What is a healing space?

 Healing spaces fir kids are places where children can feel a sense of well-being. It’s a place to find rest, and experience recovery of the mind, body, or soul. Historically speaking, healing spaces can be found in religious buildings, parks and gardens, museums, and hospitals. some of the aspects that make these places great healing spaces can be incorporated into your home to promote rest and recovery.

A little background

  Healing spaces as places for the sick and injured to recover is a concept that the Civil War nurse Florence Nightingale developed. In her theory of nursing, she believed that creating a healing environment would be therapeutic for patients. She thought that the elements which would be helpful in recovery included a place that was quiet, warm, had clean air, light, and healthy foods available.  Florence Nightingale may have lived over a hundred years ago, but these elements of care are still valid today when it comes to creating a healing space.

What are the benefits of creating a Healing Place?

 In the hospital setting, healing spaces are used to:

– Reduce anxiety and stress

– Accelerate recovery

– Decrease medication use

– Reduce pain

By creating a healing space in your home your child can experience some of these same benefits.

How do I create a healing space in my home?

  1.  Decide on your space

A healing space can be created just about anywhere. It doesn’t have to be your child’s bedroom.  You could set up a place in your living room or family room couch. if you’re feeling generous, you could set your child up in your bedroom. I love creating healing spaces outdoors. Remember, when you’re setting up a healing space, it’s not permanent. You can use the space while your child needs it, and then return the space to its original purpose. 

Additional considerations

When deciding where you want to set up your healing space, you’ll want to take into account your child’s needs at the time. A child with a broken bone might enjoy hanging out in a hammock outside. A child who has stomach bug, will want to be near the bathroom. An important aspect of deciding where and how you want to set up your healing space is taking the time to consult with your child. it’s helpful to ask where they will feel most comfortable.

  1. Declutter

  As a nurse, I have seen firsthand how a cluttered environment can negatively impact a patient’s healing process. But, let’s face it, when our kids are sick, cleaning is the last thing on our minds. However, taking the time to declutter even a small space can make a big difference in creating a healing atmosphere.

Think about it, when you enter a clean and organized room, you automatically feel a sense of calm. It’s the same for our little ones. A cluttered room can add unnecessary stress to an already stressful situation. So, where do you start?

Tips for a quick declutter

Start small! Begin by spending a few minutes making your child’s bed nicely. If you have spare sheets, change them out for a fresh and cozy feel. Next, organize any excess blankets and stuffed animals. You might want to ask your child if it’s okay to move some to another space for a while.

If you have the energy and time, focus on the floor. Anyone who has stepped on a Lego with bare feet knows the soul-crushing pain it brings. A quick pick up can make it easier to move in and out of the room, especially during those late-night check-ins.

Remember, there’s no judgment for how clean or messy your child’s room is. But, taking the time to declutter and create a healing space can make a big difference in the atmosphere your child is in. 

3. Design

 This is a step where you can determine which elements you’d like to add to your space. Some questions you may want to ask yourself include:

  • What will cheer up my child?
  • What will help my child relax?
  • What can I do to make things more convenient?

Elements of Healing Spaces

Sensory considerations in healing spaces

Comfort items

Comfort items are things that bring your child a sense of calm and peace. These items can be anything that brings them joy. Take a look at your stuffed animals, blankets, books, or toys. Including these items in your child’s healing space can help them feel more relaxed and at ease.


Lighting is an important consideration when creating a healing space. Bright, harsh light can be irritating to the eyes, especially when you’re feeling unwell. On the other hand, dim light can be too gloomy and can make your child feel worse. A good solution is to have a mix of lighting options. This can include natural light from windows, task lighting, and ambient lighting. You might also consider using a dimmer switch so you can adjust the lighting levels depending on your child’s needs.


The colors you choose for your healing space can also have an impact on your child’s mood. Bright, bold colors can be stimulating and energizing, while soft, muted colors can be calming and soothing. Pastel colors are a great option for a healing space, as they are calming and not too stimulating. You might also consider incorporating your child’s favorite colors into the space.


Incorporating relaxing sound into your child’s healing space can also be helpful. This could mean playing light music, white noise, or getting rid of loud and distracting noises.


Nature is a great healer, and incorporating natural elements into your child’s healing space can be very beneficial. This can include anything from a small potted plant to a beautiful vase of fresh flowers. You might also consider adding a nature-inspired  artwork to the space. If you have a window in the room, try to position the healing space so that your child can see outside.

4. Assemble

This is the part where you put it all together. Gather all of your materials and have fun with it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need to move furniture or other items. If something just isn’t working out the way you thought it would change it up. You can always ask your child if there’s anything you may have forgotten. 

A tent set up with fluffy blankets and a cute teddy bear. Use your creativity when deciding how you want to design your healing space.

Playing with healing spaces

Healing spaces can come in all shapes and forms. If your child is feeling up to it, you can create a fun and relaxing space just for them. This is a great option when your child isn’t quite feeling up to playing but could benefit from a change of scenery.  Each idea only takes a few minutes to set up, and can be a great place for your child to relax!

  1. Set up a fancy blanket tent

Think about this one as a messy kid’s fort meets “glamping”. Grab a few blankets or sheets and make a comfortable place for your child to rest or listen to music. Add a few details like some comfy cushions and a few of your child’s favorite stuffed animal friends. 

  1. Pillow Island

Grab as many pillows as you can find, and make a large comfy island for them to rest on. If you have removable couch cushions, these make a great addition. Add some blankets, and play a nature track of ocean waves. If your child feels up to it, you could even let them play with a tray of kinetic sand. 

  1. Use your couch as a pretend boat or an airplane

Make your child an extra soft bed on your couch. Set up a little tray with a few light snacks and water. You could offer to let your child watch a movie like they are on a plane. You can even turn on some white noise to simulate the background sound of an airplane. Have your child look out the window and pretend they are way above the city.

Creating outdoor healing spaces

When your child is not feeling their best, it’s important to remember that they don’t necessarily need to stay in bed. A change of scenery can help distract a child from discomfort and pain. It’s simple to set up outdoor healing spaces with items that you already keep in your home.

 What are the benefits of outdoor healing spaces?

-Exposure to natural-light

-Exposure to fresh air 

-Decrease in stress levels

-Improved mood

-Unique mindful activities

Where can I set up an outdoor healing space?

There are lots of fun options for where you can set up an outdoor healing space. If you have a backyard, or a front patio those can be great spaces to use. If you live in an apartment building, you could set up in a favorite park. Many cities have natural green spaces, those areas can be excellent as well. Decide what you think your child will tolerate the best. You could even create a healing space in your car, and take your child out for a drive in nature. If your child feels too sick to go anywhere, or the weather is not cooperating, you can try bringing the outdoors inside your house. 

What do I need to set up an outdoor healing space?

Blankets and pillows- 

If you have access to a grassy area, setting up an outdoor healing space can be as easy as grabbing a blanket and placing it in a comfortable spot. I also recommend bringing a couple of pillows as well.  

Shade umbrella-

On a hot sunny day, you will for sure want to provide sun protection for your child. You could grab an umbrella that you use on rainy days, or better yet, use the kind of shade umbrella you take to the kids soccer and baseball games. 

Something to use as a table-

 You don’t need to drag your kitchen table out to your backyard for this one. I like to grab one of my cooking sheets and place a dish towel over it to make a nice little side table.  it only takes a minute to grab a few items your child likes and place them on the table. small Comfort items could include some chapstick, a light snack, and something to drink.

Additional outdoor setups could include

  • Creating a comfy space with existing outdoor furniture. your child doesn’t have to be out on the grass. You could set them up at a picnic table, this could be a great space to try some distraction activities.
  • If you have a hammock, pulling it out of storage and setting it up can make a cozy place for a teenager to recharge.
  • If you have an outdoors bench or couch those could be great places to make a cozy corner. 
  • It may seem a little wild, but if you have couch cushions that are easily removed. You could wrap them in sheets and create a mini outdoors couch. 
  • You could use a small pop up tent to create a cozy healing space. 

Car setup

 If your child is restless and needs a distraction, try going for a short car ride. You can bring a pillow and a few blankets in the car. Choose some relaxing music, or play some meditations and guided imagery while you drive. For some children, the constant movement and additional white noise of the car engine it can be relaxing.

One caveat with a car comfort space is that I would avoid this setup if a child is having tummy troubles such as throwing up or diarrhea. No one wants to clean that out of their car!

Final thoughts

Creating a healing space for your child doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. By considering your child’s needs, including comfort items, using the right lighting, colors, sensory input, and natural elements, you can create a space that promotes relaxation and recovery.

Remember, a healing space is not a permanent fixture in your home. Use it while your child needs it, and then return the space to its original purpose. A healing space can make a big difference in your child’s recovery, and can also help you feel more confident and empowered as a caregiver.

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