Congratulations on your move to a dream apartment. Living in an apartment after having a child means there are some things you need to focus on so that everyone in the family has space that meets all your needs, playtime and rest time. You will want to create spaces that embrace safety and comfort for all ages. Now that you are ready to settle in, unpack and begin one of the best periods of your life with your new family and here are a few tips to create a kid-friendly environment.
Create a Space for your Children to Move
When rainy and cold days arrive, apartment living may feel confining and uncomfortable. A mini trampoline, bean bag chairs, an indoor basketball hoop to put on the door, yoga mats, and a heavy ball are some essential movement items to provide safe play indoors. There will be no need to yell “Get off the couch!” Movement is necessary for children of all ages and having a space for that purpose is important. Use a small corner of your child’s bedroom, or if you have an extra room, get a foldable treadmill—with safety stops—as young children benefit from a brisk walk as much as adults. With a foldable treadmill the room can be used for made up games and tumbling
Purchase Child-Size Cleaning Materials
Most children love to help with tasks they view as grown-up chores. You can purchase small sized brooms and mops, and safe cleaning products—water in a squirt bottle is the easiest—to encourage children to clean up the common areas of the apartment. The For Small Hands Catalog is an affordable site to buy child-sized items for cleaning, cooking, toys, and crafts. Some of these items include safe kitchen tools like safety cutting knives so your children can make their own snacks independently.
“Montessori” your Home
The Montessori Philosophy, developed by Italian physician, Maria Montessori in the late 1800s states “Never do for a child what they can do for themselves.” Use this philosophy to promote independence for your child in the comfort of your home. You can’t start too early to begin building confidence and self-reliability in your children. Begin by arranging drinking glasses, bowls and utensils in a location a child can access on their own. In your pantry cupboards utilize the bottom shelves for healthy snacks the kids can prepare by themselves. Depending on the dietary needs of your child you can place plastic containers of dried fruit, crackers, pretzels or whatever within their reach. Children as young as 18 months are able to make decisions about food they like or toys they want to play with and love being “in charge” of their own stuff.
Make Art Materials Available
If you have a cabinet in the hallway, kitchen or bedroom, organize it with paper, stickers, glue, markers, crayons and water-based paint. If you have the space, put arts and craft items in clear tubs and label each by simply writing the contents on a piece of painter’s tape. That way you can find any item quickly and when the contents of the tub change you can easily change the label. Try to keep these containers at eye level so your kids know what the craft options are. Craft time can be soothing for children before bed or a good way to spend family time in the evening, and craft projects for different age groups can be easily located with a simple online search.
Designate a Kid Free Zone
Within a carefully designed movement area, your children will be happy and independent in their space. Now it is about you. When you come home from a long day of work, where can you go to relax? Set up a small area with a candle, cozy blanket and floor pillow to unwind and take some deep breaths. If you have a balcony or an outside area, purchase a comfortable chair. Secondhand shops, garage sales or big box stores are some places you can buy furniture that won’t send you into debt. Adding plants, like succulents and ivy will provide oxygen and a natural element to soothe and relax the body and mind. Visit your local garden center, grocery store or Trader Joe’s for some easy plant purchases. You can teach your child that this is an adult area meant to be quiet and peaceful. It is important to define boundaries and/or guidelines that both you and your child will respect.
Apartment living, whether you’re in a downtown Columbus, Ohio place or a luxury unit in New York City, with a family requires thoughtfulness and a commitment to respect each person’s space. Your home should reflect the happiness you feel that you are part of the family you created. By designating areas for different uses, you will build a home for everyone to enjoy.