How to create a calm room for the best sleep for your child

Sleep for the whole family

In the first couple of months after bringing your little human home, you’ll be prepared from some sleepless nights, regular feedings, nappy changes, and just the general expression of discomfort and discontent that may issue from the crib at regular intervals.

Generally speaking though, babies start sleeping through the night somewhere between three and six months, and when we say through the night, we mean something between six to eight hours. This is great for new parents—as the slumber and wakefulness routine of the home starts settling back to some semblance of normal. That is not to say of course that this is in all cases and doesn’t mean you’ll never sit by your little one’s bed through the night ever again, it just seems that under normal circumstances mother nature seems to ease up a little—both on the mammas and pappas!

Although for many younger babies—and also for parents—keeping the crib close at hand, in the same bedroom probably feels safer and more natural at first. But at some point, the little person will need their own little bolthole, signifying another step in the growing process, and allowing your and your partner’s sleeping arrangements to return to normal again as well.

Light Colours and Airy Spaces

At this age, or any really, there really aren’t any more “gender rules” on colors for boys’ rooms or girls' rooms. What works best is a color that is light,

soothing, attracts more natural light into the room, and doesn’t overwhelm the senses or the furniture. Light greens, blues, pinks, and yellows create a sense of space and go great with white bedroom furniture like cribs, beds, closets, and chests. Not to mention the perfect bed! At Monkey Bunks we have a range of kid’s beds to choose from, from bunk beds for sharing, loft beds for multi-purpose use—especially for older kids—to single kids beds of just the right size. Then for the bedding, depending on the general color scheme of the room, kids’ preferences in bedding colors and prints are wide and varied.

From soft pastel colors that match with airy wall colors, to bold, colorful animal prints and lollipops, you can use bed linen to “fun-up” a kid’s room and add a wild splash of color.

A nice neutral-colored floor rug rounds it off nicely, in a soft, natural grey or even a shade darker than the color on the walls themselves.

Going a bit darker is also not a bad thing, and for some this might even induce a more restful space that feels private and secluded…it really is up to you and your

child, and although in the beginning, you’d be the one choosing the coloring and décor, it won’t be long till Little Miss and Little Man starts choosing for themselves.

A bit darker and secluded

You may decide that, when it comes to sleep time, a room that’s a little bit darker may be more conducive to a restful night.

Charcoal grey walls and furniture, with a light-colored natural wood floor or an

even lighter shade of grey rug, may be just the right setting, and a room that is not too “busy” with distracting pictures and toys is the best way to go.

When I was a kid my parents put a picture of our family on my nightstand, next to my nightlight, to look at if I felt alone and far away, as well as a picture of our family pets sleeping peacefully on the living room rug.

A popular trend in room décor—and not only for kids either!—is a charcoal grey ceiling with glow in the dark or gold patterned stars, planets, comets, and moons scattered across them.  You can lie on your back for hours watching the magnificent display without even realizing that you’re slowly drifting off to dreamland.

A Room with all the Comforts

Some wall decorations, a favorite soft toy, and a nightlight that leaves an imprint of safety and coziness in the mind’s eye can make this scene complete. 

Several baby and parenting “experts”, from midwives to paediatricians to your aunty Lindsay who raised 6 babies have different opinions about when the right time is to move your child to their own bedroom. It is also important to remember that you keep an eye on your own anxieties about moving your baby to their own bed, and how your little one may be picking up on these—it really is nothing to feel bad about—a child’s life is filled with important transitions, and they can be scary for both parents and children, so don’t beat yourself up about it either.

What most experts agree upon though is that around six months, it’s best to move babies into their own rooms, even if it’s tough going the first couple of nights. For older kids, like toddlers, what can really help is if your child knows you’re within earshot, and that there is a little path of light to your bedroom or to the bathroom if they should need it.

There is a variety of low-key nightlights available, that fit into wall sockets or simply charge with a USB, and you can find them literally anywhere: Amazon, Etsy, most baby stores…just about any online store. Apart from their usefulness in lighting a path for a child, they create a great downlight atmosphere, that you could switch to when bedtime approaches. We, humans, teach our brains little habits from the moment we’re able to, and creating a downlighted “upstairs”, or any sleeping area really, eventually starts to flip a switch that tells our bodies it’s time for sleep.

If you’re sleeping area is upstairs, please don’t forget those all-important safety gates at the tops and bottoms of stairs, as a sleepy toddler, or even adult, might take a tumble in a dimly lit space. Although you are likely to come out of it with a few bruises, it can be quite a bit more serious for a little body to take a fall down a flight of stairs.

Soft Dreams of Far Away Places

Last but not least, a favorite cuddly toy, a picture of a child’s dreamscape, and a beautiful nightlight make a bedroom a homeroom for a youngster.

Purely biologically speaking, humans like to hold onto something, especially when they’re sleeping—the closeness acts on the limbic system (the mammalian part of our brains), which also explains why babies like being rocked and swayed gently from side to side. Being herd animals ourselves, the comfort of another body to snuggle up to is just the best. Most toddlers I know have a favorite soft toy, named to designate it as theirs. And having this little thing that belongs to them in bed can do much to dispel a half-conscious confusion about where they are in the middle of the night.

A warm, soft-colored nightlight, dimmed down but emitting a warm glow is another great help to a child who wakes in confusion after a bad dream, as a reminder that they’re safe, in their bed, in their home, and with their people.

Children learn to soothe themselves and develop healthy sleeping habits when left to their own devices, as long as they (and you!) know that mom or dad is within earshot.

There are also many things you can do to make this transition as pleasant and comfortable as possible, for all of you. Creating a cozy, comfortable sleeping space for your child that’s inviting and captures the imagination, will go a long way to lower anxieties and increase comfort.

And finally, while we humans still have the ability to jump feet first into fantasy when we’re children, why not indulge that fantasy to its full extent?

Removable fabric wall stickers are a great way to paste the images children see in storybooks, on television, in their favorite films, and in the natural world around them into their personal domains. It gradually helps them realize that they are part of this world, and everything in it, from the plants and creatures of our planet to the great universe beyond, and even to the incredible inventiveness of our own minds. Placing a couple of reminders on your child’s bedroom wall of dreamscapes, earthscapes, and fantasy scapes is a great way for them to learn about a vast outer world, the magic of exploration, and the power of dreams.