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Get smarter kids
Fact: your kids' environment has a huge impact on their behaviour, mood and even cognitive function. Experts explain why you should give a little thought when decorating your little ones' lairs.
1. Fantasy bedroom
Encourage your children to think and express themselves in their own bedrooms. It should be a place of fantasies – so create themes such as fairies, pirates, princesses and sailors. Add some nautical flavour with striped fabrics and accessories from Cath Kidston: we love the boat pillowcase (£15). Cast your little prince or princess in their own fairytale with pretty fairy lights scattered around their room. Magic.
2. IQ boosting hues
Bright colours, such as red, blue, yellow or green, can be energising and stimulating; US studies found that splashes of orange and yellow may boost IQ by 12 per cent. We like Not On The High Street's kikoy cushion cover (£14.95). But use bright colour sparingly so it isn’t over stimulating – the Charlie 3 drawer chest blue (£59.99) from Homebase is a good compromise.
3. Baby bookworms
The National Literacy Trust maintains that children who get in the habit of reading from an early age are more likely to foster a long-lasting love of books. Celebrate their collection with the doll's house bookcase (£100) from Great Little Trading Co. or the Hensvik bookcase (£29.90) from Ikea.
4. Blue walls equal academic results
Pale blue walls in schools can help boost academic achievements and decrease disruptive behaviour. Keep it relaxed with Laura Ashley's colour wash stripe wallpaper (£9.60) or if you're feeling creative try painting a ceiling mural, with clouds. Experts say blue sky is a great de-stresser and puts anxieties into perspective, because it helps you see your own situation in a larger context.
5. In the pink
Give into her demands for pink. A study from London’s South Bank University found that pink had a calming effect on prisoners. It could work on your angst-ridden teenage madam. Opt for pastels rather than brights; try pretty pinks and florals from Cath Kidston, like the chintz floral white wallpaper (£22), or Wilton wallpaper (£20) from the Laura Ashley Collection.
6. Brighten up for better school results
A study by City University found that 12% of children have undetected visual problems which cause headaches and may be linked to impaired concentration at school. Ensure they have a good light for reading with the Decca 4 spot light bar (£45) from John Lewis or for girlie girls, the Anglepoise in polished chrome and purple (£319.99) from Holloways of Ludlow.
7. Soften up
Neuroscientists found that focusing on happy thoughts and emotions can permanently change the working of the brain. When participants practised feeling love and compassion, their brains went into action - connecting and building new circuitry at high speed. photos of family members and keepsakes of happy times to keep your tot surrounded by love. We love this retro style photo cube (£6) from Not on the High Street.
8. Make music
According to psychologist Dr Aric Sigman, children watch too much telly which affects linguistic and social development in toddlers, and may also be linked to autism. Keep televisions out of the bedroom, and instead develop a love of music with a good old fashioned radio (some experts say music lessons may increase IQ by a few points). You can't beat a washed roses Robert's Radio (£200) from Cath Kidston.
9. Protect them
Reduce their risk of allergy and help the planet by choosing organic cotton sheets.Check out the range of anti-allergy bedding from Feather & Black like the anti allergy pillow protector (£9).
10. Turn green
One study from Texas A&M University found that flowers and plants significantly boost creativity and productivity. Men generated 30 per cent more ideas when near plants and flowers, according to the study, so think what a vase of flowers or potted plants could do for your kids. This Children's Vegetable Growing Kit (£38.95) from Not on the High Street is a genius way to entice the little ones to get gardening.
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