I am so excited to introduce to you guest contributor, Aby, who wanted to share with you her experience decorating with kids – and how she turned it into an educational hands-on experience. She used her twin sons’ bedroom remodel as a way to get them to disconnect from devices and really involve them in both the decision-making process and the actual work! Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.
Boost Your Kids’ Mental Development by Decorating with Kids:
Disclaimer: this post is purely editorial and does not contain medical or professional advice. Always listen to your doctor, healthcare provider, or mental health professional above what you read on a blog.
Being a parent is both scary and exhilarating. I don’t think anything could have prepared me for this role. I have a constant worry about my kid’s safety and wellness. Is he safe in the playground? Is he getting good sleep at night? Is he learning enough to prepare him for the future?
During one of my weekly get-together with my friends, who are first-time mothers, we talked about kids’ behavioral patterns. Ginny shared that her 7-year-old daughter won’t go out to play with other children and would spend hours on stretch playing games on her tablet.
My friend and her husband thought that introducing their child to technology would help in her mental development. This is true, but as the saying goes, too much of anything is bad.
Ginny’s little girl has been exhibiting untoward behaviors recently. She’s withdrawn, throws explosive temper tantrums and easily agitated.
Too much screen time
Photo courtesy of Unsplash via Pexels
Unregulated use of electronic gadgets can wreck havoc a person’s body clock, whether a child or an adult. Smartphones and tablets emit blue light that suppress the sleep hormone melatonin. The light tricks the brain into thinking that it’s daytime while you’re browsing Facebook after dinner.
Ginny’s problem may be rooted in the fact that her daughter is not getting sufficient sleep because of too much screen time. The changes in her child’s mood and behavior are consistent with sleep deprivation.
The power of art
There are a lot of things that can keep children busy other than handing them a smartphone or tablet. One of these is doing arts and crafts. According to the New York Center for Arts and Education, exposing kids to arts help them learn to think creatively, express their feelings, and practice several skills such as problem solving and critical thinking.
Last spring, my husband and I planned an arts program of sorts for our 8-year-old twin sons. We let them help in planning and executing home décor plans in our new apartment. We gave our kids an important task: decorating ideas for their shared bedroom.
Colors and kids’ emotions
I pitched the “kids’ bedroom designs” project to my friends. I saw hesitation in their faces. How else can we know the bedroom designs that kids will love than to let them do the designing?
I’m not discounting the many benefits of playing computer games and allowing kids to explore technology, but these are not the only options out there.
Also, I believe that we should start teaching our little ones the virtue of creating something instead of simply consuming. We can start by allowing them to decorate their personal space—their bedroom.
Our first assignment for our boys was to choose palettes for their room. Every parent should know the effect of colors to kids’ behavior. A study published in The Journal of Genetic Psychology suggested that colors can trigger certain emotions in children.
According to respondents, kids between 5 and 6.5 years old, bright colors such as pink, blue and red make them feel happy while dark hues like brown, black and gray make them feel gloomy and sad.
As kids age, girls’ love for bright colors increases while boys tend to prefer darker shades.
Visual learning and decision making
My twin sons chose lots of blues and reds, and my husband used this as an opportunity to suggest sports-themed DIY bedroom designs. He was a varsity player in his high school basketball team and eventually went to college on an athletic scholarship. He made it his life’s mission to get our kids into sports.
Well, the boys didn’t need much convincing especially when their Dad promised to place a basketball ring in their room.
Andre, the older twin, suggested that we decorate their walls with “stuff about sports.” He drew his concept on a piece of paper like a boss architect. I couldn’t be prouder.
I read tons of studies and articles on the benefits of visual learning on kids. Graphic symbolism such as colors and shapes can help children make better decisions in later life.
“Children need to know more about the world than just what they can learn through text and numbers. Art education teaches students how to interpret, criticize, and use visual information, and how to make choices based on it,” according to Dr. Kerry Freedman, head of Art and Design Education at Northern Illinois University.
Raising inventive and forward-thinking kids
Doing art and crafts encourages kids to be inventive. “The kind of people society needs to make it move forward are thinking, inventive people who seek new ways and improvements, not people who can only follow directions,” said MaryAnn Kohl, a bestselling children’s books author. “Art is a way to encourage the process and the experience of thinking and making things better,” she added.
Our sons would roll their sleeves and draw their plans for their bedroom:
- Where should they keep their toys? What design is cool for their clothes boxes?
- Should they have tents inside their room?
- What about a swing?
Meanwhile, my husband and I would keep ourselves busy researching for bedroom DIY tips. We searched for practical ways to make our sons’ plans come true. They were the architects, we the construction workers.
When the time for physical work arrived, our kids helped out in some tasks. Andre and his younger twin Joshua got their hands into wall painting, with my husband’s supervision. Their crafts were adorned on the walls, shelves and tables.
Getting our kids into arts was not only good for our kids but also helpful to me and husband. It was a genius way of encouraging them to disconnect from their electronic gadgets and spend time with us.
I myself found my work-related stress level decrease throughout the bedroom decorating project. Sure, I would worry a bit if the carpet I ordered would arrive on time or whether the curtains would fit the windows, but these were happy problems I share with my family.
Watching TV together on Saturday nights are fun, but nothing beats doing an art and decorating project with your family and seeing your combined hard work come into fruition.
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How have you used creativity to help your kids disconnect from their gadgets? Comment below!
About the author: Aby is a qualitative researcher and a passionate writer. She writes mostly about health, psychology, technology, and marketing.