or jagged hinge drawers as these can be hazardous,” says nursery teachers’ trainer Shashi Tewari.
* “Do not make the child’s room super bright just in a frenzy to add colours and vibrancy. Keep to the pastel shades that soothe both the baby and onlookers,” says Aparna Jain of children’s accessories store.

What’s in
Multifunctional furniture is ideal. “Children grow up very fast and therefore their furniture needs to be adjusted according to the age. Modifiable furniture is a good buy. Beds, tables, chairs, couches etc can customised according to the height and special needs of the child,” points out Shashi Tewari. Make sure that the child has no difficulty reaching out for drawers, cupboards, basins and even plug points. “Hanging switches are a good choice,” adds Dr Verma.

The drawers should glide in and out easily and not get stuck as it could hurt the child. Room sterilisers are the latest equipment for children’s rooms.

Pin boards and white marker boards are a good option to have in young kid’s room. As they grow, they get busier and writing down priorities is a good way of instilling responsibility and time management. 

Children’s furniture makes for an ideal gift. You can customise them to give a personal touch. “Have your kid’s names done in fabric or blocks in his/her room. This adds to the personalised touch and makes the kid feel happy about his own space,” says Anuja Gupta.

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