It’s no secret that children grow up within the blink of an eye but, for many parents, the speed of the transition from baby to toddler is one that takes them by surprise - and one for which many are entirely unprepared!
Things that go bump in the night
That’s the sound of your soon-to-toddler navigating his or her escape from the cot as they learn to climb over the bars and, this is often, a parent’s first clue that babyhood is in the past. As your child develops and grows, it’s time to adapt his or her environment. Although it may seem like only moments since you were decorating the nursery for baby’s imminent arrival, it’s important that your child’s room reflects the changes taking place. We’ve put together our guide to turning a nursery into a little boy or girl’s room without a huge amount of decorating or expense.
And so to bed
Where your child sleeps will almost certainly be the biggest change and expense when converting your nursery to a toddler’s room. If your cot is the kind with a removable rail / bar kit then all you need to do is change up the bars on one side to a lower safety rail, meaning that your toddler can safely climb in and out on their own. If your cot isn’t adaptable, you can buy toddler-specific beds relatively cheaply although, many parents opt to go straight to a single bed. If you’re not planning on more children, you can always sell the cot on a local group or site to offset the price of the new bed. As well as the bed itself, your toddler will also need new linens. At this stage of development, your child will be beginning to show interest in the world around us so, try to find bedding which features your child’s favourite animal, colour or cartoon character.
Make do and mend
Before splashing out on new furniture and fittings for your child’s room, see if there are items which can be repurposed. If your toddler is on his or her way to being potty trained, you can try adding shelving and storage boxes to the changing table to turn it into a cabinet to store the things you now need to have on hand in your child’s room.
Similarly, cabinets and shelves previously used for nappies and other baby items can now be used to store toys and books.
You’ve got the floor
A growing toddler needs room to play and explore so, now’s the time to clear out unnecessary items. Replace adult changing chairs with your toddler’s very own chair and swap bulky baskets and bins for wall hanging versions or those that can be tucked away into a cupboard. Add a fun and hard wearing rug or mat to the floor or carpet to keep it safe from the onslaught of a curious toddler.
Up the wall
As your child’s personality continues to develop, he or she will probably have outgrown the decor in the nursery. Repaint or paper walls in your child’s favourite colour if possible and add lots of stimulating pictures. If your rental contract forbids you from drastic decorating, try making a mural or collage made up of pictures of your child’s favourite things and use it as a wall hanging. Whatever the theme of the room, it’s a good idea to include family photographs as this will give your child a sense of security.
To thine own self
As your toddler’s personality blossoms, so will his or her interests and, one thing which will always fascinate a toddler is themselves! Add features to the room such as a growth chart and a photo board / collage so that your child can track their own progress.
State of independence
A big part of your child’s growth is an increasing desire for independence. For dressing up clothes, toys and bath items, add low wall hooks and shelves so that your toddler can reach these without your help. Most children love to draw and colour so, if you have the room, add a little desk and chair in order to encourage the creative juices to flow and keep drawing materials within easy reach (although it may be best to keep paint safe from little hands!).
Increased height and mobility in your child often equals increased hazards within a room. Make sure you take the time to make sure that the room is safe for your little explorer:
Furniture - Make sure that all heavy items of furniture and equipment are secured to the wall or floor to prevent your child pulling them over on top of themselves.
Room with a view - Ensure that furniture within the room is kept well away from windows - and keep windows closed. Toddlers love to climb and a simple window screen will not, in most cases, prevent a fall.
It’s electric - Cover all wall sockets within your toddler’s room to prevent curious little fingers exploring. Covers can be bought very cheaply from hardware or baby stores.
By repurposing furniture and getting creative with decor, you can quickly and easily turn your nursery into a room that your child will love for the next few years.