We were thrilled when Suze Yalof Schwartz posted our tips about how to promote harmony among quarreling siblings and how to improve your love life with Feng Shui on her fabulous blog Dwellers Without Decorators (check out her gorgeous blog for a daily dose of pure inspiration).
As sisters (whose mother used to draw an imaginary line down the center of the backseat of the car on road trips to stop arguments!) we’ve found the sibling topic so interesting we’ve come up with a few more tips about arranging and decorating your children’s rooms to promote harmony. So if you have kids who are dealing with sibling rivalry, or are just struggling to get along, here are a few suggestions:
A space of their own: If possible, each child will have his or her own room so they have time and space to themselves. If this is not possible (and it’s often not!) then try to set up the space so each child feels he has ownership over parts of the room beyond his bed such as the wall space next to the bed, separate desks, closets or drawers etc. It may be particularly important for a first child to feel they have a space of their own, as that was his first experience of home. Of course children will need to learn to share, but a child must have a sense of ownership before he or she can freely give. Consider avoiding bunk beds as this could lead to inequality in the relationship as someone is always on top!
This bedroom from Domino Magazine gives each child a little privacy and space of her own!
Harmony in a shared room: Even though each child may have her own space or side of the room—the room should feel balanced, coordinated and whole. If the children have design or color preferences try to honor their choices so the two beds or sides of the room still complement each other. It’s probably best to paint the room a neutral color, and then bring in each of their color preferences with accents such as bedspreads, pillows, etc. Choose soothing colors to create a peaceful vibe in the room and in their relationship. Bright, active colors may heighten the energy in the room and lead to arguments.
Photographs: Place at least one current photograph in the room where the siblings are together and smiling. Also, place a happy current photograph of each child with mommy and daddy—particularly for the first child who can sometimes have difficulty adjusting to a new sibling.
This bedroom from Elle Decor has a great painting of the two brothers smiling with a quote “Wow, I have the most awesome brother!”
Shared space: In addition to separate spaces consider a shared space—such as a play or study area. Perhaps there is a game, toy or art table set up for two. Similarly, consider a daily ritual or game that your kids enjoy and that they do together. This could be as simple as a special way of saying goodnight.
Clutter-free: A child will be better able to cope with relationship challenges when she is feeling her best. A clutter-free room promotes a good night’s sleep as well as a sense of peace and security.
Loved objects: Reflect your children’s interests in the room. We should love everything in our surroundings and objects should be “speaking” to us in a positive voice. We should live with things that reflect our current interests and our best-selves. The challenge with children is that they are always growing and changing. The room therefore needs to adapt as well. Let go of outgrown clothes and toys and make space for the things that support and inspire your child in the present moment. Of course, attachment objects or a few cherished things from their baby years are great enhancements too—just find a balance. Create a great view from the bed with artwork that your child loves.
Command position: Beds should be placed with a solid wall behind and a view of the door in front, but not with the foot of the bed directly facing the door. This is the position where people, adults and children alike, will feel most relaxed and secure.
Nurture your children’s inner Feng Shui: Commit to twenty minutes of “mommy (or daddy) special time” each day with each child separately (if an older child is having an issue with a new sibling it may be fine to just have this special time with that child). It’s best to have this special time around the same time each day. Make sure there are no interruptions, remain present and focus completely on your child. Five minutes before the time is up let your child know that special time is almost over and that you really enjoy this time and look forward your time together the next day.
Intention: Write down your intention and positive vision for you children’s relationship with each other. You may wish to place this written intention in a special box or under a happy photo of your children in a part of the house where you will see it often. This will remind you to think of their relationship positively and hold a positive vision for your family in place.
Check out the piece about Inspired Everyday Living on Dwellers Without Decorators! And for more tips about Feng Shui and love read our blog How to Change Your Bedroom to Improve Your Love Life.