Child leave for college? Hands off of their bedroom, for now

If your child just go to school and you have dreamed of all the ways you could use that suddenly lifeless bedroom, you might want to the brush, and keep a little bit on the plans for a great room transformation.

It is an emotional time around, and experts advise against any sudden movements, tempting as they are.

“It is the mixed feelings of, ‘Wow, look at this potential space I am gaining, that I could do something with,’ mixed ‘Oh, my child is out of the house and they won’t be under my roof, every night,'” said Amy Panos, home editor for Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

With many families pinched for space, an uninhabited bedroom could be a place to work, to sports, to relax or for guests, or perhaps a bigger space for a long jealous of his little brother.

The best plan is, however, too late that the bedroom only for at least the first year, says Panos. That way, students can return home to the warm and loving environment of their room is still standing, and they do not feel as though they are forgotten or superseded, while they were adjusting to their new life.

“It is important for the child to know that they are still and will always be a comfortable place to land back at home,” said Panos. “They are still very much a part of the family even though they do not live in the home full-time.”

A teenager’s childhood bedroom is meaningful, a private place, away from the parents and brothers and sisters, where they shed a tear and be alone with their thoughts, and said: Vivian Seltzer, who was a professor of human development and behavior at the University of Pennsylvania for more than 35 years and is now a psychologist in a private practice in working with adolescents.

“It’s like a beloved sweater they feel comfortable, well, secret,” Seltzer said.

She recommends leaving the bedroom of a child intact as long as possible during the college years.

Of course, it is not always possible to leave the room untouched, especially in the larger families. But any change or a new application should be discussed with the child, after the parents to make sure that they agree with each other, Seltzer said.

“That is very important, because often they have not,” she said. “One of them had an eye on that room, and not the other.”

Talk with your child about plans for the room for a few months before it’s time to go, they are recommended. “For this topic in the discussion in advance, so that it is not on the edge of the child leaving for college, that is a very emotional period,” Seltzer said. You don’t want them to go home for the christmas holidays and shocked, “and say their whole room has changed; it is taken away from them.”

It can be easy to keep the space largely the same and still use it when your child is absent. If you need to sit on the desk, save for your child’s belongings somewhere safe and private. You can your son or daughter in which guests can stay in the room, but it will be ready for them on school breaks.

“Enjoy the space and the use of the space in a smart way,” said Panos. “If the child comes home, it is their space, but also the three weekends of the month, they are not at home, you can still make use of the preservation of a soft and comfortable place for them when they come home. I do not believe that you need to make the room a sanctuary for your child.”

Give the room a decluttering and a deep cleaning, but make sure you do not throw away objects, especially for your child.

After the first year you will have learned how often your child comes home, for how long and with how many things. “Once you have a better understanding of that, you can plan a number of changes that make sense for your needs, and how your child feels about the room,” said Panos.

Then maybe you have to replace the queen-size bed with a twin bed or a sofa to free up more space, said Panos. You can paint in a neutral color or buy nicer linens for the guests. By talking with your child about the change.

Remember, even kids who seem too cool for school about their room probably really care about, tattered posters, carpet stains and all. It is a place filled with memories, which adds a personal and emotional punch years in the making.

“Don’t underestimate the importance of the space for a growing child, even if it is a boy that acts like it’s no big deal,” said Panos. “It is a big deal.”


Lisa A. Flam is a news and lifestyles reporter in New York. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook .

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