This is my daughter Halle. She is my baby and my fourth tween girl. She is currently in that confusing time between childhood and adolescence where here body and emotions are changing like crazy. She is a bit reluctant to leave childhood behind, but she is also excited for what lies ahead. She is happy that she is changing, but wishes that nothing else would. She is watching her sisters grow up, go to college, get married…and it is rocking her little world. She is happy, but she is starting to sense that life is a bit uncertain for everyone including her. And sometimes that is hard.
So what can a mother do to help? There are so many things…really listen, lots of time together, encouragement, understanding, consistency, honor traditions, let her play, but let her grow up, too. I think it is especially important at this stage to help her understand the beauty and power of being a girl, and all of the incredible opportunities that comes with the roles of woman, wife, and mother.
The tween years are also a great time for building mother/daughter relationships. Daughters still enjoy time with mom and value her opinion. Moms enjoy “girl time” with daughters and feel important in their lives. This time can really form a strong foundation for the sometimes rocky years ahead. I try to take full advantage of this time and really bond with my girls as much as possible. So far, this strategy has been very rewarding. One specific thing that I’ve done with each of my girls at this stage is create a bedroom space for them that reflects who they are and what they are becoming. Although each of my daughters’ spaces have been very different, the basic process has been the same…
Creating A Bedroom Fit for a Tween
1. Create an area that is their very own.
It does not have to be their own bedroom, but they should have a spot in their bedroom that is just for them. I shared a room for all but one year of my childhood. While sharing, my parents made sure that we each had our own spot in the closet, our own shelves, our own drawers, our own sides of the room. My daughters have been lucky enough to have their own rooms, but they have also all shared. When my oldest daughter Courtnee was a tween, we created a bedroom for her in our unfinished basement. It had a very industrial feel complete with lights and glass ornaments attached to the rafters, a closet made from rope and dowels, and a sheet for the door. It was super cool…and very private!
Halle has slept in the same bedroom since she was 1. She shared it with Lainey for several years, but she has been on her own for the last 4. This is her new tween space…
2. First, decide what YOU can live with…and then offer THEM some choices.
This is something I’ve had to learn the hard way. When Riley was a tween, she wanted bright, bright colors in her room. So I painted her walls a bright orange and decorated with bright pink, turquoise, and green. You could literally see her room glowing from the opposite end of the hallway. It was just too much.
So this time, I gathered some ideas and images that I liked, and let Halle choose from them. Another thing, decide your budget, and then offer choices that work financially.
Halle’s original request for her bedroom was no blue…and black walls with orange. I definitely could not live with that! So I showed her some images from Pinterest and let her help make decisions along the way. I chose gray and white paint for the walls and the fabric for the curtains. She chose yellow for her dresser drawers, and the colors of string for her String Art Panels. I chose the stag heads on either side of her mirror, she chose the type of garland we made.
3. Add touches of Childhood…
Tweens are usually a bit reluctant to let childhood go (this makes me happy). So make sure they keep some of their favorite toys and memorabilia around. Halle has a big drawer full of stuffed animals, her sock money “Mr. Monkle,” and some bins of toys that she still plays with occasionally. She also has a shelf with a few of her favorite treasures from our trips.
4. …and some more grown-up things that are Cool and Shiny.
Halle’s Cool items: grown-up art supplies, a basket made from recycled plastic bags to house her growing electronic collection, and an awesome alarm clock.
5. Include some meaningful family items.
Tweens are old enough to appreciate and care for things, so now is a good time to introduce a few fragile things to their space…not too fragile, though. Halle’s room has a colorful afghan that my grandma made (it is washable) and a dresser that has been in Joe’s family for years (it is totally wipeable). The dresser has been well-used, so I painted the inside of the drawers as well as the outside. There are a couple of places on the drawers where a bit of wood has broken off, but I left it as is because it reminds me of so many family members that have used and enjoyed this piece of furniture (and I had no idea how to fix it).
6. Personal touches are Essential!
A tween’s space is all about them, so make sure their room reflects that. Halle’s personal touches…wall art that shows her creative side and her happy side, and her name on string art panels so that there is no doubt about whose room this is. We also added some religious images to remind her of who she is and where she is going. An added bonus: they were painted by her BFF’s aunt.
7. Keep things minimal if that is what they want…and thank your lucky stars!
Lainey wanted a very minimal tween room with not a lot of fuss. So, we moved her into Riley’s old room, painted the walls a soft blue, and kept most things as is. It was important to her that her wooden horse stable remain, as well as lots of books and stuffed animals. That was it, so that was all we did, and she was very happy with that. (Now that she has seen Halle’s room, though, she is ready for a bit of an upgrade).
8. Essential items for a tween girl’s room…a mirror, a garbage can and lots of pillows.
I have always had a desk area in my girl’s rooms, but they very rarely use them! They prefer to do their homework in the kitchen, on the couch, at our computer desk, or in front of the tv (unless I catch them). So, for the first time, I didn’t include a desk in Halle’s room, and so far it has been just fine. Ironically, she loves her room so much that she has started doing her homework in there quite often, but she just sits on her bed or stretches out on the floor. It seems to be working great.
*Adding a puppy is crazy, but also lots of fun.
That’s about it for this room. What else would you include in a tween room? I’m opposed to a tv or computer in their room, but I think music is a must!
If you have any questions about sources, please ask in the comment section and I’ll be sure to let you know.