COLORS AND SOUNDS FOR CHILDREN: WHICH ONES TO CHOOSE FOR THE FURNITURE?

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COLORS AND SOUNDS FOR CHILDREN: WHICH ONES TO CHOOSE FOR THE FURNITURE?

The growth, development and learning of boys and girls are directly influenced by the amount of stimuli in their life.

Consider the answers of us adults: How do we eat when we go to McDonald’s? Do we behave differently in a pub? The bright primary colors, hard surfaces, loud music and bright lights of fast food restaurants create an atmosphere that makes us “hurry up”. In a pub, the lighting is subdued, the chairs padded and the music soothing, which invites us to stay longer.

If adults are so affected by the stimulation of the physical environment, how might boys and girls react? With their senses still developing they are super sensitive.

In an effort to give our children our best, we may unknowingly over-stimulate them. We easily fill the walls with colorful posters and the little ones’ rooms in the house often explode with an abundance of toys of all kinds. Brightly colored plastic tables and chairs are frequent choices, as they are easy to clean and appear to provide a cheerful pop of color.

Sound

Sound is an early part of the environment that is often overlooked. We and our children are constantly “hammered” by noise: cars, sirens, dishwashers, telephones. Sound waves are recorded in every cell of our body (not just in our ears). While we adults have learned to “tune in”, children are particularly sensitive to auditory stimulation, which can disturb their play, conversation or thoughts.

Their response is often hyperactivity and irritability.

With a little creativity, there are ways to dampen unwanted background noise. Curtains, textured coverings and carpets absorb sound and are pleasantly designed. Furniture, mezzanines and platforms of different heights block or redirect sound waves and can literally “turn down the volume”.

If your budget allows, ceiling materials are also very effective.

Introduce calming and pleasant sounds. Find times to play classical music during games, such as puzzles, concentrated play, or rest times.

Color

Just like sound, we respond to color with our whole body. Color is often (unknowingly) the cause of over-stimulation.

A kindergarten teacher told me about an event that happened to her many years ago. In her class, hyperactivity was the norm; it didn’t take long to understand why. The bright orange walls and flashy curtains had to go. Within days, the children found a calm rhythm in a pale green room with blue-green curtains. The effect was immediate and the children were much happier.

Kindergarten-age children are particularly sensitive to color. They prefer bright and warm colors. This could be why the hues of their toys and clothes are often primary colors.

Surrounding them in these colors can be overly stimulating. Hyperactivity, stress, inability to concentrate and even aggressive behaviors can result.

The soothing colors of nature (green, blue, brown, beige) are more conducive to a happy mood.

A month ago, while visiting a nursery, I was shown a recently refurbished room for 2-3 people. Despite their budget constraints, what they had accomplished was astonishing. The staff proudly showed me compelling “before and after” images: the bright blue plastic tables had given way to warm wood, while the cloth walls and ceiling coverings softened the glow of the fluorescent light. The excess furniture had been moved to a warehouse, creating an overall feeling of invitation rather than claustrophobia.

The parents also told me that many of their children came from foster families. Their insecurity resulted in hyperactivity and aggravating behavior. The changes in the classroom have now helped provide a positive and stable influence in their life that they so badly needed.

Conclusion

Sound and color are part of everyday life. When we check their presence in the nursery, we can temper the mood of the room towards concentrated and sustained play. The sounds of nature can be introduced with good results in the environment of the first years; harsh sounds can be softened.

All children love color and should have plenty of it. But modulate the bright colors of the clothes and toys with soft colors in the furniture and furnishings.

Ultimately, achieving balance in sound and color will help create a sense of peace in the children’s room, allowing them to relax and feel in a cozy and serene place.

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