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As adults, it's easy to forget just how intense and intimidating shadows and odd noises can be to a youngster. The website childdevelopmentinfo.com relays that "parents need to recognize that the [child's bedroom] looks totally different to the child when the lights are out." This is why parents should pay special attention to kid's room lighting and kid's room decoration.
For kids, a seemingly harmless painting or pleasantly placed piece of furniture can easily be mistaken for something far more sinister when the sun goes down. Though there's no way to completely remove every item that might give your child the shivers, a good case of the willies might be nipped in the bud by some thoughtful redecorating or remodeling.
"A child's world is full of dangers, real and imaginary,
that many adults forget they ever experienced."
-The Harvard Mental Health Letter
As adults, it's easy to put the things that scared us in our youth behind us; our kids, on the other hand, are living those experiences right now! Of course, talking to your children is the first step in creating a comfortable environment for them to grow, but a little planning goes a long way in keeping an active imagination focused on positive thoughts. When trying to reduce "creepiness," it is important to pay close attention to a few key factors that are nearly universal:
Kid's Room Lighting
Fear of the dark is something that affects just about every kid (and plenty of adults) to one degree or another; good kid's room lighting is likely to play a role in how many monsters can be found there.
- An overhead light is nice, but having another light near the bed that can be turned on and off without getting up can allow kids to ward off darkness without leaving the safety of their covers.
- Closets in kids' rooms should also be well lit, and the controls for the lights in your child's room should be easy for them to access without help.
- Kid's room lighting should be functional as well as comforting. Colored lights or imaginative colored light covers might make a room look "just darling" to adults, but functional lighting that brightens a room enough to reduce shadows and make reading easy should be your focus.
Kid's Room Decoration
Kid's room decoration is one area where parents tend to go WAY overboard. The "theme" you choose for your child's room might make Junior as uncomfortable as it makes Mom and Dad happy.
- In general, avoid planning too noticeable a decorating scheme for a kid's room until that child is old enough to establish his or her own tastes.
- Kid's room decoration is expensive, and unlike many adults, children's tastes are likely to change dramatically from month to month. Avoid making permanent decisions; this space should be allowed to develop along with your child.
- When your son or daughter is old enough to understand the term "freaked-out", make it a point to discuss their environment. Not only will kid's room decoration be less likely to appear frightening if your child helps pick it out, kids are more likely to take care of a space they feel is designed just for them.
Reducing Scary Noises around the House
The Harvard Mental Health Letter states that loud noises (along with falling) are some of the very first things that humans are afraid of. While your kid's room lighting and decoration will certainly play a role in how scary the space feels, there are other elements in and around your son or daughter's room that will have a dramatic effect, and many of them are easily altered.
- Echoing, hard surface flooring can conjure all kinds of imaginary intruders. Covering such flooring with inexpensive carpet will both reduce noise and protect the flooring underneath from the spills and scratches that come with raising kids.
- In homes where heavy storms are a regular occurrence, thunder and lightning can be an issue in itself. Don't amplify the anxiety by letting it sound like something is clawing at the windows or siding: trim away any tree limbs that come into contact with the house near your child's room.
- In areas where frozen precipitation is a part of every winter, the sound of snow and ice shifting on the roof can be startling. Adding extra insulation in the attic can muffle the sound and maybe even save you some money on heating costs.
Un-Spookifying Older Homes
Since older homes are often the biggest culprits when it comes to unsettling noises and poor lighting, these small upgrades may actually be long over due anyway.
- Noises in the night can be caused by all sorts of things. In addition to fixing squeaky stairs and creaky floor boards, you should also focus some attention on purchasing newer, quieter appliances.
- Old furnaces, radiators, and plumbing aren't just noisy, they're inefficient! Upgrading unnecessarily loud plumbing and heating systems is never a bad idea and can make your home both more energy-efficient and less frightening at the same time!
Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.