Of course, babies also like to suck their own toes. Does it really matter what colors they prefer? Does mother know best? Skelton says scientists “are still trying to build a solid idea” of how our visual stories affect our perception later in life – “but it’s more a question of how much and what affects it, not whether it affects it,” she adds. In 2007, Norwegian scientists studied humans born across the Arctic Circle and compared those born in the fall, where prolonged darkness meant they were exposed to lots of artificial light, with those born in the summer, when there is no night. The researchers found that adults born in the fall showed “a general decrease in color sensitivity” and argued that “the environmental impact on color vision can have an effect in early childhood, in all likelihood during the first months of life. ” So, says Skelton, there are clearly “ways in which your perception is shaped by your perceptual history,” but we do not yet know much about less extreme examples. We can not really say whether a baby with a light blue nursery will grow up to perceive the world differently than a baby with a tan.
Still, Skelton believes that neutral nurseries are not “optimized” for babies, noting that finer details in monochromatic environments are invisible to infants. In the end, she says, it’s probably okay – children of aesthetic mothers will still be exposed to lots of colors out in the world – “but it’s just a bit of a shame.”
“I think people underestimate babies, and they underestimate their vision. And babies want to look at things, and they’re driven to seek new information, so it’s a bit of a shame not to offer them that,” Skelton says. In addition, she notes, a high-contrast print can capture a baby’s attention for a good while, giving parents a good opportunity for a break.
Science is sound – and nuanced – but it does not necessarily justify judgmental memes (although on TikTok, some people now refer to themselves as aesthetic mothers embracing the nickname). When asked about the neutral kindergarten trend, Tricia Schools, a psychology professor at City University of New York who studies infant brain development, says, “I love it personally.”
Schools’ research focuses on “shared attention”, times when adults and children focus on the same object, and children therefore learn more optimally. Schools argue that if parents have a common interest in their child’s environment, they will be better able to promote common awareness. “You do not want to set up situations, as we see so often, where you have an area in the home that is the child’s place, and then you have the adult room somewhere else,” she says, “I like to see toys, that fits into the home that it is OK to leave out your toys because it looks good. ”
Amanda Gummer, a child developmental psychologist and founder of the Good Play Guide, emphasizes that there is no single right way to raise children, and “to be a happy, healthy parent who does things that make you feel good about your family life is valuable and valid. ” Take it clear Paw Patrol-smaller birthday cake: Who can judge, asks Gummer, a parent who bakes their child a cake without additives from scratch? Likewise, she quickly adds, who can judge a parent who buys an addictive readymade Paw Patrol cake? “The judgment of parents, especially mothers, has just gone to another level,” she says, “there’s way too much of it around.”
Beige bedrooms may therefore not be the most stimulating environments for newborns, but provided these infants are not locked inside their bedroom 24/7, there is not much cause for concern. If you want a kindergartener who knows Instagram but is concerned about your child’s development, Skelton advises high contrast printing with great detail rather than fine detail: “There are lots of rules of thumb – babies like to look at strange, so if you had four flowers one way and then a flower upside down, they would find it exciting to look at. “
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