How to choose children's furniture

Guide on Creating Ideal Space for Your Baby

As soon as a baby begins to sit, stand and walk, the question arises: "How to choose furniture for the baby's room?" A child needs a table and a chair for eating and playing, a step stool for sink and surfaces in the kitchen, and a comfortable place to change clothes.

Large multifunctional Montessori bench

Where to start when choosing children's furniture

When buying something for another person, we do not buy it just because we like it. The baby has his/her own perception of the object, his/her own ways of interacting with him in different periods of early childhood, which are different from how we use the furniture.

In order not to be disappointed in your own choice, it is necessary before buying to look at the thing from two sides (perspectives) - your own and the child's.

The view of the shelves from a baby's perspective

To look from a baby's perspective means to try perceiving the furniture as the baby does at the current and each further stage of early childhood:

For a newborn baby the shelving unit is an eye-catching blurred landmark that helps him/her adapt to life, gain a sense of security, stable environment, and discover an understanding of keeping the house in order.
For a baby who is not crawling yet, but is already rolling over, the shelf is seen as a two-dimensional picture depending on the position of the body.

Montessori furniture - open mini shelves
As the baby gets older, a familiar piece of furniture encourages him/her to expand contact: the baby touches it, uses it as a support for pulling up and moving, tastes it, looks at it from different angles.
At the age of confident walking, there is an innate need for keeping the perceived order accepted in the family.
The toddler is interested in practicing caring for a piece of furniture: this is how he/she learns about the world around, learns to handle things with care, and increase his/her knowledge of bounds and freedom.

Shelves from crawling child's point of view

To look from a parent's perspective is to understand the influence of furniture on the personality being developed: what a child will gain from interacting with it. This concept includes our awareness of what product to buy, how to fit harmoniously into the family's everyday life to satisfy children's interests, while maintaining the well-being of family life.

Chairs and tables

Furniture stores often do not have furniture suitable for the age of 1+. If the furniture is wooden, this disadvantage can easily be eliminated by trimming it to the desired height. A chair for a baby should be of such a height that the baby's feet touch the floor, and not dangle in the air.

Accordingly, as with a chair, you need to trim the legs of the table. This greatly affects the development of the skeleton and the formation of posture.

Here are the approximate sizes of children's tables and chairs.
Montessori Multifunctional Furniture SetHow to choose a chair for a baby:

for a child 80-92 cm in height - height of 20-22 cm;
for a child 93-104 cm in height - height of 24-26 cm
for a child 105-114 cm in height - height of 26-28 cm
for a child 115-124 cm in height - height of 30-32 cm.

How to choose a table for a child:

for a child 80-92 cm in height  - height of 40-42 cm;
for a child 93-104 cm in height - height of 45-47 cm;
for a child 105-114 cm in height - height of 50-52 cm
for a child 115-124 cm in height - height of  54-56 cm.

The child also needs a chair for changing clothes in the hall or in the room. The peculiarity of such a chair is that it should be slightly lower than the chair on which the baby sits at the table. If you, for example, use a chair with a height of 20 cm, the chair for changing clothes will be 18-19 cm. And these 2 cm are very important.

Step stools

Now let's look at step stools for the sink and surfaces in the kitchen. Children under 2.5-3 years old are not able to remember that they stand at height. They are often immersed in games and can stumble. Therefore, the ideal option - step stools with protection or railing on the sides and with a limiter at the back. An important point is the presence of steps.

Wooden helper tower for children

The ideal option is to order a helper tower, the steps of which can be changed in height as the child grows.

Low hooks

Add a low hook to the interior to make the house more comfortable for children. By setting it at the child's height level, you'll help your baby become more independent in everyday life. To understand the optimal height of the hook, ask your baby to raise his/her hands (with elbows slightly bent) and fix the hook at that level.

Imagine how uncomfortable it would be for you to have to ask someone to hand you a towel to wipe your hands, or to climb on a stool every time to reach something. A low hook in the bathroom or kitchen can help you avoid these problems.

We live in an amazing time of diversity and great choice, and you can find hooks for any occasion and for any taste. The best part is that you don't have to screw or hammer most of them into the wall - they attach easily to many surfaces.

Where you can attach a low hook:

In the bathroom for towels, bath sponges, next to the sink for a cleaning brush.
In the hall, by the entrance door, for outer clothing, backpack, kids' outdoor accessories.
In kitchen for towels, pinafore.
In the bedroom, for a housecoat, clothes.
In the pantry or cleaning corner for a broom, mop, and dustpan.
In the yard to organize gardening tools.
In the play area at baby's eye level for big toys, such as a play tunnel.
Next to the table at the child's height where the baby eats, for a cloth or bib.
In the wardrobe for one or two sets of clothes.

Racks and shelves for storing toys in the children's room

When choosing shelves for a child, it is important to put objects used at a level not higher than the baby's eyes. If babies have to reach for the toy with their hands up, they does not see the whole "picture". For example, if it is a tray, there may be objects on it that will simply fall if it is tilted. Thus, it's a good idea to have shelves for the child's height, or, if you already have high shelves, use only the space that is at the child's level.

Montessori open shelves for storing
- is the background for everything that will be located inside the shelf. Therefore, it is necessary to choose such a color shade of shelving so that its filling stands out clearly in volume and bounds, attracts at first glance, beckons.

The dark color draws attention to itself, competing with toys — they are "lost". Black is depressing, perceived as something without possibilities. The best solution for the nursery is furniture made of natural solid light-coloured wood (birch, maple, ash). Focus on warm, white color.

Dimensions. The length of the shelving for a baby from birth up to three years - 80-110 cm. Width 30 cm. The low shelves´ height of 40 cm is needed when the period of pulling up begins, so that the baby can hold on to it, stand, and then walk along the support, leaning on the shelving body. A higher shelving unit, from 56 cm, is appropriate for children of two - three years old and older.

Montessori Wardrobe for children

There are no dimensional accents for suspended shelves. The guideline is to make it comfortable for the baby to practice independence (picking up, putting up, taking care of) and not have to make more effort than it could be with other sizes.

If the shelves are very deep, objects will be pushed back against the wall while grabbing. In this case, the baby will have to put more effort to get the toy, look for devices with which to do it. These are unsafe conditions for independence. In addition, unsuccessful attempts to interact with the environment form a babies' lack of self-confidence and in their actions. An example of unsuitable furniture for the nursery - shelves in the shape of a cube.

Design. Rectangular and corner shelves are suitable for the nursery. No zigzags, mazes, houses, planes and the like. The child gets the first experience, and to start with a basic, conventional understanding of the type of furniture is the best solution. The shape should not be a distraction, its function is to give information about the purpose.

Make a choice based on the features of the interior in order to organize a safe, easy access to the shelving from all sides for the child. We recommend buying a shelf without legs, so that the baby does not have an incentive to lift, move it — this leads to dangerous situations. The absence of legs will eliminate attempts to crawl under the shelving, simplify cleaning.

Montessori Children's room open shelf

For safety, convenience, correct attitude to the children's psyche, their development, it is important that the shelf and the rack do not have protruding parts.

Choose shelves with rounded corners. They facilitate the processing of information: it is easier for the human eye to follow the lines corresponding to the natural movements of the eyes and head.

Smooth corners are convenient containers for information, because they direct the eye to the center of the rectangle and thus focus attention on the contents inside the container. Sharp corners abruptly break the line and deflect attention away from visual direction, causing an unexpected pause, directing attention outside the container. It is difficult to understand which line belongs to which container if they are close to each other.

In a shape with rounded edges, the line smoothly turns towards the desired container, everything is intuitively clear.

Preferably without internal partitions. Please note that a shelving with internal partitions prevents the formation of elastic thinking, easy and deep perception, attention concentration.

But the presence of a back wall is a must: a holistic view of the piece of furniture is shaped, focusing on the contents and convenient care is provided. If you intend to divide the space into zones with a shelf, then also choose a shelving with a back wall. This will give the baby the right orientation, focus attention on the subject of interest.

Montessori open shelves - White

Shelves for books. Take into account the peculiarities of designs for books meant for children:

books are placed in a single row;
there is a space for easy grabbing;

A book shelf should not cover more than ¼ of the book cover.

Shelves for books

Stability and security. When positioning the shelves, consider the flatness and level of the floor taking into account all safety measures. During infancy a toddler will use the structures for pulling up, supporting, walking. When the baby is slightly older, he/she can lean on them when doing something,  the idea of climbing to the shelf or using it as a step stool to reach new heights is not excluded. If there is even a hint of instability in the furniture or its parts, fasten it all securely together and attach it to the wall. The same rule is applicable to hanging structures.

Why shelves are better than toy boxes

Storage on a shelving unit or shelves allows children to see all their toys — children can easily pick them up and play with them. When toys are in a box, the children are not much engaged in them, their play is more like pulling out and throwing around the contents of the box.

Here are a few more reasons not to put toys in boxes:

Taking care of things. Shelves make it easier for children to take care of their toys. This is immediately noticeable if a part of some material has been lost or the toy needs repair. In addition, toys are less likely to break down this way: if we take care of something, we treat it carefully.

Order. Toys can be easily put on the shelf immediately after the game, and not left lying on the floor until the evening cleaning.

Accessibility. The baby sees all his/her toys and can easily take any of them.

Diversity. It is easy to change toys on the shelves and it is clearly visible which toys the baby has.

Minimalism. A child can do with a small number of toys.

It's calming - the shelves create a less chaotic atmosphere.

It's beautiful! Toys themselves are beautiful, why not use them to decorate the interior.

Montessori Children's bed

In addition to kid´s furniture, there are adult items in the house that we can't adapt for a baby. For example, we cannot make separate not high doors for children. But at some point, children begin to insist on their desire to do everything by themselves. Children find it difficult to close the door if they have to pull it on while stepping back - so the door hits or pinches their feet. The solution is very simple. Tie a ribbon to the handle. The baby will be able to pull the ribbon, closing the door at a greater distance from it. This method will give the baby space and time to feel his/her body and step back. In the same way you can help the kid in opening the sliding door wardrobe.

The described approach will help you make an educated decision and choose the right piece of furniture for your baby. We hope that these few tips on choosing children's furniture will help you to create a truly educational environment for your baby and keep him/her healthy.

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