Baby Blue


We all have our favorite colors; babies are no exception. We do not just develop an appreciation for color as adults; babies and children are also affected by it, both positively and negatively. We need to know how color can have a positive or negative effect on our children, and how to harmonize their feelings; it might help them sleep better.

Newborns happen to be extremely sensitive to colors. They can even be affected by the color of their clothes, as well as the color of those cute little baby hats you see so often. Color therapist June McLeod, who worked with a nursery childcare organization on a study about color, has seen, at firsthand, how the proper use of color can have an extremely positive effect on the children involved, including the following advantages:

  • Improved emotional development;
  • Increased  sharing and cooperation;
  • Decreased noise levels;
  • Reduced tension and aggression;
  • Babies slept more easily and peacefully;
  • A calmer, happier and more relaxed environment was created;
  • Children found it easier to organize their own thoughts, which could lead to better intellectual development in the long term.

It is thus important to make sure babies do not get upset by the colors that surround them. That is why pastels are all good colors for baby clothes, booties, blankets and so on. You may think pastel colors for babies are a bit boring and old‑fashioned but there is some sense in choosing pale pinks and blues for babies’ bedrooms because babies are far happier surrounded by calming soothing pastel shades. The traditional pink and blue is not necessarily gender specific at all, both work well for babies of either sex.

These new little arrivals have a lot of adjusting to do and thrive in a calming environment. Avoid busy patterns and strong colors in their rooms as this will encourage hyperactivity, lack of sleep and restlessness. If you are preparing your baby’s room, and do not know the sex, you could opt for a calming pale lilac, which is suitable for both sexes and has an equally calming effect.

However, this does not mean babies should be kept away from vibrancy at all times. Babies deserve the positive aspects of the outside world, including its colors, so bright things can be saved for special play time. For toddlers, color can be used effectively to help stimulate intellectual development.

“However,” warns June, “toddlers can only take short bursts of time in ‘loud’ colorful environments. Bright, primary-colored environments can be beneficial for short periods of time, but not for full days, as strong colors will bombard their senses.”

In order to avoid overstimulation, June recommends sticking to calm pastels on walls, and introducing the brighter primary colors with toys, equipment and soft furnishings. “Brightly colored toys can then easily be moved or stored away to create a more restful atmosphere for quiet times.”

Also to encourage peace and tranquility in the bedroom, June advises using a coral, peach or soft pink shade on the ceiling space. “Your child will spend time each day and night looking at the ceiling and these colors not only encourage intellectual development but also create the feeling of a safe and secure space.”

If you are now worried that an incorrect color choice will result in endless tantrums and sleepless nights, fear not; general color rules are relatively easy to follow. Red, orange and yellow are considered “magnetic” colors; they make a strong impact, are warm, energizing and uplifting.

On the other hand, blue, indigo and violet are “electrical” and, therefore, are cool, soothing and calming. Green lies in the middle of the spectrum; being neither warm nor cold, it creates balance. We often retreat to the green of nature when we need space, calm and a sense of peace; using green in décor thus helps create a feeling of harmony and balance.


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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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