Earlier this week I heard someone talking about what kids need in houses these days. It stopped me in my tracks. There was a shopping list of “requirements”; walk-in-robe, oversized desk, en suite, chill-out corner, game station, queen-size bed… it went on and on. Er, excuse me?
Of course what children ultimately need is food, water, shelter, a warm and safe environment and bucket loads of love.
But for what it’s worth, had I had the gumption to intervene in the conversation, here’s my rather simple but strategic list:
Small bathroom. There is something about pocket-sized bathrooms that I believe are good for children… the negotiation skills required, the fact you might have to queue up and wait your turn, respecting someone else’s privacy – these are rules to live by in my book (be under no illusion that the bathroom in my house necessarily runs this way, but I try).
On the above point, siblings, at some point in life, should absolutely share a bedroom. It’s good for them.
Island bench. The island needn’t resemble a large continent, in essence, you just need a space that multiple people can be perched at or congregate around and be able to face one another – eye contact is the name of the game. It won’t be peaceful, it won’t be neat and orderly, but it can create a wonderful space for togetherness.
A doorway or wall where heights are measured. Progress is important.
Carpet. I’m not talking about the luxe high pile type. I’m talking about something that absorbs noise and creates a sense of cosiness. After years of living in apartments with beautiful old parquet, I am genuinely so happy to once more have carpet underfoot when I hop out of bed. It feels like home.
When living in the US, we upsized our bed to something rather enormous. I’ll admit it can feel a bit like we’re in the bed scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but I still relish all my girls jumping into our bed a few mornings a week for a cuddle before the day starts.
Forget the “perfect laundry” under the belief that your children will use it the way you intended. Sure, do it for yourself, but it will not change where they hurl their washing. Sorry.
Hot milo and a cup of tea. I’ve always found the cathartic act of waiting for the kettle to boil to be the perfect length of time to serve as a circuit breaker to reset a toddler, tween, teenager or even a cheesed-off partner. Pause the conversation, make a hot drink and reset.
A tree. What better escape for children is there than climbing a tree and nesting in its branches. A different perspective, good for agility, great for mental health and a perfect bolthole when it all gets a bit much in the house.
Lastly, Wi-Fi that does not extend to the bedrooms. And if this sounds like a bid to flush children out of their rooms, it absolutely is.
And if all else fails, just remember, home really is where the heart is.