Summer is coming to an end already! Who else is excited for their children to go back to school? Me! Honestly, as much as I love my son, I also find myself running out of activities to keep him occupied. It is pretty draining sometimes which is why part of me is slightly looking forward to him going back to school.
This year was actually my first back to school experience. And to be honest, I found myself a little worried about preparations. Of course, there is all of the buying the school uniform and I am sure for a lot of you, preparing stationery and getting routines back into motion. For me though, in particular, with my son, I find I have to mentally prepare him for changes coming ahead. It is something I have always had to do as he finds it quite difficult to adjust to changes unless he is prepared.
Last year, he was in Nursery. His time in Nursery was amazing, he really enjoyed it. And what I loved about his nursery, in particular, was the way they encouraged learning. Through learning, one thing his teacher had noticed was that my son doesn’t particularly enjoy drawing or writing at all. He avoids drawing as much as he can. This was okay during Nursery as the kids tended to play more anyway.
As the end of nursery came around, we noticed that he had just about got the hang of writing his name. This lead to a discussion with his teacher about encouraging him over summer to draw and write so he doesn’t completely forget everything he had just learned.
In the new school year, he will be starting reception. It is a slight change from Nursery, especially as the teachers try to ease the kids into learning in a more structured way. Now, as much as my son loves learning, sitting for any amount of time is something he finds quite difficult. And yes, he is still very young and sitting for long periods of time is almost impossible for any 4/5 year old, but preparing him for it is something I believe will really benefit him.
So when IKEA reached out to collaborate with me on an activity to help prepare my son for going back to school, I instantly knew exactly how they could help. I understood that preparing my son for going back to school would involve getting him more excited to draw and write. So, when I was put into contact with IKEA’s Interior Design Lead, Clotilde I told her all of the challenges I wanted her to help us overcome. Clotilde was able to offer her life at home insights and expertise into how we could create a space that would be inspirational for my son and also how to ease the process of going back to school. We decided to create an inspirational drawing and writing station for him, hoping to boost his creative side and unlock a love for drawing and writing, by allowing him to be completely independent in his own room.
Clotilde suggested pieces of furniture that would encourage him to get creative. Before creating this area for him, the only place my son would write at home was at the dining table. It wasn’t very inspirational for a child and in terms of height, it was quite hard for him as the table is too high.
We chose the writing station that would be located in his bedroom. The idea for this was so everything is easily accessible to him while he is in his room. The side of the room I chose already had a bookshelf taking up some of the space. I decided to take out the bookshelf and replace it with this writing station. This has it has allowed his whole room to become a place for creativity and productivity.
Having a table which he could reach was very important so we started with choosing a desk that is perfect for his age. Clotilde suggested the FLISATdesk, as it is adjustable. This is great because as he grows, the desk can be adjusted to his height. The JULES children’s chair really complimented the desk and is just his size. I feel like having his own desk at a height he can reach allows him to be able to want to sit. And because the desk is in his room, it is easier to control distractions around him. This allows him to focus on whatever activity he is getting on with.
On the desk, we have included a MALA paint/draw storage roll holder. The storage is great as you can add a roll of paper for drawing or colouring. You can also store paint pots and colouring pencils on both sides. I added the LUSTIGT colouring paper roll. It has already encouraged him to be more independent when reaching paper. The colouring paper makes him want to pick up colours and get colouring, something which was pretty much impossible before.
Because for children of his age, sitting for a long period of time probably won’t happen, Clotilde suggested we chose to include the MALA easel. I love the idea of this easel because it allows him to stand and draw. Giving him the choice of different ways to draw definitely allows him more practice at the skill. The easel also has a whiteboard side and can have a roll of paper attached to it giving the option of painting too!
To go with the blackboard side of the easel, we got the MALA chalks. These are large-sized colourful chalks. I love that they are big, it makes them last longer and they come in a container so you can just close the lid and neatly put them away, making it easier for organising.
We chose the FLISAT wall storage so the books he will be reading are easy for him to reach. It is great that Clotilde thought it would be good to add this as my son will have the option of reading when he wants. My son loves stories already, but I feel this will encourage him more independent reading, choosing books he can see and are close enough to reach.
Now, any parent will tell you that a kids desk space can get very, very messy! Getting my son to tidy up after a creative session, can be, well let’s just say, a real challenge. That’s why for us parents, getting desk related storage solutions right is so important. We always need practical and clever storage to enable the many colouring pencils, chalk, paper, pens, crafts, books, or toys that are not being used be put away, lest we forget what the desk actually looks like. To help me solve this problem, Clotilde recommended the TROFAST storage. This works perfectly because it also allows us to neatly put away all of the crafts my son is not using. By maintaining a clear and tidy workspace, I noticed my son is actually able to increase his productivity and enjoys using the space more. The TROFAST allows my son to focus on one activity at a time.
And lastly, to make the space a bit cosier for him, we chose the LUDDE rug. The LUDDE sheepskin rug feels soft and warm under your feet, which injects a really cosy touch to the writing station. I love that the LUDDE brings the whole writing area together for my son. It feels very tailored to his needs; he really enjoys the additional sensory feedback he gets when he runs his tiny feet along the rug’s light soft texture. The rug really is inviting, comfortable and cosy.
The writing station has really become an inspirational area for him to boost productivity and excite him to bring his imagination to life. In all honesty, prior to setting this work station up, my son saw picking up a pencil as a bit of a chore. But now, I love that he is so excited to draw that he races into his room, grabs a stick of chalk and starts scribbling without me even having to say a word.
He feels more inspired by his surroundings and I can see this little corner of our home becoming a very integral space for his development, starting with getting him prepared for back to school and in future helping him to achieve learning milestones and enjoying the process too.
IKEA can really help parents make their children’s home environments imaginative and inspirational thanks to such a variety of products designed with children’s growth and development in mind.
(Disclaimer: Ad, I was sent the products in this post from IKEA. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I only collaborate with brands I love and think you will love too.)