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  • Parents Create Under-The-Stairs ‘Tambayan’ To Help Their Kids Adapt To The New Normal

    by Cielo Anne Calzado .
Parents Create Under-The-Stairs ‘Tambayan’ To Help Their Kids Adapt To The New Normal
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Carrie Janairo
  • The list of changes the pandemic has brought upon us is long. While some of us have learned how to cope, it's a different story for our children.

    From missing playground visits and playdates to adjusting to online learning, going through these adjustments can take a toll on them as well. Riding through these changes is something mom of four, Carrie Janairo, is familiar with.

    “Since the pandemic started, the kids had limited access to outdoor activities,” she shares with Smartparenting.com.ph. To keep their kids engaged and busy, Carrie and her husband, Paul, decided to create areas for schoolwork and playtime around their 36sqm townhouse in Cavite.

    “I searched for some ideas online then my husband came up with the drawing. We hired two carpenters and a painter to do the job,” she recalls.

    The kiddie nook under the stairs, which has a mattress perfect for reading and pull-out tables for playtime, features such a creative use of space that it caught the attention of many when Carrie shared it on the Facebook group Home Buddies. But aside from giving the kids a spot where they can play, read, and bond, the kiddie nook has a story behind it.

    The effect of psychological stress on children

    Carrie with her four kids and husband Paul.
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Carrie Janairo

    Carrie decided to share her family’s story and experience to help raise awareness about the effects of stress on children. In May 2020, she noticed that one of her kids, Chloe, was having massive hair loss.

    “We sought professional advice and brought her to the pedia, but we were referred to a developmental pediatrician. It was diagnosed as psychological stress due to changes in their routines,” Carrie shares.

    On the same day, Rafa, the youngest, was also diagnosed with Stage 3 ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). “We were also advised na gumawa ng new routines so that the kids have something to look forward to and to help them adapt to the new normal,” the mom adds.

    Under the stairs design idea: a kiddie nook for playing and learning

    The kids’ mini school has enough storage and the right furniture pieces for studying.
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Carrie Janairo

    Carrie and Paul came up with a strategy of separating schoolwork and play. Given the size of their home, they decided to transform the terrace into a study area.

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    Three-year-old Rafa enjoying the mini school.
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Carrie Janairo

    “We decided na dapat ‘yung play and school time, iba ‘yung ambiance or atmosphere. The terrace has that school ambiance for class and school activities, and Rafa’s therapy sessions. Meanwhile, ‘yung nook for reading, playing, and nap time, it’s like their one-stop tambayan,” explains Carrie.

    Recognizing the value of both studying and playing, the couple had to make the most of the space they have. Creating these two areas have helped the couple teach the importance of tidiness to the young ones, too.

    The mini school is also ideal for Rafa’s therapy sessions.
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Carrie Janairo

    “Everything has its proper place para alam nila where to get and return ‘yung isang bagay. I am proud of my kids because they are responsible enough to clean and pack up their toys. They even use the vacuum to clean the floor,” the mom proudly shares.

    In addition to keeping the areas clean, Carrie makes it a point to rotate the toys the kids play with every two weeks to avoid boredom as well as to enable her to sanitize each toy they play with.

    Putting new routines in place

    Kiel, Rafa, and Chloe enjoying their kiddie nook.
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Carrie Janairo

    Every morning, when the kids wake up, they go straight to their special nook. It’s also where they play and take naps every afternoon. Carrie shares they love the idea of the pull-out drawers/tables.

    The pull-out drawers/tables are adored by the kids because each one works as storage, too.
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Carrie Janairo

    “When they’re tired, they will just close the drawer and come back to it when they feel like it. Unlike before when they have to redo everything – especially the Lego creations,” she says.


    Chloe and Kiel love playing with Legos!
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Carrie Janairo


    The kiddie nook is not only a place where the siblings can play freely, it’s also enabling them to discover new hobbies. “We noticed that since we had this nook, they are now keen on reading books. Even Rafa, he will go there to read books,” Carrie muses.

    Want to share your #budgetperofancy home makeover and get featured? Email us at smartparentingsubmissions@gmail.com and tell us about your project. For more home improvement and renovation ideas, click here.


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