Beds are not just for sleeping in

The special importance of a bed from the perspective of a child

Playground, sleeping place and castle

The perception of depth, proprioception, of the children is stimulated when children can move around sufficiently in their bed. This is essential for the development of the brain and the facilitation of the nerve endings. But this is Beds have a special significance especially for children. They spend a lot of time in them throughout childhood. And not only for sleeping.  Children love to play, eat, listen to music or stories, read or even do gymnastics in their bed.  But the bed is also a „castle“ into which the child can withdraw if it is feeling sad or when it is sulking. It is also the favourite place for dreaming and cuddling.

For adults and children alike, the bed represents a very personal space. Entirely different features are important for children where their bed is concerned. For them the appearance of the bed is important. The look of the bed should
appeal to the child‘s eyes. They prefer beds with a coloured design which look interesting and whose shape and colour are inviting.

Not only the appearance but also the feel has to be right. Children explore their surroundings not only with the eyes but mainly with their hands.   They prefer beds that appeal to the visual and haptic perception. This is fun and stimulates the child‘s imagination.

Feeling good and experience . . .

Another important aspect for children is that they can feel good in their beds. Feeling good just does not mean soft bed linen and cuddly toys but also the use of agreeable materials for the bed. The use of smooth, well-shaped wood is as important here as a comfortable, soft mattress.   Such materials not only make you feel good but also help in haptic perception which we discussed before.

Sometimes a goodnight story is not enough . . .

This is the same for children with special needs as for all other children. The main difference is that many of these children have trouble falling asleep and sleeping through the night. It is not unusual for them to take a long time to fall asleep. Often parents need to take the time to lie next to their child till it falls asleep. Waking up frequently during the night is also not unusual for these children. Unfortunately for the parents, they often do not go back to sleep by themselves which means that the parents need to attend to their children once again.

Some children need extra care during the night, either to have their diapers changed or for the child to be repositioned. This means that every night the parents and their children spend a lot of time together in and around the bed. A reasonable size, to allow room for therapies or for just spending time in bed, is important here. In some cases oversized beds are necessary. The child care bed is of far greater importance than is the case for children without disabilities.

What should such a child care bed be able to do . . .

It is clear that a child care bed has to meet entirely different requirements compared to that of a „standard bed for children“. lt is not only used by the child to sleep but also by the parents as a support for their nursing activities. If a child suffers from sleeplessness and cannot fall asleep by itself, the bed should sometimes even provide space for a parent to sleep.

The child care bed is frequently also used in a different context – many therapists use the bed as a therapy bed. The child care bed should be designed such that it allow the child exactly as much freedom of movement as the child is able to make use of.