You can use the design and decoration of your child’s environment to foster greater independence and self-esteem. Look at what your child does and figure out how he or she could do it more independently. For example:
• Child’s Bedroom– Use a quilt or sleeping bag so your child can make her own bed. Make sure bookcases have a minimum amount of clutter and lots of order. Place closet rods within the child’s reach. Use a dresser with handles made for little hands and drawers small enough for them to open and close. Label drawers, baskets and other containers with word/picture stickers so the child knows where items go.
• Entranceway or Mudroom– Install hooks and hangers at your child’s level so she can put on and take off her coat.
• Family Room/Den– Put shelves at your child’s level so he can play with his toys and books, and return them to their proper place when finished.
• Bathroom –Put a platform under the sink and toilet so your child can climb up to use these as independently as possible.
• Kitchen–Select a low shelf or a shelf on the refrigerator door for "kid food." Earmark a low cabinet for your child to help himself to snacks and utensils.
• AChildproof Room – Create a safe room in your home where your baby or toddler can explore without hindrance. Arrange objects so that they can be safely touched, tasted, seen, heard and smelled. Take care not to create an environment that is too over-stimulating with too many colors, objects, noise, etc. Some children are extremely sensitive to things an adult would never notice.
The more thought that goes into designing a room and a home – allowing children to feel involved in creating their environment and making it more accessible for them – the more they will feel a sense of value and importance in the home.