Categories
Home and Hearth Travel

I Wasn’t Meant to be a Homeowner

Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

It’s a bill of goods we all get sold. Home ownership is the height of the American dream. Once you own a home you have security and a place to call your own. You’ve made it.

Well, I own a very beautiful home that has provided my family with wonderful memories and space to grow in. It’s a 200-year old home originally built by a former mayor of our town who went on to be a New York senator. I have loved the home since the first time I visited Bath, New York, and bought it sight-unseen when it went on the market while we were living in Idaho and knew we would be moving back.

But I don’t like owning a home.

It’s a beautiful home with a wide, majestic entryway, 12-foot tall ceilings, and enough space that even the three generations of us currently living here have plenty of space.

There are so many responsibilities that come with home ownership that I just don’t like. Like yard work. The 1/3-acre lot is great for the kids and grandkids to run around in, but it’s also so much mowing and so many weeds. And the perimeter half-mile of sidewalk has to be shoveled so often thanks to our New York winters.

But more than just the upkeep, owning a home means having to stay in the same place. As someone who has moved 25 times in 48 years, I get a little antsy when I’m in the same place for too long. We’ve owned this home since April 2008, and other than renting it out for the two-year Utah nightmare experiment, we’ve lived in this house. I do love it. I love the space, the layout, the front porch, the lilacs I planted that bloom so well every year…but I don’t like being in the same place for so long. We’ve been back since December 2015 and I’m feeling tied down.

Our youngest child will be leaving for college; our daughter and her husband and two kids are eventually going to find their way to England – and then what? Keep being stuck in this great big beautiful house in this tiny little town that doesn’t even have a bowling alley or movie theater?

I can’t see that being the right future for me or my husband. For one thing, if the grandkids are in England, you can bet I am going to want to be there as often as possible. And traveling full-time has a lot appeal, even if we stop here and there for months at a time to do some in-depth exploring.

This home has been good to us and for our family, but it’s time to be brave and let go of home ownership.

Anyone looking to buy a house?

Categories
Family Home and Hearth Kid Safety

Family Safety

Recently, a home burned down in our community and left a family homeless and without any of their belongings. It’s heartbreaking when something like that happens, and I am always grateful for the volunteer fire department in our village for their rapid response and extraordinary efforts. They often save lives even in times when they cannot save structures. It made me realize how important it is to have an emergency plan.

Every emergency plan should start with prevention.

  • Change the batteries in your smoke detectors every six months. If you have 10-year smoke detectors, as we’re required to in New York, test them every six months to make sure they work.
  • Make sure entries and exits to your home are accessible and functional (including windows).
  • Install a CO2/Carbon Monoxide detector.
  • Have fire extinguishers in logical places – the kitchen, near your fireplace, in your basement or garage.

Designate a Meeting Place

In the chaos of a fire or other emergency, your family may get separated. Designate a meeting place ahead of time where you’ll all agree to meet. We’ve designated our neighbor’s home, which is across the street from us and a safe space for us in time of emergency. The Red Cross actually suggests having two meeting places – one for outside of your home in case of a fire, and one outside of your neighborhood in case it’s an emergency that prevents you from getting to your home.

Establish the Escape Route

There are eight people in our home, on two floors covering more than 2400 square feet. We have three exits in three different parts of the house and two access points to the basement, from which there are another two exits to the outside. Knowing where each person should go depending on where the fire is or what the emergency is can be daunting – but if you don’t think about it when your head is clear and focused, you’ll be scrambling during an emergency.

Plan Your Communications

Who would you need to tell you are safe? How would you communicate with each other? Do your kids understand what they need to do in an emergency? What if they are home alone?

Establishing, discussing, and practicing your families evacuation and emergency plan is essential. To help you develop your emergency plan, visit these helpful resources:

Red Cross

FEMA (PDF)

DHS

Ready.Gov

Categories
Home and Hearth

4 Tips for an Organized Playroom

Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

Playrooms and children’s bedrooms are the best room in any house. It’s where the magic happens. It’s the room where superheroes live, the place where princesses have their castles, the place where little girls get to pretend to be mommy’s and little boys get to drive their cars all over the place. Playrooms are wonderful, but they can be messy. Clean up time is never fun, but with these tips, it can be a little easier to keep the room clean.

Tip One: Less is More

We are big believers in not buying anything that isn’t bought with purpose, and even still, decluttering is a necessary habit. One of the best ways to keep your child’s room clean and usable is to declutter frequently. Remove toys and clothes they’ve outgrown, even if you box them up and save them for the next kid. Get rid of toys that are no longer used, and don’t buy more toys without giving a few away first.

Tip Two: Teach Your Children To Clean

A great way to teach responsibility is to help your child learn to care for their own space. Children – even one- and two-year olds – can be taught to clean up after themselves.

Tip Three: Everything In Its Place

Have a place for everything in your playroom. Shelves and tubs for books, toys, and blocks make a big difference.

Tip Four: Get In A Routine

Kids love routine. They like to know when and what they are going to be doing. If your child knows that every day before lunch their room gets cleaned and each day before bedtime the room gets cleaned again, they will come to expect it and they will even help you clean. See tip number two for more help getting your child to help with the cleaning.

Those are just a few tips to help keep your child’s room organized. The biggest thing to remember is not to get frustrated if it’s messy sometimes. Making the mess is half the fun.

Categories
Home and Hearth

The Journey to Minimalism: Less is More

I’ve traveled a lot and moved even more, but the journey to minimalism was the best trip I’ve ever taken.

Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

When I was young, I collected porcelain dolls. I had tons of them lining the shelves of my bedroom, until I watched a movie about dolls that came to life and killed people. I started collecting something much less scary after that (ha!) – clowns. Not just any clowns, of course, but the Emmett Kelley Junior collectible, limited edition clowns. It started by getting one as a gift from my parents when I turned 18 and just spiraled from there. Somewhere along the way, I started collecting stuffed bunnies, then porcelain bunnies too, and even ceramic bunnies for my porch. Dave collected (amassed) thousands of records – enough boxes to line a wall three boxes high and 12 wide – and at one point had almost 1000 CDs. Oh – and let’s not forget the 16 long boxes of comics. And we’re English majors. You can only imagine how many boxes of books there were.

Moving, moving, and more moving

And then we started moving cross-country. The first trip, from Boise, Idaho to Bath, New York, we didn’t have a lot of furniture to bring, so we boxed and brought all the books, CDs, records, comics, and clowns. The second move, from Bath, New York to Reno, Nevada, we left behind the dining room table set that I loved (and the china cabinet and buffet that went with it) to have enough room for the boxes of comics, books, bunnies, and clowns. Six months later, we found ourselves moving from Reno back to Boise, and it was only the good packing skills of my cousin that kept us from having to sacrifice more, although we did have to get rid of a lot of furniture even for that move.

Less stuff was more practical

Each time we moved (and there were three more cross-country moves after the move from Reno to Boise) packing up those boxes of books, CDs, records, clowns, bunnies, and comics drained us more. When we moved from Boise back to New York, it was exhausting. My collection that began as an enjoyable hobby was nothing but a nuisance, as I carefully packed and unpacked numerous boxes over and over (and over) again. We didn’t even really like our stuff anymore. Reducing the amount of our belongings began as a matter of practicality. There was simply not enough room on the moving truck for everything we owned in our house, and with each subsequent move, things would be left behind that we did’t replace. I don’t think any of us realize how much stuff we collect through the years until each room is broken down. It’s also a completely different story when you’re moving across country, and not across town. It either fits on the moving truck, or it doesn’t come at all.

That’s when we discovered minimalism, which, for us, was made easier by the improvements in digital technology (streaming services for movies and music, ebooks).

Before moving from New York to Salt Lake City, we started really embracing the idea of shedding some of the “stuff” of our lives. We started selling off Dave’s comic collection. He digitized his record collection and we sold those; we repeated the process with many of the CDs. Already we were about 60 boxes lighter than the last time we’d moved. We still hauled books, clowns, bunnies, and DVDs to Utah. We used ABF U-Pack to move to Salt Lake. We needed 18 feet on the truck and took no furniture. Two years later, when we moved back from Utah to New York, we’d made so much progress in embracing minimalism that we only needed 10 feet on the ABF trailer – and that included living room furniture.

With our last move, I was brutal. Clothes I’d been saving for “just in case” I had to go back to corporate work got donated, as did anything I didn’t wear anymore but just had hanging in the closet. Our closet now is paltry, and we each only have three plastic drawers for other clothes. Even in this, I see things I could get rid of:

I even tore apart and digitized most of the 40 photo albums I’d been hauling around (digital frames are awesome). And we started the process of digitizing our DVDs, the rest of our CDs, and as many books as possible, keeping only ones we were really connected to.

Suddenly I didn’t have collections at all anymore. I didn’t own half the amount of clothes or knick-knacks. I have a few precious items that I’ve saved over the years, but the total of them could easily leave a china cabinet half empty.  We went from barely being able to move around our home (we moved back to the same home we’d lived in before) because of all the stuff to really being able to appreciate how huge it is.

Now, our home décor is made up of paintings that I’ve done myself, digital frames that offer a slideshow of photos, and a few special canvas prints (like this one from Canvas on the Cheap of my favorite wedding photo).

I feel free.

I didn’t realize how much my possessions were holding me back from what I truly enjoyed, which is traveling. I’d much rather spend money on a hotel than yet another collectible. If I decide to move, packing is a breeze. The journey to minimalism has been a trip worth taking.

Possessions truly weigh you down in more ways than one. As a current homeowner that can’t wait to break free, I look forward to the day when all I own is a backpack and a suitcase filled with the essentials. We will probably rent a small storage space for personal items that are too precious to throw away, like the time capsule I can’t open until my 25th wedding anniversary. But we don’t need stuff. In fact, for the last few years, we’ve even stopped asking for gifts for our birthdays and Christmas. The kids get creative and give us movie and dinner gift cards so that we can get away, but really, all I need is my family, my passport, and a new destination.

I’ll trade the stuff for experiences every time.

Categories
Home and Hearth

Home Buying? This Mom Has Commitment Issues

Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

Let me start by saying I am very committed to my family. I am happily married to my husband, and plan to be for many years, and I am thrilled with my position as a mom to one little girl and soon-to-arrive little boy. I am committed to family and friends, and anything that I dedicate my time to.

I am NOT committed to places.

It’s expected of my husband and I to eventually settle down, buy a home, and let our kids grow up in the same neighborhood and attend the same school as all their friends. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?

But ew.

What if I want to, I don’t know, move? Like, to a brand-new place?

“But think of the children!”

Yeah, I don’t think moving to a new place is going to scar my children for life. They’ll be alright. Between my husband and myself, my kids will have all the stability they need. So, no, I don’t consider home buying a necessity.

I consider home buying a restriction to my adventures.

Even my husband will bring up wanting to buy a house someday. Even just stay settled for ten or so years, let the kids finish school and get their lives figured out. And I do understand that rationale, truly. But EWWWWW.

Even the thought of staying in the same place for five years drives me insane. I’ve been in one place now for about three and I’m so very tired of it. I crave somewhere new, and this is likely because I grew up moving all the time. Sure, I cried leaving friends sometimes, but I did get over it. There were always new friends, and I’m thrilled to have been in so many places. It encourages less ignorance and I think makes people well-rounded individuals. A new perspective never hurt anybody.

I can take my family anywhere, and honestly, technology has made it so we can keep relationships regardless of distance. Good friendships won’t fade if we’re no longer neighbors. And kids are resilient. They don’t need a home that I’ve bought and paid for. They need a space where they are loved and cared for, and they’ll always have that.

Perhaps my husband will talk me into home buying someday, but I can’t make promises we won’t sell after the kids are settled. My husband has also promised lots of trips to beaches and exotic lands in exchange for home buying, so that better be a real thing. Or maybe I can talk him into renting and then still take all those vacations. Settling in one place just sounds so blah.

I have commitment issues when it comes to places, and I probably always will. There’s nothing wrong with a little adventure, and I’d rather invest in new experiences than a stationary piece of property. Sure, there are benefits to owning your own home, but is it worth sacrificing the ability to pack and leave everything behind? I don’t think so.

Categories
Family Home and Hearth Parenting

Enough Is Enough. Take the Damn Guns.

Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

Today was supposed to be just another wedding post, because yesterday was Valentine’s Day and it’s the season of love and we’re all happy with our chocolate indulgences and date nights.

No.

There are now 17 sets of parents who will forever mark Valentine’s Day as the DAY THEIR KID DIED SENSELESSLY IN YET ANOTHER MASS SHOOTING.

Valentine’s Day is yet another day where “thoughts and prayers” are supposed to heal those wounds, while inaction from Congress is all that we expect.

Valentine’s Day is now just another day where we switch from the news to the latest reality show and go on with our lives because we’ve become so used to gun violence in schools that we hardly bear witness to the ABSOLUTE HORROR of it.

Columbine should have resulted in gun laws.

Sandy Hook should have resulted in gun laws.

And Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School needs to result in gun laws.

We are 46 days into 2018. The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida was the EIGHTEENTH incidence of gun violence at a school this year. There have been 290 school shootings since 2013. There have been 8 school shootings in 2018.

Since Sandy Hook (2012) there have been 438 deaths from school shootings. Want to know how many SOLDIERS have been killed in Afghanistan in the same amount of time? 528.

It’s almost safer to be a soldier in war than it is to be a student in an American school.

Nothing is going to change as long as Congress is funded by the NRA 

This isn’t political. This isn’t democrat vs. republican. This is LIFE VS DEATH

The ONLY way we will be able to actually cause action that saves the lives of our children is to vote for people who won’t take money from or be influenced by the NRA.

I’m not talking about taking away the rights of hunters. I’m not talking about coming door to door and removing everyone’s guns. But it’s time to go back to NO ASSAULT rifles. There was a ban on assault rifles in place from 1994-2004, and during that time, deaths from mass shootings fell.

Banning assault weapons isn’t the total solution. It’s a start. It needs to be accompanied by better mental health support, a strengthening of our education system, better medical care, addressing poverty, and many other policy-related issues. But it starts by taking the damn guns.

 

Image source: Gun Violence Archive

Categories
Home and Hearth Stress Management

5 Tips for Planning Your Next Move

Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

Do you live your life planning your next move? I do.

We move often enough that my friends check to make sure where we are before sending Christmas cards each year. They only pencil in our mailing address because they know it’s bound to change.

You can imagine their surprise when we actually managed to be in the same place for the third Christmas in a row. (To be fair, we’ve only been here for a little over two years – we just happened to arrive right before Christmas 2015).

But yeah, I’m ready to move again.

Last year, I satisfied the urge by moving all the kids. Parker and Anika moved upstairs, and Kira, Louis, and Hallie moved downstairs. But unless I’m willing to give up my room (I’m not – it’s closest to the downstairs bathroom and the only room with a closet – our house is 200 years old), there’s nothing left to rearrange.

If I can’t move, I can at least help someone else get through their move more easily – since for some reason, no one seems to enjoy it as much as I do. These 5 tips can make planning your next move easier:

Simplify

Most of us live in the midst of clutter and accumulated items that we may no longer need, want or use on a daily or even a yearly basis. By getting rid of some of these unused items, you can free up valuable space inside your current home. The process of reducing clutter can streamline cleaning and organizing to a considerable degree; additionally, discarding or donating unwanted items now can help to reduce the work necessary when it is time to move to a new home. When we were moving back to New York from Utah, we spent a great deal of time getting rid of stuff and simplifying our lives. When we finally rented our ABF trailer, we only needed 10 feet of space, compared to the 18 feet we needed when moving there two years prior.

Pack Sooner than Later

Pack what you can live without as soon as you can live without it. We packed:

  • Seasonal clothing as soon as we didn’t need it
  • Books, movies, and music we had to keep but could live with being in boxes for a few months
  • Collectibles and home decor

In many cases, as we started packing, we were able to ask ourselves one last time if we really needed the thing we were planning to haul with us again, and often got rid of even more stuff.

Recognize that Some Things Are Easier to Repurchase than to Move

Especially if you are paying for a moving truck and trying to minimize the space you must pay for, consider what takes up a lot of room that might be easier to just repurchase when you arrive at your destination. Dining room tables and chairs take up a lot of room on moving trucks, but typically can be replaced at a reasonable price compared to the space they use on the truck. We almost always ditch dining room sets and worn out or well-used furniture pieces. This last time we moved, we even ditched our shelving units and bought new ones from IKEA that we left in the box until we arrived.

Inventory and Photos

If you’re paying someone else to do the moving for you, it’s a good idea to snap some photos of items before they’re loaded just in case they are damaged. And for sure make an inventory of everything being loaded onto the truck. We always do our own loading and use ABF trailers. They drop the trailer, we load it and lock it, they pick it up and drive it across the country for us. It’s cheaper than a full-service move (because it’s a hell of a lot more work) but it’s a good way to not have to drive the moving truck yourself (been there, done that, too).

Pay for Muscle

Four times we moved cross-country and did all the work ourselves, packing and loading. I don’t mind packing, but the older I get, the less I like doing the loading. This last move, we hired local loaders to come pack up most of the house and load up the truck for us. They made fast work of it, getting most of the stuff out of the house that would have taken us days to do in only a few hours.

By taking a few simple steps to prepare for your next move now, you can streamline the process and ensure that your relocation efforts are successful and less stressful whenever your big day occurs.

As for me, the next time I move, it will likely be with not much more than I can carry in a backpack and suitcase. That’s the goal anyway.

Categories
Home and Hearth

Decorating for the Holidays

Shadra Bruce

To be honest, I’m not much of an interior designer. My furniture would stay in the same place forever if we weren’t making room for extra people. But this time of year, it’s fun to bring a little holiday spirit into every room, and even I get into the spirit. Try these ideas –

Light Up Your Home with Candles

christmas candlesCandles are one of the easiest ways to make your home cozier for the holidays. While scented candles are ideal for use in bathrooms and guest rooms, unscented candles should be used in kitchen and dining areas so that they don’t compete with the delicious smells of food. Create the perfect look by grouping several candles together, or create an eye-catching centerpiece with a large, multi-wick candle on a mirrored plate or tray.

Chase Away Chills with Throw Blankets

cozy blanketsBlankets and throws in rich colors and soft, inviting fabrics are essential accessories for this time of year. From burgundy to forest green, from velvet to flannel, you can create a welcoming and warm space with these simple additions of color and texture. Flannel or fleece sheets on the guest room bed can be a welcome touch, too.

Go Top Shelf

 If you do not have a bar cart, this is certainly the time of year to add one to your entry way or living room. A bar cart welcomes everyone with an always-ready-to-entertain style. Use cut crystal decanters and offer a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic options for guests to help themselves. Decorate with live fruit and sprigs of mint. Don’t forget to put out fresh ice when guests arrive. Chris Bowman and Benjamin Harrison of Let’s Drink About It provided HuffPost a fabulous guide to the well-stocked bar cart.

Dress Up the Guest Room

guest roomIf your guest room has become your craft space, workout space, or additional storage, now is a great time to create a welcoming space for holiday guests. While a comfortable mattress and luxury bedding should be standard for any guest room, it’s the details that make all the difference. To make your guests feel like they are in a home away from home, provide a sitting area with a comfortable chair and throw blanket. Leave a card on the nightstand with your Wi-Fi username and password. Consider a mini fridge stocked with bottled water and juice. Provide towels, washcloths, shampoo and soap in a basket with a candle.

Christmas Up the Fireplace Mantle

christmas fireplace mantleNo home’s holiday look is complete without the right décor for the holiday mantel. Fresh pine branches, red ribbons, cinnamon scented pine cones, and stockings hung with care create a Rockwell scene straight from the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. You can also use the mantel to carry your holiday color scheme through the home by placing extra ornaments in glass jars on the mantel and decorating with garlands or ribbons in complementary colors. Lights, candles, miniature trees, or an all-white winter wonderland can also create a cozy, holiday feeling.

Categories
Frugal Living Home and Hearth

Baby Basics: Organic Ingredients and Recipes for DIY Baby Products

Getting Real With Katie Bugbee

As mothers, we have become Master Multi-taskers, so why should we expect any less from the products in our kitchen cabinets?

Fortunately, you can make many “diaper bag” products with just a few simple pantry ingredients.

The problem with so many baby creams is that they contain mineral oil, which has gross chemicals in it. Plus, it only seals skin from losing moisture – rather than adding nutrients to it. Instead, you should either look for products that have natural oils as their base – or make them yourself.

Here are the natural products you’ll need to make most DIY baby creams and remedies (or be sure to look for these in the products you buy):

  • Coconut Oil: a great substitute for those iconic yellow jars of petroleum jelly that we all used for everything growing up. Can usually be found in the baking aisle of your favorite grocery store.
  • Almond Oil: light enough to use in combination with other products, but substantial enough to use on its own. And since it has some inherent antimicrobial properties, it offers an additional layer of protection to our little ones.
  • Vegetable Glycerin: a liquid extracted from plant oils (typically palm, soy or coconut), this is commonly found in lotions, toothpastes and shampoos, largely because it attracts moisture to the skin and aids in absorption. This is a great substitute for the alcohol found in herbal tinctures and medicinal rubs.
  • Beeswax: this ancient and pure wax is not only completely sustainable and 100% natural, but it’s also frequently included in lotions and creams for its thickening properties that create a rich and creamy texture. Beeswax is also prized for its ability to form a protective coating on the skin.
  • Oatmeal: not only nutritious as a food, oatmeal is also beneficial to external skin, and has been used for centuries to draw out the heat in irritated skin and help the body retain moisture to assist in its own healing.
  • Shea Butter: endorsed around the globe as a champion moisturizer, it penetrates deep into the skin to deliver extreme conditioning and long-lasting coverage for intense healing of irritated, damaged and dehydrated skin.

Homemade Soothing Oatmeal Soak

⅓ cup oatmeal/oats (instant, quick cooking or regular)

  1. In a food processor, grinder or blender, pulse the oatmeal on the highest setting until it becomes a fine powder.
  2. Draw a warm bath and sprinkle the pulverized oat powder into the water until it dissolves.
  3. Allow baby to soak for 15-20 minutes and pat dry (avoid rubbing, as this can irritate the skin).

This soak can be a preliminary step before applying either one of the two homemade baby creams below or as a soothing bath to keep baby’s skin smooth, soft and supple.

Homemade Baby Lotion

  • ½ cup almond oil
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup beeswax
  1. Combine everything in a glass jar (Mason jars or pickle/olive jars are fine) and cover it loosely with the lid. From here, place the jar into a medium saucepan with a couple of inches of water over medium heat.
  2. Shake or stir the jar occasionally and once all ingredients are melted, remove from heat and place aside to cool. Store in a cool, dry place.

*Adding more beeswax will make a thicker cream, similar to body butter.

Homemade Diaper Rash Cream

  • ½ cup Shea butter
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon beeswax
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable glycerin
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the Shea butter, coconut oil and beeswax together.
  2. Remove from heat and add the vegetable glycerin.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture until it begins to solidify into a smooth cream.
  4. Pour into a jar and let it cool. When it’s room temperature, cover with a lid and store in a cool, dry place.

Since these creams are best when used within one year to 24 months, they make fantastic gifts for friends and family with little ones!

What other types of homemade baby products have you made?

Katie Bugbee is the senior managing editor and resident parenting expert of Care.com. A busy working mother of two, she’s an expert on many parenting dilemmas, from appeasing picky eaters to finding the perfect babysitter.

* This article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be providing medical advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The reader should always consult a health care provider concerning any medical condition or treatment plan. Neither Care.com nor the author assumes any responsibility or liability with respect to use of any information contained herein.

Categories
Home and Hearth

Designing a Creative Home Office Study Space for Kids

As a work-from-home mom, I understand the value of having a dedicated space that allows me to concentrate and work productively. Wanting to provide the same for my kids, who are reaching the age where homework and projects are prioritized, I reached out to Richard Campen at Archway Press to give us some design ideas to help create great work spaces for the kids.

MomsGetReal Guest Contributor Richard Campen

Your home is designed to bring joy and accommodate the needs of the family. As your children get older, you will have to make changes to your home to accommodate their specific needs. One of the changes that you may ultimately have to make is creating a workspace or study room for your kids. This is vital to facilitating their academic demands and the challenges that are associated with them.

The studying dynamic for youth today has changed. There used to be a time in which children simply studied in their room, but that has changed drastically as we are now living in the age of internet.

  • Children are exposed to computers and other technologically advanced devices at a much earlier age, allowing them to have access to the expansive information that is at their fingertips via the web.

  • Building a workspace for your kids will create an environment that will foster their ability to research, organize and learn.

You may be thinking that you can simply send the kids into your office to use your computer and study, but the idea of a workspace for the kids is to create an environment that is kid friendly and some place they can call their own.

Height Relative Furniture and Shelving

If your children are not yet as tall as the adults in the house, their ability to reach items or sit comfortably at a full size desk may be limited. You will want to create shelving that they can access easily without having to climb or use a chair. You will also want to fill this space with furniture that is suitable for children of their age and size.

Some ideas for furniture and shelving are:

  • Waist-high to chest-high shelving

  • Age- and height-appropriate seating

  • Work stations that are easily accessible

  • Storage benches that are easily accessible

Color Coding

Colors play a major role in impacting human moods and personalities. How you use colors in this workspace will have a massive impact on the effectiveness of the room. Colors also play a major role in the learning process. Color coding is used quite often to distinguish different types of subjects and tasks.Take the time to familiarize yourself with colors so that you can create color coded work stations for your kids.Having multiple workstations that are conducive for learning in a particular academic discipline can be fun and effective for your child.

Regardless of the gender of your child, there are certain colors that you will want to avoid such as black and red. Colors that work well are lighter shades of blue, as well as yellow and green. Take the time to learn if your child is using a specific color coding system at school and then attempt to facilitate the system in the work station.

Multiple Children

If you have more than one child you will also want to consider creating work stations that are specific to each child, as they will give your child a sense of identity in creating a work and study environment that supports their strengths and preferences. The more you personalize the areas, the more your children will identify with the space and the more they will be willing to head into their study time.

Decor

Consider how you will decorate the walls of your kid’s study room. Considerable research has been done in this area that reveals that the type of artwork that is on the wall can play a major role in stimulating your child’s mind as they study. You may also want to consider placing school and learning relating items, such as chalk boards and math charts, onthe wall as well. Another idea for the walls would be wall cubbies for the storage of certain items or materials. It will have an exceptional aesthetic appeal while maintaining the practical theme of the space being built.

Lounge Areas

Most experts have different views on the effectiveness of a lounge area in a kid’s workspace environment. Some believe it creates a sense of comfort while giving the children a new area to hang out and relax, while others believe that having a lounge in a study area does not support focus. If you decide to add a lounge setting, make the effort to ensure that it is consistent with the theme of the workspace.

You know your kids better than anyone, making you the perfect person to determine the best route to take in converting a particular part of your home into their personal workspace.

 

Image source: Flickr

Richard Campen has over 30 years of experience helping people create their dream homes. At Archway Press, Inc. you’ll find a premium collection of house plans and custom made garage plans created by country’s leading designers.