Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Place To Belong

New surroundings can make children wonder where they fit in, where they belong in a new space.  It doesn't matter if it's a new classroom, a new town, a new house, or a new school, they will look for their place in it.  My own children search for that feeling of fitting in each time our family moves.  We move a lot, as military families tend to, which is why I try to keep what would be inviting to a child in mind when creating spaces for them in our home.

The physical environment tends to be the first thing children notice, it's their first impression of a new place.  If they can't see where they can fit into the "picture" it makes a transition that much harder.  The feeling of fitting in is complex, especially in changing environments.  But what I've learned that matters is...

Seeing they have a place to belong helps reinforce the feeling that they do belong. 

What matters is seeing a space that invites them to choose activities on their own.

What matters is seeing there is room to play independently.

What matters is seeing where things go.

What matters is seeing a spot where they can make their mark.

What matters is seeing they are free to make mistakes, and try again.

Each of our homes have been very different from one another in size, location, and layout.  As different as the resulting spaces have been, the only thing that matters to my kids is that they feel at home... a place where every child should feel they belong.

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Looking for more inspirational play area ideas?  Check out Military Wife and Mom's post on How to help kids feel at home after a move.  It's full of beautiful photos of child-friendly play spaces!

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