It takes a lot of work to chill out
Pre-teen kids are probably the busiest people we know. It might not look like it on the outside, especially when they've got a game console in hand and are leaning back on the sofa, but on the inside, everything is running at hyper speed. With all the energy needed for growing healthy bodies - and that's not counting the effort for school, friends and sports, it makes sense that once they're home, a place to relax and recover is pretty important.
And that's where the new SLÄKT range comes in. Designed for kids aged 8 and up, the SLÄKT range includes a bed and furniture for storing, relaxing and sharing a space with friends. To make furniture that kids would love, Deputy Range Manager Nina Hughes at Children's IKEA explains, they had to go back to the start. "At the beginning of the development process for SLÄKT we ordered a study that focused on children aged 8-12 from all around the world," Nina says. "And from that we really tried to work to make something that fit in both with what kids want, and what the parents think the kids need as well".
A worldwide study on what kids want
Child and adolescent psychotherapist, Dr Barbie Clarke and her research agency Family Kids & Youth carried out the global study. She talks through some of the findings. "Early adolescence is an important phase because it's a slow move towards autonomy and independence. There's this huge growth happening that requires a lot of energy. It's not a joke that they really can't wake up in the morning!" Dr Clarke explains that one of the big findings was that kids wanted a place to relax and retreat, while still being close to their parents (who still are their biggest influence), even if hanging out with friends is a growing focus. "The bedroom also becomes a place for entertaining with friends. The phrase 'chilling out' was something that we heard around the world. 'Oh, I just want to chill out' is a key desire". There's also probably a lot happening — even if it might not look like it.
"Sometimes we found they might be playing computer games with friends for 3 hours, and on the surface it seems they aren’t communicating with each other, but actually they are through sharing a space and working on an activity together".
Furniture made to be spontaneous
Building on Dr Clarke's research, Nina Hughes explains the SLÄKT range was further developed to be as easy as possible for kid's to interact with. "Kids can change what they want to do in their room in a heartbeat, so we designed SLÄKT to be super modular and adaptable, as well as easy to move around if say a bunch of friends come over”. And of course, everything needed to get a tick of approval from the ones actually using the furniture. "After we tested everything for safety we asked children for their feedback, with things like 'Does this look ok? How does it feel? Are you happy with the height?' Afterwards we changed certain designs to be even easier to use and relax with," Nina says. A clear favorite among the kids was a fold out mattress that can be stored under the bed and used for spontaneous chill sessions. Nina describes her kid's reaction. "I think this fold out mattress is the winning piece - all the kids loved it. Coming home from school they'd just sort of fall on it. There's no communication, there's just 'aaah!'”.