Susie is 5 years old. She likes her room very much. She says she feels like a princess in it. Colourful butterflies are stuck on the pink walls. The carpet looks like a flowery meadow. Colourful curtains hang in the window, and on the shelves there are lots of dolls in colourful outfits and cuddly toys in all the colours of the rainbow. Zuzia also has lots of games, puzzles and jigsaw puzzles, which barely fit on the shelves. When she stands in front of the bookcase, it's hard for her to decide what to play with.
TThis could be a description of many children's rooms and at the same time a "recipe" for a sensory-unfriendly environment. It is generally accepted that a child's room must be colourful, because that makes it more cheerful. So colourful are the walls, the carpets, the bedding, and of course the toys - not only that they attract attention with their multitude of colours, but also that they often make different noises, glow, vibrate ....
Let's think about whether we adults would feel comfortable in such an interior. Would we be able to rest in such a room after a hard day, relax and calm down? For most of us this would probably be difficult. For a developing brain, it is doubly difficult.
Too many stimuli - especially colours and sounds - can lead to overstimulation of a young child's nervous system, especially if the child has sensory integration problems and is, for example, visually and aurally hypersensitive. The world around us, especially in big cities, bombards us with an excess of sounds, images and smells. Why then add to this stimuli for our children? A child's nervous system is not able to process so much information, which results in overstimulation. An over-stimulated child is a crying child, a grouchy child, a child with excessive emotional and motor excitement, a child with problems with calming down and falling asleep.
Let's not do this to our children and, when furnishing their rooms, follow the rule - the fewer the better .....
special educator, specialist in sensory integration