Creating a "Yes" Space
Parenting a baby or toddler who is on the move can be exhausting. Between hiding loose cords to keeping their fingers out of kitchen drawers, chasing around little ones could be considered an Olympic sport. We start to hear the word "no" come out more than the word "yes", leaving us feeling defeated and our children left to push the boundaries.
The solution many of us have been searching for is a "yes" space. Originally coined by Magda Gerber and the RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) approach, a "yes" space is an area in your home where the child is safe to roam, play, and explore without limitation. This is ideally an entire room in the home, but can easily be adapted to whatever is available. This approach comes with countless developmental benefits such as encouraging independence and independent play, deepening concentration, and experiencing freedom of movement.
Sound too good to be true? Creating your own "yes" space is easier than it sounds. Below are some tips to get started.
The Right Space
Choosing the right space depends on your home environment and what is reasonable for you and your family. Choosing a space you and your child like to spend time in and can be altered is best. The optimum "yes" space is able to be made safe, be void of large barriers, and has a natural aesthetic for the child. And most importantly, everything in the space should be free for the child to access and use!
Safety is the most important part of a "yes" space. You want to be confident your child would be as safe in this space as they would in a crib or pack and play. Hide any loose cords with cord covers or furniture. Make sure any small objects are removed and regularly check toys and activities for their pieces. Furniture should either be secured or removed from the space. A child should not be able to move from their "yes" space into another space. Look for door gates that are neutral in colour and are easy for the child to see through.
Freedom of Movement
No matter the age of your child, creating a space where they are able to move without restriction will benefit the whole family! By removing any objects that restrict movement and giving the opportunity for free movement allows children to deepen their concentration. For babies this might be a large mat or rug to practice rolling and scooting. This is where the DOVA is perfect for toddlers wanting to run and jump!
Get Down on Their Level
When setting up your "yes" space, try to do it from the vantage point of your child. What size is the furniture? Where are the pictures hung? How are the toys and activities stored? Can your child easily access anything in the space? Kneeling down or even crawling around the space will help you see the room from your child's point of view and will help you curate the space just for them!
We hope you enjoy you and your children enjoy the "yes" space as much as we do!