8 Ways to Feng Shui Your Child's Room
Feng shui teaches us how to live in harmony with our surroundings. But what about those of us with kids? Striving for harmony in the presence of children can seem like a hopeless cause. To make matters even more complex, a child's room must by its nature fulfill multiple functions: a stimulating play area, a soothing retreat for naptime and bedtime, a storage spot for books and toys, and a parental work area (with microzones for diapering, dressing, and long-term storage of hand-me-downs).
Is there any hope for such a complicated (and often small) room? Read on to learn how to use traditional feng shui principles to make your child's bedroom a functional, stress-free, and fun room for you and your child.
Build From a Calm Base
When I was five, my parents let me decorate my bedroom. I picked out school-bus yellow for the wall paint, and carpet in the brightest shade of royal blue. All who entered this room must have been struck immediately with a headache! Kids’ rooms see a lot of action, so for this reason it's best to build up from a soothing palette. Even if your child is becoming more independent and starting to express his or her ideas about decorating, choose a neutral for the walls and floor and add personality with bedding, furniture, and accents. A vintage dresser painted in a high-gloss grass green, fire-engine red, or sunflower gold can fulfill a wish for self-expression and serve as an amazing focal point to boot.
Plan For the Bad Stuff
There's a misconception that feng shui is mysterious — but did you know it's rooted in practicality? Don't hang something heavy over your bed (one day it might fall on you); don't buy a house at the end of a T intersection (one day someone might drive into your house). Apply this same "be prepared" philosophy when you plan your child's room. Bed wetting? It'll happen from time to time (so use a waterproof liner for several years until you're in the clear). Late-night vomiting sessions? Sorry to say they're inevitable (so keep three plastic bowls or buckets in a nearby bathroom or closet: one for the bedside, one waiting to be washed, and one that's drying). Explosive diaper blowouts? Ugh, yes (so store a stash of plastic bags near the changing station and stockpile extra packages of wipes).
Bed Placement Is Key
Where you place your bed is very important in feng shui. Choose the wrong wall and you risk a long string of restless nights. The path from your bedroom door to the window has the strongest flow of energy; keep your child's bed out of this path if possible. Positioning the bed in front of a window is a big feng shui no-no. Ideally the bed should have a solid headboard or wall behind it (no diagonal placement either), with a small table or chair on either side for support.
Let the Chi Flow
Energy flows through a room like water in a stream — but a room strewn with toys is the feng shui equivalent of a beaver dam: all energy flow is blocked. Keeping a toddler's room tidy can seem a formidable task. There are three keys to success: 1) Make sure every toy has a home. "Over there in the corner" does not count (unless you're talking about that decorative wooden rocking horse). The toy's home can be anything from the original box, placed high on a shelf, to a bin in a storage cubby or a basket in the corner. 2) Cycle the toys through a rotation so that old toys seem new again. This can be structured (new month = new set of toys) or informal (when your child seems bored you look on the top shelf). 3) Enlist the child's help in tidying from the start. Even a toddler can help with picking up. And if you follow the golden rule of putting away one toy before moving on to the next, your child will too — and you'll keep episodes of total room destruction to a manageable minimum.
Design For the Five Senses
Your child's bedroom should be a cozy refuge, in addition to its many other functions. Make sure that it delights the five senses by filling it with all things soft, snuggly, and soothing: soft rugs for cold feet, a pile of stuffies in a basket, a fluffy quilt or blanket, soothing essential oils, fuzzy slippers, an old-fashioned music box, and a low wattage lamp near a cozy reading nook.
Watch Out For Sha Chi
Sha Chi is anything unpleasant that brings negative energy: that stinky diaper pail, harsh overhead lighting, clutter, dirt, or unclean bed linens. Rid your child's room of anything dangerous, such as a rickety ceiling fan or a shelf with heavy objects mounted over the changing table. Although mobiles are de rigueur in the nursery, feng shui does not view them kindly. And with good reason — anything hanging over your head while you sleep creates stress (for it may eventually fall). Instead, consider a mirror mounted beside the diaper changing spot. This will provide entertainment (and with some luck, cooperation) while you clean and dress your baby.
Balance the Masculine and Feminine
Parents who try to avoid the pink and blue stereotypes entirely are often surprised by how difficult this is. Rather than striving for complete gender neutrality, consider a push toward balance instead. Balance a floral quilt or other feminine touches with a leather trunk at the foot of the bed, a plaid Pendleton wool throw, and photographs of architecture. Or if the room is heavy on the masculine side of the spectrum, focus on adding piles of soft blankets, a lamp and drawer hardware in a warm metallic, and photographs of nature.
Feng shui practitioners prescribe a soothing environment for sleep — and technology, with its humming and whirring and electromagnetic radiating, is no part of that. Advances in technology have brought more devices into the bedroom — from video monitors in the nursery to tablets and even TVs, cell phones, and laptops in the growing child's room. Consider keeping these devices as far from the sleeping child as possible, or even (with tablets, cell phones, and laptops) removing them altogether until sunrise. If your room is close to your child's room, you might even be able to skip the monitor altogether. Talk to a room of veteran parents and you will hear many stories of unplugging the monitor just so the parents could get some rest!
A Final Word
Above all, be kind to yourself. I'd hate for someone already stressed and sleep-deprived to read this and worry that their baby's room isn't good enough. Feng shui is about making small improvements to your home that all add up to a more balanced and peaceful life in the long term. But plenty of children have slept, played, and been well cared for in rooms that were cluttered or lacked the perfect rug. Just make sure nothing heavy is about to fall on your child's head, and leave the rest for a day when you're fully rested and have some free time. And if that is after your baby starts kindergarten, then so be it.