No touchy-touchy, little kids!
Come on. Admit it. You know you've said something similar.
And then you had a child. Or several.
And reality set in.
Through the years, I've made countless changes in my home solely because of the kids.
I mean, I was perfectly happy with an assortment of magazines and candles arranged just so on my coffee table. But I was not happy with magazines ripped to shreds, then haphazardly tossed around, along with bites taken out of my candles. So I surrendered and now have a perfectly bare coffee table top. Not my idea of homey decor but hey, it's just easier that way.
Lit candles and dried flowers? Not a chance.
Having a special needs child can make decorating extra difficult. Many of these kiddos have all kinds of different issues that need to be addressed in the home environment. And sometimes, you just want your home to look nice, too!
By scouring the interwebs, I've come across several ways to make your home special needs friendly, while still maintaining some order and a sense of fun.
- Rid your home (or specific rooms) of carpet and install flooring more appropriate for wheelchairs, walkers, IV poles, or other rolling equipment.
- Because carpeting helps absorb sound, if you remove it, your home may seem louder. Place plenty of beanbags, pillows, quilts and throws around to help minimize noise. It also makes for convenient snuggling!
- Use washable fabrics and slipcovers whenever possible.
- Paint walls in soothing colors.
- Replace florescent lighting. Take advantage of soft, natural lighting when possible.
- If your home does not have a security system, consider using battery operated wireless door alarms that will sound if your child opens a door. This could even be useful on a bedroom door to signal you to any middle of the night wandering.
- Arrange your kitchen cabinets and drawers to encourage a little help for mom from the kiddos. I think Lily is capable of doing much more around than house than I give her the chance to do. For example, I'm pretty sure she could unload the silverware and sort it in the appropriate slots of the utensil tray. Making cabinets and drawers more accessible might encourage me to teach more of these life skills to Lily.
- In our home, toilet paper does not reside on the holder. Since it is might tempting for the Bird to dunk whole rolls in the potty or carry them into the shower with her, we store all TP in hanging baskets that Lily can't reach.
Now let's talk about the bedroom for a special needs child.
- Use black out curtains to block light and make sleeping a bit easier.
- Get a white noise machine to muffle sounds of family members who stay up later.
- Consider painting a fun mural on one wall of a child's room rather than hanging artwork in frames.
- If your child has a dresser, make sure the drawer pulls do not allow for climbing.
- We have large individual photos of family members hanging on a wire right at the ceiling level of Lily's room. She can't reach them but since they're poster size, she can easily see them and she loves looking at them.
- The Bird has a television/DVD player combo in her room but it's wall mounted and up high so she can't reach it. The plug is hidden behind the dresser but if I had my druthers, I'd have an electrician come out and install another plug up high behind the TV.
- If your child has medical needs and you need access to supplies throughout the day, consider getting a bedside table with locking cabinets. Or organize supplies in the closet and put a lock up high on the outside of the closet door.
- Consider hanging a swing or leaving a mini-trampoline out for times when your child needs to calm down and get organized or burn off some steam.
Here's some shots of the Bird's room:
All washable slipcovers - yay!
The pictures on a wire I mentioned. And the table and chairs? No longer there. Someone kept using them for ladders...
Black out curtains
Of course, even with all these good ideas, there are plenty of days in which my home decor consists of laundry in a pile waiting to be folded, popcorn kernels scattered around the floor, sippie cups on the coffee table, fingerprints (and mouth prints!) smeared on the back door glass, and toys in every room.
But that's life.
And some days are just like that.
I've learned to live with it.