This week’s blog post is written by Explorer Family Mom of two, Sofia Ramos — @thesimplesplendor — to talk about the beauty of prepared, intentional spaces:
“It is no secret that at Kids Who Explore our happy place is the outdoors. However, especially during the winter, you may find yourself spending more time inside longing for those days out in nature. It is precisely during these cold, dark months that I have rediscovered the importance of home and the beauty of creating intentional and prepared spaces for me, my husband, and my two littles. Here are some strategies I use to curate a space that allows my whole family to rest, recharge, and get ready to get back out there.
While every family is different, below are a few key elements to help you create that hygge-filled space for you and your littles. When setting up a space, I like to engage as many of my children’s senses as possible. While a single space can rarely cater to all the senses, you can craft a home that has little nooks that fill up you and your child’s cup in different ways. Each of these can be tweaked to fit your parenting style and family’s needs.
What does your little one see when they enter the room or look at this corner you’ve prepared? Are their toys in order? Do their toys have a place to“live?” Is there a specific place they belong on a shelf or bin or are they placed randomly somewhere?
- Consistency and routine is key even with where you place objects. When your child knows where things go, they will feel more prepared to help you tidy up. Knowing where their belongings go also gives them a sense of ownership and responsibility when it comes to their things and area.
- Try to keep the quantity of toys to a minimum. Children (and adults) thrive when they are not overstimulated by many things. Rotating toys every few weeks has been a big help for our family as it keeps toys interesting and the home orderly.
Is this space cozy and inviting? What sensory experiences are awaiting your child?
- We enjoy keeping baskets of blankets and lambskins set up near the couch or rocking chair where the kids (and adults) like to read. Cuddling and feeling something soft is soothing to the senses.
- Older children may enjoy and benefit from fidget toys. Keeping a designated space for them in a basket will help your child know where to go when they need a break and can use some sensory release
I often overlook this one but I certainly notice it and feel so much joy when it’s there.
- Is there something delicious on the stove that fills the home with a pleasant aroma? Some soup on a cold day, perhaps? We like to diffuse essential oils in our play area and gathering spaces as well as burn candles in the evenings for an extra cozy touch.
What do you need to hear in the place you are in right now? What feeling do you wish to evoke and what sound can help you achieve that feeling?
- In many ways, sound is the easiest thing to change in a space. A white noise machine can help a child sleep more peacefully and drown out unwanted noise. A speaker can play both soothing and fun music to create a desired mood. One way we frequently curate the sound in our home is after naptime. Our kids need some time to wake up after a nap so we like to have calm music playing for them when they rise. Additionally, fun music can create the perfect atmosphere for a dance party that is sometimes the only thing that has the power of lifting our spirits when we can’t go outside!
Life is not typically one of the five senses but I find it crucial when it comes to raising compassionate and responsible littles and curating a home for them. What I like to ask myself is: aside from the humans living in your home, is there anything else alive under your roof?
- “Life” is simple: it basically means having another living thing other than yourselves to care for in your space. Having a plant or pet that you care for as a family is a way to transmit a sense of compassion and responsibility for your shared space. It’s important that your child know that their home belongs to them and that that also comes with responsibility. Giving a young child the simple task of nurturing a living thing— like a plant— is a wonderful way to do that.
Many spaces cannot be enjoyed when hunger strikes. Having a nourishing snack or meal ready for your child at predictable times in the day can help facilitate a positive experience all around. Also snacks. Always. Have. Snacks.
When I reflect on our most smooth-sailing and fulfilling times indoors, I look back on days when all our senses were adequately stimulated in some way. Preparing a space is powerful. You welcome another person into an experience you wish to share with them and this can be as much of an adventure as exploring the outdoors.”
Thank-you for reading this week’s blog post written by Sofia Ramos! Happy Exploring.
Don’t forget to tag us in your adventures using @KidsWhoExplore, #KidsWhoExplore & #KWE