The first five – and especially the first three years – of a child’s life are the most important. They shape the brain’s organization, development, and functioning throughout life. There are things you can do right now to amplify it, and it all starts in the child’s bedroom & nursery.
A quick scan of Pinterest and Instagram reveals almost the same results when you search for #babynursery and #nurserydecor. Neutral colours, soft pastels and solid colours are all on trend, page after page. Now, these designs that have been intricately and thoughtfully created may appeal to your home’s interior décor and personal preferences, yet is there any thought going into your baby’s development?
While your baby may not be able to provide you with feedback for quite some time, it’s important to consider decoration designs with your baby as the number one priority. When considering the colours, patterns and décor for your baby’s nursery, take into consideration the following information to ensure you don’t fall into the trap that so many have.
From the moment they are born, babies are constantly absorbing information around them in which visual stimuli is an essential part to this process. A baby’s retina may not be fully formed at birth, but, from the moment they open their eyes their brain begins to absorb this information like a sponge. According to Dr Amanda Gummer, an authority on the likes of child development, play and parenting, 80% of the information their brain receives at this early age comes from their vision. This puts a high emphasis on visual stimulation.
“Babies who are stimulated by their environments reach developmental milestones faster; have better coordination and a more secure self image” (Ludington-Hoe & Golant, 1987)
So how does this translate into the nursery. Well, Gummer says that by surrounding your newborn with strong visual stimuli, you can spur on mental development. The trick is – achieving a high level of stimulus. To achieve this high level, research has found that high contrast pictures and colour contrasts encourage babies to focus, while in turn stimulate cognitive development.
“Surround a baby with soft pastel colors, and you might as well be blindfolding him,” says renowned pediatrician Dr. William Sear
One of the most stimulating contrasts in is fact black and white. It was found that babies looked twice as long at the patterned black and white pictures as they did to solid-coloured ones. This is because these high contrasts register powerfully on a baby’s retina and send the strongest visual signals to the brain – stronger signals mean more brain growth and faster development.
“Researchers have repeatedly shown that newborns prefer to look at black and white geometric shapes, rather than bright colors or pastels.” Huggamind
If you’re not that into black and white, don’t worry! As babies develop, they are able to distinguish more patterns of contrast. In fact, by 8 weeks old, babies can recognise different contrasts such as yellow and grey.
This means that you CAN take inspiration from Social Media, yet make sure that you consider a variety of patterns and contrasts to help stimulate your little one’s brain. This means that soft pastels and neutral shades may not be the best choice for your child’s nursery if simply used by themselves. The key is to bring these nurseries to life with stimulating contrasts and small bursts of colour to actively encourage learning.
“There is much evidence [however] that infants thrive in an atmosphere with bolder colors and striking designs. You can constantly hit a satisfied equilibrium by painting the room in the colors you like and then adding a wall border, mural or some pictures which include black and white designs or strong geometrics that are pleasing and stimulating to the baby” (Home Tips, 2014).
By just adding a few simple pieces of art to the wall, your nursery can have a blank canvas transformed into a stimulating learning environment, full of exploration.Vinyl decals are a great and safe way to decorate your nursery. Unlike wall hangings, there’s no risk of anything falling on the crib and you can truly transform a room. Whether it’s a jungle scene, owls in trees or a sunken pirate ship, a vinyl sticker can say so much more than a hung picture.
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