When to move to a big girl room?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

If you remember a ways back, we had the great nursery debate where we wrestled with the option of making the nursery the tiny room closest to our bedroom or using the larger guest room.  You know now that we went with the smaller room and its worked out very well but I'm starting to think it might be a good idea to give her a little more space.  I had always planned on eventually moving her to the guest room anyway so it's just a matter of when.
a super quick drawing of what I'm thinking for the layout but Im very open to suggestion right now

As a nursery it worked very well since playing in that room wasn't a priority. Her clothes were small enough that it was easy enough to make do with a hanging rack in the hallway closet and a small dresser.  But as she is growing, so are her possessions. Particularly her toys which are taking ever greater areas in the living room.  She is still too little to play on the second floor alone but it would be nice to have more space to store all her stuff in one organized place when its not in use. The downside is that we lose our guest room.

So I turn to the moms of kids who are older.  When did having a room big enough to play in really make a difference? What are the most important elements of a toddler's room?

22 comments:

  1. My experience has been until my four kids were almost teens they really didnt want to play in their rooms. They want to be with me or where the action was with siblings. I always kept things almost dormitory like in the bedrooms. Made maintenance easy. Means you might need to reorganize your living space to make a kids space....

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    1. Oh I know she won't be playing alone in there but it would still be nice to have someplace to store her stuff. I'm sure there will be toys in the living room for many years to come, I just wish I didn't have to store all of them in there.

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  2. Hi! I love your daughter's nursery. My daughter is 2.5 now and I think we are not yet to the stage of playing alone in her room, as far as she doesn't want to, she'd rather be near us. I feel like every few months I am thinking about how to reorganize her things. It does help to have some shelves or storage to rotate toys, it reduces clutter and keeps her excited. One thing we have enjoyed is having a bookshelf (secured to the wall) and small chair (like pottery barn anywhere chair) so that she can relax and read in her room. We also just put in a small table for her to sit or stand at and do puzzles and games.

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    1. Exactly. I don't expect her to play alone for a while but it would be nice to have a play space that isn't the living room. Not that I expect my living space to be completely free of toys but at least we won't have to keep all of them in there at the same time.

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  3. My daughter is a year and she "plays" in her room alone, but her room is just off the main living areas so I can be cooking in the kitchen and still easily hear her.
    Can you put her things in the guest room but leave her in her little room for now? Can you move the guest bed into her room or is it too small? I know for our purposes, it's important for us to have a space where our many overnight guests can stay, but each family is different.
    I would LOVE to see you design another room though! :)

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    1. We don't have THAT many guests. I do like having a guest room when the random friend stops in for a longer visit but its not that much of a factor. I couldn't move the double bed into her nursery since its way too small but I could probably put a trundle or a futon in there for a small guest space. The problem is that its very close to our bedroom and Mr. L thinks its weird to be in such tight quarters. I think he is crazy :)

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  4. We moved Bootsy out of our bedroom and into his own room at about Agatha's age - maybe a little younger. We actually moved him into Nuni's room, and moved her into the former guest room/play room. I feel pretty strongly about NOT having toys all over the living room (at least, not having them stored in the living room) so having a place to play is nice - it's also good to have a room we can go in where I'm not constantly shouting "NO! Not (whatever thing it is he shouldn't be playing with)" Key is storage - both my kids have an Ikea Expedit with books and bins for toys.

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    1. Are you on one level or two? If we were on one, I wouldn't have toys in the living room either but I'm not sure how that would be possible on two levels with a child who isn't stair approved.

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  5. Good idea! If you put a full size bed in her room, you can also use it as a guest room when necessary and she can sleep in your room on the floor (camping!) or in the nursery/office. My kids starting playing in their rooms when they were about 4 years old. Both are really good at playing on their own which is either the result of good or bad parenting - the jury is still out.

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    1. Also, my kids' rooms are on the second floor, so not close to my kitchen/family room. And I do keep some toys in the living room but in slightly more closed storage. I sometimes rotate toys out so some lesser used toys go in their closets for a while and then come out 6 months later. More fun!

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    2. Oh that's a good point. We have had couples stay over so that wouldn't work so well but it would do in a pinch if we had a single guest.

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  6. My son is 2.5 and we live in brooklyn too with a tiny room for my son's nursery. From a sleeping perspective, he (so far) has been very happy in his crib and so we've continued to keep him there. He never stays there during the day though, so we decided to make our guest bedroom more functional. We got rid of the bed in the guest room and got a daybed that pulls out into a queen size bed if guests come. This way, we get to store his toys and play there when its just us and when guests come, all his stuff tucks away nicely into storage drawers.

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  7. Our guys didn't play in their rooms until much later, about 12 and 10, so having larger bedrooms wasn't required except for storage. We had a 3br place at the time and the boys shared the smallest room and we had a guest room large enough for a queen bed. To that room we added built in storage for toys. We rarely had guests, so having toys in there was never an issue. Actually it wasn't an issue when people stayed over, either. In the guest room, we had the toys in bench seat storage, in the closet shelves, behind biult in cabinet doors, and in some rubbermaid bins under the bed. We kept a good rotation of toys around the in the living room along with kid sized arm chairs in the living room. The living room toys were in a few strategically placed baskets and storage ottomans. Every month or so I'd take the toys from around the house and switch them out with some from the guest room (except for a few obvious favorites that would cause melt downs if they weren't available daily). It was like the boys were getting new toys every month and it kept the clutter down.

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  8. Hi there,

    I have two kids, 2.5 and almost one. We live in a small house in Toronto so toy storage is an issue too! I do keep toys on the second floor, in thier room, for playing and they do use the space. Its nice because I can be in the washroom or our master getting ready and they can happily keep themselves entertained. I am right there if anything is happening. My son is still in a crib and my daughter is in her crib with the front removed so its like a daybed. This leaves so much more floor space for playing. Also nice for a change of scenery when we've had a tough day.

    Hope that helps!
    Lindsay

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  9. Thanks so much for adding us to your sidebar. We have loved reading your blog for years.

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  10. I have a just turned 4 year old and a 22 month old. We have a 2 story home and we are only their rooms for bedtime. The size of the room doesn't matter a bit to them, it's all about the quality time we spend together there as we wind down for bed. We also spend a tremendous amount of time with them in our master bedroom (they do sleep in their own beds). Have you thought about creating a little play spot in your bedroom or the future big girl room to encourage play, but just keep her in her nursery for now? I have found that my boys have just loved their nurseries (22 mo old is still in his) and if you move them too soon (before 3 or 4) reject the "move up" anyway. Good luck!

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  11. I have 3 kids (with 4th on the way) and my oldest girl is now 9. She was a type of child who did not start playing on her own until much later while my son (now 6) always liked to be on his own. I would agree with some of the comments here that your best bet at this moment would probably be to use the guest bedroom as a playroom for little while before seeing how space is really used and getting her accustomed to new space before making a full move.

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  12. I'm surprised to hear so many commenters children didn't really play in their rooms until much later- but I'm guessing that's because their rooms may be on a different floor as the main living/hang out areas. My two (ages 5 and 3) love playing in their rooms and always have, but their rooms are just off the main living room and within earshot of the kitchen. I don't know if I have much advice about when to move your little one, but one element I've incorporated in to each of the kids rooms is a small table and chair, where they can create, color, do a puzzle, etc. They each have a small plastic caddy that holds crayons, scissors, colored pencils, etc, that they can transfer from room to room quickly and easily.

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  14. We're only now having toys in the bedroom -- at almost 3yo. Because I didn't use a crib, I felt it was better to keep the bedroom just for sleep and books -- and we had a smaller space so it worked well! Now, the bedroom operates as a private playspace when the rest of the house feels too crazy and I can trust my daughter to play independently there... books were enough for us to have "special" time in the bedroom.
    Looking forward to seeing the transformation!

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  15. This is going to sound crazy but is she a climber? Our little gal climbs on top of everything and anything, yet cognitively she can't be trusted. So if she is a climber you'll need to attach her toy shelves to the wall and perhaps not put in things like a table and chairs, that would just seem like invitations. We've decided to keep our gal in the small bedroom until she can be trusted on her own, because if not, her stuff is in the community areas anyway.

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