Environment as the third teacher: the role your home environment plays in raising your child

Home is where the heart is - the cliché saying that can be found on cushions and tea towels may sound a little throwaway, but the truth is this: home really is where the heart is - but sometimes you need to work hard to create a space that you actually love.

Of course, it isn’t about the ‘stuff.’ Home environment has a lot to do with who you are spending time with too. In the early years, with young kids in tow, it can be really difficult to create a beautiful space. Life (and the clutter that comes with it) feels like it is happening to you.

I used to feel the same way: like I was living in a space that wasn’t my own. That I had to just put up with all the clutter – then I decided I needed to stop living like that!

For the last 6 years, I have lived my life as an expat. I had two of my three children in foreign countries, without the usual support network of friends and family. Needless to say that was a big adjustment to make.

For a while, I was completely overwhelmed by life as mum to young children without the usual opportunities to catch a break. Life felt like it was happening to me, until the day I decided to take control of my home environment.

When I chose to create a welcoming home environment, seeing the space as a safe haven rather than a gilded cage, it changed everything. Days become more structured, they had a natural rhythm and flow to them, and the kids (and me!) were much calmer.

Creating a beautiful, functional home environment meant that I felt in control of my life again. It allowed me time to get on with my own passions and help the children to become more independent.

ikea kallax shelves

1. A well organised home environment helps to boost your wellbeing

More and more of us are feeling completely overwhelmed in our own homes. The main reason? We simply have too much stuff. By clearing out the clutter and taking back control, your mind will become much clearer.

The thing is, physical clutter also leads to mental clutter, meaning that everything gets overwhelming. Without clutter, you will be more able to dedicate time to yourself – my personal favourites include journaling, meditation and Pilates!

2. A well organised home environment helps your children to play for longer

Having a toy rotation system, along with a dedicated play space means that there is more time for play! Having a toy rotation system in place helps children to really see what toys they have and avoids the complete overwhelm that tends to happen when toys are dumped into a toy chest.

If your children regularly complain that they are bored, it’s unlikely that this is because they don’t have enough toys. It’s actually because they have too much and they become overwhelmed by what to play with. By organising the play space and home environment, old toys will feel like new again and your child will be able to play for longer.

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3. A well organised home environment helps children to become more independent

A place for everything and everything in it’s place! By having clearly organised and labelled spaces for your children to put their personal belongings, they will be well and truly on the road to independence.
Here’s the thing, if your child is unsure about where to put things, because there is no organisation, then it will be very unlikely that they can tidy away by themselves. If you’d like to read more about practical life activities and independence, click here.
ikea flisat table

4. A well organised home environment means less housework!

Did you know that decluttering reduces housework by 40% (according to the American National Soap & Detergent Association). If you think about, this really does make sense – cleaning out the clutter means less to tidy up. This combined with helping your children to become more independent means more time to take care of yourself and boost your own wellbeing

5. A well organised home environment means more time together as a family

Do you ever feel guilty when your child asks you to play? If your house is currently cluttered and your mind is on a million other things, it’s unlikely that you can get stuck in to the important business of play! So by organising your space and getting organised, you will be able to go 100% all in on family time.



A well organised home environment will help your children to become more independent and allows YOU to spend more time doing projects that you love.



Sian Thomas
an image of This Playful Home founder, Sian Thomas. The photo includes a photo of her daughter when she was around 18 months old

I’m Siân (rhymes with yarn), a play advocate, proud parent to three, and former teacher. My mission is to infuse more joy and less overwhelm into the lives of parents. Discover play-based activities with me that not only make learning FUN but also forge deep connections with your young learners, creating memories to cherish forever.