|(Photo by Steve Ford Elliott)|
Lynne Ticknor of Mom's Homeroom reports on a study by Esther Sternberg, M.D. of the National Institutes for Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Sternberg states that "there is a strong relationship
between how we view our environment and what our levels of stress are." Therefore, a child in an "overstimulating environment" (i.e., "too much sound, light, visual confusion") could begin to feel "hyped up, nervous and overanxious."
Although children are bound to sometimes visit overstimulating places (Disneyworld anyone?), the good news is that parents and caregivers can easily create "beautiful, calming spaces" for children practically anywhere. This can be as simple as "throwing an old sheet over a small side table" or as elaborate as building a life-size playhouse.
Ticknor lists factors to consider when creating such a space in a child's own room. These include the following: Declutter (use organizing bins and donate unused objects); Soft lighting (preferably non-fluorescent); Soothing colors (such as greens and blues); Soothing sounds (reduce jarring noise and utilize "white noise"); Comfort, comfort, comfort (think soft and cuddly); Calming scents (possibly lavender and vanilla).
Preschoolers might choose to nap, color, or thumb through books in spaces like these. Older children might "listen to soft music or write in a journal."
And who knows? Adults might feel inspired enough by all this to create such "sacred space" within their own hectic environments…
Copyright October 23, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke All Rights Reserved