Tweens, I think It’s definitely one of the most important, pivotal stages in a child’s life. It’s where they enter those pre-teen years. Where the awareness of body changes, and societal expectations really begin to dominate. And with that, there is always a degree of uncertainty, maybe a little confusion, but also excitement and joy about what the future may bring.
It’s a time in their little lives where as cliche as it sounds, the most important present, is to be present. Ensuring those bonds remain intact, that communication and trust is open and free. That they look to you for guidance and support, so they know that as they face these changes of uncertainty, you are there to catch them if they fall.
In terms of bedrooms, the tween years should reflect this important transitional phase. It’s a time when kids may be a little over their ‘childish’ cartoon character faves, or when they become a little self-conscious of all their ‘toys’ and how ‘babyish’ it makes their room look. It’s a time when they may make a shift change in their colour choices and they begin to look for a space of their own that is a little more gown up, a little less ‘Dora’.
And their space should be guided, first and foremost by the one who inhabits it. It should be a celebration of the people they are, reflective of their interests, their fave colours, their hobbies and likes.
And it should be totally ok if they want to hang onto the magic of childhood for just that little bit longer, for once it’s gone it's gone. But if they are getting past it, then that should be embraced too, as we as parents both guide and celebrate the little people they are slowly becoming.
And if you are planning on giving your little tween a room update - here are a few things you may like to consider…
Shower it with personality. Now anyone can recreate a ‘cookie cutter’ look, but shower your tweens space with personality and they will really have a place to call their own. Choose colours they love and inject them through the clever use of bedding, decals or prints. I say bedding, decals and prints as they are all items that can be easily changed or modified. This is important to remember as your pre-teen may undergo a few different ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ as they begin to establish who they really are.
To help with costs, the prints need not be all store bought. You can create your own on apps called ‘Canva’ or ‘Font Candy’ and your designs can be printed out at places like Office Works. You can use colours in your design to reference your child’s likes and you may either add a motivating phase, a fun quote only tweens would get, or use the name of their favourite band, hobby or sport.
No matter what age or space, photographs are always a good option. Whether they are photos of friends, family, or the tween themselves, photographs can act as a visual reminder of those important people they have in their life, reinforcing self-identity and self-awareness. They add warmth, familiarity and comfort to any space and are of pivotal importance to tweens.
Most tweens are typically into music or sport of some kind, and if they are you may like to add a poster of their fave band or sporting hero, or create one yourself. If they are into art, get them to create their own artwork but gently guide them on colour choice to ensure it acts as a cohesive piece to tie elements of the room together.
I love decals as they can dramatically change a space but don’t require painting and they are not as permanent or as expensive as wall paper. And for tweens (who may quickly change their favourite colour from pastel pink to cobalt blue) it’s really easy to change the entire look of a room by changing the colour or shape of the decals. Eg, boys may transition from liking the superhero lightning bolts and gravitate more towards a more mature and simplistic cross design.
Think of Functionality - the functionality of a tween’s space is of upmost importance. When planning their room changes think of the main uses for their bedroom, or how they would ‘like’ to use it. If they are arty or creative, give them a little desk where they create, and maybe establish a little space for them to display their artwork and creations. Ilf they are sporty, you may like a little nook to showcase their trophies, or incorporate a place to store their sports equipment and showcase a few items as ‘personalised decor’. Or if they are little bookworms, you may decide to create a cosy little reading nook, brimming with cozy comforts. What ever it looks like, it should be functional and it should reflect their individual needs.
Always a deal breaker, before you decide on ANYTHING, make sure you have worked out your budget and determine what your priorities are. Here you need to determine if it’s a huge makeover or just a mini overhaul to see the next few years through.
Once you have created a solid understanding of what the ‘vibe’ and ‘functionality’ of the space should be, now you can look at existing furniture and decide if anything needs to be updated or go. For example, that 5 in 1 converter cot that you just fell in LOVE with all those years ago and swore you would use forever, may just not quite be hitting the mark anymore as you realise your pre-baby style and your tweens tastes are not quite gelling as you previously imagined.
If a furniture change is on the cards, make sure you take your measurements. Giving your growing tween a deluxe queen size bed may sound like a great idea, but if you are tight on space and realise the closet door won’t even be able to open, you may need to rethink your plans.
If the budget doesn’t allow a furniture update, you could try swapping old for new and look to secondhand sites or stores to find something unique your tween will love. Alternatively, you could try revamping what you have, like covering that glittery princess pink bedhead with something a little more mature, or spray painting that old side table in their fave ‘tween’ colour and adding a few new funky handles.
PLAN IN ADVANCE:
Before you commit to any of these things, have a little sketch to see what the changes would look like. If drawing isn’t your thing, an app I like to use is called ‘Bazaart’ - you can screen shot the room and then use the ‘scissor’ tool to add or remove items. You can download images straight from your favourite stores and play with their placement to give you an idea of colour and scale before you decide to buy.
Whatever it is you decide to do, I think the most important thing to do is make sure it speaks volumes about the person who gets to hang there and reassures them that who they are, what they love and the journey they embark on next will be supported with love and understanding.
Love Ness X
All styling and photography by Vanessa Kettlewell from Four Cheeky Monkeys. Please do not use these images without permission.
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