“Whatcha you doin,’ Mommy?”
I still remember waking up with my two year olds cute little face pressed to mine as she asked that question. Emma had discovered that her super human two year old strength allowed her to climb out of her crib. My heart beat a little faster, and as I gently made her back up, I realized I no longer had a little baby on my hands. I had a big girl who was ready to make some major transitions in her life! That very day we sat down as a family and began talking about turning our nursery into a room better suited to a growing toddler.
One of the most obvious results of having a baby around the house is to turn two good people into complete idiots who probably wouldn’t have been much worse than mere imbeciles without it. ~Georges Courteline, La Philosophie de Georges Courteline
The first thing my husband and I did was talk with our daughter about what it means to be a big kid. In her eyes, it was pretty simple: being a big kid meant sleeping in a big kid bed and playing with big kid toys. While Emma worked on pulling out toys she felt were too babyish, my husband and I began the search online for the perfect bed. We found one at a local store that fit our needs and could be used for many years to come.
I have to admit that putting away the crib was a little difficult for me. It felt like I was closing a door on a part of my life that had been wonderful, but then I realized that there was so much to look forward to. That thought made it easier to pull out the other things we were no longer using like the change table and the rocking chair.
A Fresh Start
I asked my daughter what she wanted to do with her room. She scrunched up her face and thought for a moment before saying, “Me want to be a princess!” Her room was already painted in a soft, pastel pink which lent itself easily to becoming a princess room. With some white chair railing placed on the center of the wall and faux crown molding along the ceiling line, we were on our way. I found a Disney princess mural which added the perfect storybook touch the room and even added a few sparkling stars here and there to complete a magical effect. We found inexpensive pink curtains and a matching lampshade, too. Of course, the thing that got my daughter excited the most was having new princess bed sheets! She couldn’t wait to go to bed that first night.
However, if princess sheets aren’t your child’s thing, consider other themes such as butterflies or even putting up wooden decorative ABCs. Another idea is to paint your child’s name or spell it out on the wall with wooden letters that can be purchased at an art supply store. Does your son or daughter have a favorite movie? Consider using that as a room theme, too. Paint the walls with their favorite character or stencil quotes from the movie on the wall. For a really nice touch, find a lava lamp to serve as a night light.
Creating Play Space
Once the cosmetic touches were complete in the room, it was time to begin thinking about how to best use the space. Toddlers are active and absorb lots of information. I really wanted this new Big Kid room to have certain areas where specific activities were emphasized. With that in mind, my husband created a bookshelf that sat next to a pink bean bag. This served as our reading center. I refurbished a child sized table and chairs, using them in our science/art center. All the blocks, Legos, and other toys were placed in a section of the room where they could be accessed easily, but also stored efficiently.
Enjoying the New Room
Our child fell in love with her new room, and we couldn’t have been happier. Allowing her to share her thoughts and opinions about how the room should look really allowed her to take ownership over the process. It gave her a strong sense of accomplishment and helped us see her for the big kid she was truly becoming.
About the Author
As a freelance writer, Isabelle Lori strives to provide insight for parents in search of information about parenting and children. Her numerous articles range in topic from where to find a cars muralto the best way to redecorate a child’s room. In addition to that, Ms. Lori offers advice on money saving tips and helps explain confusing topics related to finance.