by Carol C. Wheelock
We are renovating our house and are wondering if there are specific feng shui recommendations for children's rooms. We have a nine-year old daughter and a thirteen year-old son.
Jack and Helen, Bennington
Dear Jack and Helen,
All of us are affected by our environment and, in turn, are reflections of our environment. Children are very sensitive to their environments and often pick up on energies that adults around them don't. Children's rooms represent their own worlds. It is, therefore, very important that children's rooms support them in every way possible.
There are several considerations when planning children's rooms. The first is management of all their stuff. This is more than a simple issue of storage space. Children need to be taught at an early age that life is about flow. It is counterproductive to keep putting things into a space without taking anything out. Children can easily learn the feng shui technique of getting rid of 27 things at a time, especially before birthdays, Christmas, and other holidays that involve gifts. Something must go out before something new is brought in.
Once the clutter is cleared, storage is then an organizational tool. Shelves with bins or baskets work well. Shelving in closets also works if there is a system and storage containers. Children (and adults) need to see empty spaces to have a sense of new beginnings. When there are no clear surfaces, it is hard for a child to engage in creative play or do homework. This is important for children of all ages. It is even more important for children with ADD or ADHD to have empty spaces. Over-stimulation leads to more distractions and exacerbates the problem.
Color is also an important factor. While it is tempting to use bright colors in a child's room, these colors are not the best for sleeping. Small amounts of bright colors can work as accents. Conversely, dark colors can be depressing and lead to problems getting up in the morning. A child's room needs to support all activities from play to sleep. Help your children choose colors that are not extreme. White rooms feel very cold so I do not recommend that as an alternative.
Another consideration is all the electronic equipment that children tend to have today. The electromagnetic fields from television screens and computers can create physical and emotional problems. Computers need to be turned off at night. Televisions are better off in family areas and not in children's rooms. Keep all electrical/electronic clocks, games, etc. at least three feet away from the bed at night.
Beds are important. Many children like bunk beds. They do solve space problems, but can also cause other problems of equity and energy. The child on the top may feel insecure and the one on the bottom may feel constricted. Loft beds may be a viable alternative for a small room. They tend not to be as high and yet offer additional space under the loft.
Placement of beds within rooms is also important. It is best to place the bed in the command position. That means that the door can be viewed from the bed, yet the bed is not directly in line with the door. Usually this means that the best place for the bed is in a back corner of the room.
A child's room influences every aspect of his/her life. It needs to serve many functions. Is there space to play, study and/or read, and sleep? A balance of coziness and space to express creativity and display artwork, lego creations, etc. is important. As children grow their interests change and the desire for privacy increases. The need for space for conversation with friends, homework, and relaxation remains.
Include your children in the process while guiding them to make decisions based on good feng shui. Their rooms will then be able to evolve as they grow. The need for organization and storage bins does not change - they'll just be used for different things. Bulletin boards will have different posters on them over time, but there will always be something hanging. Children like to make their rooms their own.
Feng shui affects all aspects of our lives. The bagua, a template or grid that is superimposed upon any space, is divided into areas that represent relationships, health, self-knowledge, etc. Children share a section of the bagua with creativity. It is important to keep this connection in mind. Creativity and children both need space and nurturing to blossom.
Carol C. Wheelock, M.Ed. of Feng Shui Vermont is a certified feng shui practitioner who has studied in the United Sates and China. She practices Black Sect or western feng shui. Carol does private consultations for homes, schools, libraries, and businesses; clutter counseling and clearing; spaces clearings; phone consultations; presentations; and teaches workshops throughout the United States. She also does personal clearings.