How can I create a peaceful, Buddhist-inspired bedroom for my child?

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Anamika says that the Laughing Buddha is an excellent symbol to keep in a child’s room.
I’ve been searching for Buddhist-inspired baby and/or kid’s rooms online — and I haven’t found much. Many of the rooms I’m finding are for adults, and I’m not sure how to incorporate the ideas into a kid’s room. I would love to see other people’s creative takes on creating a Buddhist (any branch of Buddhism) baby nursery.

I’m trying to figure out how to mix together my sense of quirk, natural materials, simplicity, colorful, and our family’s Buddhist practice into a warm, loving, nourishing baby room, and I’m hoping someone else has done it before me! — Kelly

I’m not Buddhist, but my husband (and Offbeat Mama contributor!) is. So I sent your question to him. He suggested focusing less on Buddhism and instead opting for a peaceful and zen — but also kid-friendly — environment, and bounced How to Feng Shui the Bedroom of Your Children back at me (after pointing out that Feng Shui is from Taoism). So here’s most of the list, along with products where applicable:

  • Keep the room clean and clutter free.
  • There should be no mirror or reflective surfaces facing the bed.
  • Place the bed in such a manner that there is a solid wall at the back or at least a good headboard to encourage support and stability. Bed placement should not be too close to the window or directly in line with the door. There should be room to walk around each side of the bed. Avoid using bunk beds or metal beds. Choose wooden beds over metal beds.
Our son sleeps on this wooden bed by Dream On Me ($125).
These Jenny Lind beds ($549) are another option, and could transition with your child as he or she gets older.
  • Use soft and light colored bed linen on your child’s bed.

From left to right: Catch the Waves Sheet Set ($16-129), Teal Flat Sheet Set ($16-129), Scalloped Sheet Set ($14-119), Lavender Window Pane Sheet Set ($14-119), Breezy Stripe Sheet Set ($14-109).

  • Choose a good sleeping direction based on the Kua Number preferably in the “wisdom and education” direction of the child so that your child gets better grades and improves their attitude about school.
  • Keep aquariums or fountains away from the child’s room as it can create yang energy.
  • Put positive pictures like a happy family photo facing the child’s bed which is comforting to the eyes of a child and makes him feel secured.
  • The color of a child’s bedroom should be warm and nurturing. It is advisable to choose colors that are not too bright. Colors like light blue, light pink, light yellow, beige, peach and green are some good choices.
  • Place the study table in such a manner that the child’s back is not against the door or with the child facing the window. An ideal placement would be the child sitting facing the best study direction and with a solid support on the back like a wall behind or mountain scene poster to give support.
  • There should not be any sharp edged furniture in the child’s room as these poison arrows can result in bad energy.
  • Use a Crystal sphere in the main window to slow down or activate chi.
  • The study table should be kept clean and organized at all times.
  • The Laughing Buddha is an excellent symbol to be kept in child’s bedroom.

The list is quite extensive, and you can read the rest of it here. In the meantime: how have you created a peaceful sleeping environment for your kids?

Comments on How can I create a peaceful, Buddhist-inspired bedroom for my child?

  1. Honestly I think keeping the room clutter-free and encouraging the child to keep mess to a minimum goes a loooooooong way. My house growing up could have been featured on Hoarders and it was so stressful living in that environment.

    But as far as fun things you can do, I’m currently making jizo pillows to place on the futon we’re keeping in the nursery. Jizo are protectors of children and I thought it would be nice to have a few keeping a watchful eye on things in the nursery 🙂

  2. While I personally am rather agnostic, I really enjoy seeing differing parts of religions such as Feng Shui and seeing how they can really say something about humans.

    Like the “don’t have shiny surfaces facing the bed” – so easy to get really creeped out when you’re sleeping and see something in the mirror! Totally not peaceful! I feel like a lot of religious type things are like this. Rest on the 7th day – I think that’s what’s needed for humans to be healthy is to have a rest day. Don’t eat pork – people got sick because of uncooked pork.

  3. I would also question what the differences between a “child’s” room and an “adult’s” room is for you. And how do those expectations meet with Buddhism, Feng Shui or other things.

    Personally, I found very little difference. We like to keep our lives fairly minimal, clean and simple. My daughter’s room is quite minimalist and well organized. We have a couple of focus points ie. a mural of a world map and a large drawing of my daughter and I that a friend did. Otherwise, we focused on creating a calm, restful environment for her. One that would grow with her.

  4. Maybe watch the Nickelodeon show Avatar: The Last Airbender for inspiration. It’s a cartoon based on Eastern philosophy that’s written for children (but I happen to know that it’s seriously enjoyable for adults 😀 ). It’s not literally about design, but it’s the first thing I think of when it comes to Buddhism + kids.

  5. I would suggest looking at Montessori-style rooms for inspiration. Aside from the reflective surfaces note, it sounds like many of the same concepts apply.

    Montessori roomes tend to go for an almost Shaker sense of design. They are functional, with everything ideally being both beautiful and useful. Floor beds or futons are most common. Minimal to no toys. Keeping the bedroom purely a space for sleeping and self-care maintains the integrity and simplicity of the space (and encourages good sleep habits besides… this goes for adults too!). Besides my own child’s room (which I lack pictures of because… I fail), this is my favorite Montessori bedroom:

    http://sewliberated.typepad.com/sew_liberated/2009/04/finnians-montessori-room.html

    It has even more stuff than I think is ideal in a Montessori room but you get the idea.

    Honestly due to the lack of excessive toys and other Stuff, they’re basically just like very simple adult bedrooms, with child sized items and everything placed at child’s eye level for easy access.

  6. You might want to also think about what uses you want the room to have that are related to your family’s practice of Buddhism. For example (and this is not a suggestion but just an idea, as I’m not even sure how realistic it is and I know nothing about your parenting plans), many nursing parents spend a lot of time reading or in front of the tv while nursing. If you see nursing as a time for meditative practice with your baby, what will you need to create a peaceful and supportive space for that? A comfy chair? Water in arm’s reach? A visual focal point?

    As baby grow’s into a toddler, maybe you’ll want open space on the floor to practice yoga together, or you’ll want to create a serene and cozy corner and teach Little Buddhist that it’s a good place to go to chill out or calm down if things get overstimulating. Kids do really well with associations, so associating a particular space with kid-friendly centering techniques could help them learn and use meditation from an early age.
    Regardless of these ideas, it might help to think about how Buddhist parenting will affect how you use the room, and going from there.

  7. There’s a little vaby/kid bodashiva but I can’t find him. Kwan yin stuff is loving. Dharma crafts has a catalog.

  8. I saw a really cool show on DIY where they did a big mural of a Buddha head on the wall. That would be really cute.

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