The New York Times is currently asking its readers to weigh in on how to “create a new bedroom (or two) for the children after one parent moves to a new place.” They want to know how separated and divorced parents made an inviting space, what they put in it, if they let their child have a say and what advice they have for others just beginning this process.
While readers’ comments haven’t been published yet, there are plenty of sources of decorating advice for parents who’ve moved out of the family home. Let’s look at a few important things to remember.
A room of their own
It’s important for kids to have their own room. Unless they’re still very young, they need a place that’s only theirs where they can have some privacy. Let your child help with the furnishings and décor as much as possible. There should be more than a bed and a desk. Let them have some toys, games, artwork and things they can enjoy.
Even relatively small apartments and condos can hold a lot of stuff if you invest in some cabinets and other options for storage. It may be wise to have these throughout your home in addition to your child’s room. This can help eliminate clutter, which can make a small space feel even smaller.
You want your child to be able to join you in the kitchen to fix meals (even if it’s just heating something in the microwave). If they’re still young, be sure to keep the knives and corkscrews tucked away. If you had child-proof locks in your family home, you’ll likely still need them for a while. Your child may be even more tempted to explore this new home and get into things that are dangerous.
The same goes for every room in your home. Even if your child is only spending weekends there, avoid furniture with sharp edges or that is easily damaged. You don’t want to spend your time with your child worried that they’re going to hurt themselves or destroy an antique table or desk.
Having a home that is designed with a child in mind – even if it’s in a Manhattan high-rise – can help you seek greater custody and visitation rights. With experienced legal guidance, you can protect your right to be a consistent presence in your child’s life.