Friday, June 5, 2009

Tornado Alley - The Children's Rooms

I love my children dearly, but I struggle with teaching them to be more orderly in their ways. They thrive on routine - on knowing when things will happen - but their rooms often look like a tornado has passed through. I could continue to pick up after them until they move out, but I don't think my future daughters-in-law (or son-in-law) would appreciate that. Instead, I've tried to organize their rooms in such a way that it is easy for them to keep things picked up.


I've noticed that the younger the child, the more space they need. Cribs, toddler beds, dressers and other items work best against the wall so that there is an open space in the middle of the room. This open space works well for beginning walkers to get their "land legs" and also for playing with big toys (large connecting bricks, sorting cups and shapes, chunky people in playhouses, etc.) I asked a few friends how their children's rooms were set up and found some very similar answers.

Karen, from Georgia, is expecting her 10th child in December, and her three youngest (5, 4 & 2) share a room. Besides a bed each child also has a steamer trunk to hold clothes. Tammy, from Washington, has 7 children. In the baby's room, besides a crib and dresser, is a rocking chair and changing table. Cheryl, from Texas, has 7 children in three rooms. She has a child's bed and baby bed in one room along with two dressers. Corina, also in Texas, has 5 children. The oldest 3 share a room with a futon bunk bed (sleeps two on the bottom and one on the top,) a dresser and a chest of drawers.

As their toys get smaller (and fewer) other furniture can enter the room: shelving units, tables, vanities, sofas, bean bag chairs, etc. Older children can be quite creative with their room arrangements if given the chance. Beds can protrude into the middle of the room and desks or trunks can be placed at the foot. A bookcase can be placed at a 90 degree angle to a desk in a corner creating a nice work station. Remember Karen, the soon-to-be mother of 10? Her 6 oldest sons, ranging in age from 8 to 17, share a room (yes, a large one.) In this room you will find 3 bunk beds, 6 steamer trunks, a weight set, a sofa and chair, a stereo and a floor lamp. If her sons are anything like mine, you'll also probably find a couple of piles of books and school papers, LegoĆ¢ villages (which are not to be disturbed) and assorted plastic bins full of "collections" and various toys. (Okay, I'll admit, the bins are only half full - the other half is spread across the floor!)

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