Room For All: Why Family Rooms Are A Pandemic Must
Where does your family spend its time? If you’re like most families these days, the answer is “at home,” because you can’t go anywhere else. As the weather starts to cool again, though, families will no longer have the option to head outside and will be cooped up indoors together again. That means you need to make room for a winter of togetherness, and what better way than by crafting a multi-function family room. Designed for everything from messy art projects to remote schooling, a great family room can help foster healthy relationships, keep toys from taking over your home, and can evolve with your family’s needs as time goes on – and the pandemic comes to an end.
If you’re tired of tripping over Legos or worrying the kids will stain the living room carpet with snacks during their long days at home, then your first priority should be choosing family room materials that will eliminate that stress. That includes picking stain-resistant fabrics for furniture, being selective about carpeting (it’s easier to toss or clean an area rug than wall-to-wall carpet), and carefully choosing paint styles and colors. Latex interior paint is ideal for homes with kids because it cleans easily with nothing more than soap and water.
Shut Out Screens
It’s one thing to set up computers for a temporary remote learning space in your family room, especially if that makes supervision easier, but otherwise, consider making your family room a screen-free zone. With most activities still remote, everyone – but especially kids – are spending more than enough time in front of screens. Instead, use the space to make room for plenty of space for age-appropriate hands on activities. For younger kids, that might be blocks and playdough, while older children can tackle a classic jigsaw puzzle or set up cooperative board games.
Make Cleaning Kid-Friendly
Every parent has been there: the kids have made a mess and trying to get them to clean up has turned into a battle of the wills. Cleaning up after them won’t teach them anything, but you can’t just live with the mess either. That’s why the best thing you can do, at least in your family room, is make it easy for kids to do the right thing. Post a task list – use pictures for pre-reading kids, clearly designate spots for each item using labels or pictures, and ensure that those spots are easy to reach, open, and close. It’s all well and good to ask the kids to clean up, but if they can’t open the storage containers or reach the shelf, then it won’t get done.
Be Sure To Join In
While it’s important to make sure there are kid-sized furnishings and storage in the family room that’s appropriate for different activities, if you really want the room to be used, make sure to join your kids in the space regularly. Remember, this is a family room, not a playroom, and that means it’s everyone’s space. There should be as much room for your hobbies, grown-up games, or comfortable armchair chair for reading as there is for the kids. Get down on the floor and play, but also model your own independent activities. You’re all home together, and a family room should be designed for everyone’s enjoyment.