Today we want to share 7 benefits of letting your kids decorate their own rooms. Almost from the time they’re able to express their viewpoints, most children will have an opinion about what they want their room to look like. From race cars to princesses to YouTube stars, your kids will begin developing their own interests early, and they’ll often want to express those interests in how they decorate their rooms.
Should parents allow their children free rein in decorating their own rooms? Experts say yes, up to a point. Below, we’ll talk about seven of the most important benefits that kids can gain when parents allow them to decorate their own bedrooms.
- You’ll learn about the things that are important to them.
Every parent wants to know more about their kid’s inner life, especially once they hit the more secretive teenage years. Seeing how they decorate their room can give you a window into their private world. From a poster of the musical artist they’re obsessed with to wall decals of their favorite TV characters or sports stars, you can glean a lot of information from simple decor choices.
That said, resist the urge to read too much into your child’s aesthetic choices. Just because they put up some gloomy-looking artwork doesn’t mean they’re actually depressed. What your child says and does are always better guides to what’s going on than any choices of colors or art—so, when in doubt, ask.
- You’ll signal to them that you respect their independence.
Even young kids often feel trapped and unhappy when they don’t see themselves as in control of their own lives and decisions. Consequently, it’s important to give them the power to make their own choices when it’s safe to do so.
This kind of compromise helps build a relationship of mutual respect and understanding. Allowing kids to curate a space that suits them—and being clear that you’re intentionally doing so—can be a useful talking point in future discussions about which decisions are appropriate for them to make independently, and which ones you insist on having a say in.
- You’ll give them a way to express their creativity.
Self-expression is an important part of being human, and decorating a living space is one of the ways that many people do it. Choosing colors, patterns and decor are tasks that many kids find fun, and the liberty of choice will often be a key part of how they discover things about themselves.
This creative self-expression is an important part of the path to building healthy self-esteem. A child who has had ample opportunity for self-discovery through creative tasks is likely to become more confident and sure of themselves throughout the most crucial periods of their young lives.
- You’ll help them learn to invest in and care for a space.
Children need to learn the value of maintaining a living space to an acceptable standard. When you give your kids a role in creating and maintaining their space, they’ll be more likely to care for it by keeping it clean and tidy.
That doesn’t mean that your child’s room will never get messy. But cultivating their mental connection between space and self will pay dividends in terms of how they see and care for their living spaces throughout life. You might even make room cleanliness a condition of allowing them leeway in decorating.
- It can be a fun opportunity to collaborate on a home project.
Younger kids will need help with planning and executing a concept for their room, and some older kids may want your advice as well. Working together on projects with your child is a great opportunity to build your relationship, so take advantage of these opportunities when they present themselves.
The optimal level of parental involvement will vary by how much responsibility your child is ready to take. A young child will need help with basic tasks like painting walls and applying vinyl wall decals, while an older teen might just need a few pointers on how to make the details look good. Either way, be prepared—either to offer help or to step back when appropriate.
- You don’t have to approve everything.
Remember that you’re still a parent and can put your foot down about things that are unacceptable. Before you allow your child to start choosing decorations, think about where your hard lines lie. There’s a difference between a poster of an artist you don’t care for and, say, a piece of hate paraphernalia or something else deeply concerning.
Talk to your child about what is and isn’t acceptable for decoration in their room, particularly if you foresee conflict. Use it as an opportunity to discuss the values that are important to your family. But always think about whether you’re making the decisions for your comfort or for their own good, and be aware when you might be about to cross that line.
- You might be surprised how much you like what they come up with.
The ideas your kids come up with for decorations might not always be something you think will look good. (They might even shock you with a baseball wall mural of your team’s division rival!) But you’d be surprised by how well even some more off-the-wall ideas can be pulled off, especially with a little bit of grown-up guidance.
That’s part of the joy of parenting. When you’re able to let go of some control and allow your child to live as the full human being they are, you’ll find the results are often breathtaking. Allowing your kids to take the reins on decorating their space is just such an opportunity for joyful discovery as you watch them spread their wings.