Q. How can a parent improve a child's playroom?
A. "The Number One problem we see in people's homes is that families have too many toys," says Karri Bowen-Poole, founder and co-owner of Smart Playrooms, a company based in upstate Rye that designs, builds and organizes play areas in homes and businesses. When parents buy toy after toy, the clutter makes it difficult for children to find what they are looking for or play productively. Evaluate each toy you have and keep the ones appropriate to your child's age and interests.
Designate a space for each toy, so it's easier for kids to clean up after themselves. "Our favorite storage items are clear containers with lids. Label each with a photograph and words," she recommends.
Don't have a TV in the playroom; keep it in the living room instead. Although there are educational TV programs, your kids could end up glued to the tube instead of taking advantage of other developmental toys you've provided.
"The easier option is to flick on the TV," Bowen-Poole says. Same goes for the iPad and other technology.
Don't decorate the playroom with adult furniture. Look for tables and chairs that are close to the ground, which will help children play independently. Keep hooks for hanging up dress-up clothes close to your children's height so they can reach costumes without help. Also make sure any drawers are within reach to encourage children to put things away, she says.