Plenty of families have their children sharing a room. When kids share a room, there are bound to be some ups, and definitely some downs. To make the experience as beneficial as possible, adopt realistic strategies to help your kids effortlessly share a space.
Benefits to Kids Sharing a Room
When siblings share a bedroom, many benefits can be reaped from the experience. While parents and kids have to work to create a living situation that behooves all, the positive outcomes often outweigh the negative ones.
Room sharing among siblings:
- Creates a sense of security - When children experience fear and anxiety, they have the comfort of others sharing their space.
- Enhances sensitivity - Kids sharing space might be sensitive and empathetic to siblings who are having emotions. Because of the physical closeness, they have a front-row seat to everything their sibling goes through emotionally.
- Encourages sharing
- Helps children develop problem-solving skills
- Builds bonds between siblings
- Decreases sibling rivalry - You'll never hear your kids complain about who has the better bedroom.
Common Setbacks to Room Sharing
When setting up a shared bedroom space for your kids, there are bound to be some setbacks and challenges. Bumps in the road are completely normal and should be expected. These sibling setbacks are common when room sharing is built into a family structure:
- Lack of privacy
- Variations in sleeping schedules (especially when children are not similar in age)
- Decrease in independence and ownership - Kids are rarely alone with this built-in, sidekick system, and all the toys in the bedroom become fair game for all.
- Dividing chores can create sibling woes - Expect to hear your children say, "I don't have to pick that up; it's not mine" more than once.
- Sick kids in the same bedroom can be tricky.
Strategies for Siblings Sharing Space
If your kids share a bedroom, some effective strategies can be put in place to help the process along and make sure that it is a positive setup and experience for all involved.
Get Creative With Privacy
Sharing a room can often mean less privacy for the occupants. As kids grow into stages of independence, they will crave more privacy than they required when they were little. Just because your kids share a room doesn't mean that they don't need space that is solely theirs. It can be challenging to create privacy in a small bedroom space, but creative minds can design corners of the room or open up space by using loft-style beds, so each occupant has a uniquely designated, private nook.
Play around with natural dividers like a dresser or a bookshelf to divide a room into "two parts." Fairy lights and breezy curtains can also be utilized to make privacy possible.
Consolidate Bedtimes When Possible
If you have several children sleeping in the same bedroom, and they are of varying ages, try to consolidate their bedtimes. Children under 7 might all hit the hay at 7:30 p.m., while kids ages seven through 10 all turn in at 8:30 p.m. Any children older than that might go to bed later in the evening, minimizing the amount of times kids have to enter the bedroom while younger children are sleeping.
Variations in bedtimes and evening routines, and other allowances will help older children feel autonomy and independence from younger siblings. If you have an older child who stays up reading or studying, buy them a book light. They can read before going to sleep, and the younger child won't be kept up with glaring, overhead, or bedside lights. This tactic doesn't create physical privacy per se, but it does give older children independence with certain activities and bedtime, separate from their siblings.
Have Rules for the Room
Sharing a bedroom means living under the same rules while in the same space. If your children are of an age where they comprehend rules and consequences, then have them sit down with you at a table and jointly develop some general rules for the shared space they inhabit. Some ideas of rules for bedroom sharing might be:
- Hands off each other's beds
- Ask before borrowing each other's clothing
- Desk spaces and educational materials are off-limits for sharing
- If you take it out, you put it away
- Mandatory quiet hours (think one hour in the afternoon for reading or drawing) and quiet hours starting 30 minutes before bedtime
Sharing Space Doesn't Mean Sharing Everything
Yes, your kids share a bedroom, but they don't have to share everything! There might be some special toys, a blanket, or clothes that children feel particularly attached to. Have conversations about items that kids are emotionally attached to, and help your children understand that shared bedrooms don't mean sharing everything.
Invest in Space Saving Furniture
When you have more than one kid in a sleeping space, things get tight. With two humans, two beds, and twice as many items of clothing and personal belongings in one room, space starts to run out really quickly. Invest in pieces of furniture that save or create space, or serve more than one purpose, starting with kids' beds.
- Trundle beds are great space savers because they function as a day bed or single bed when not in use.
- Bunk beds save on floor space. Some bunk beds also contain drawers for smaller items.
- If the room is large enough, utilize loft beds. Each child can have a bed on stilts and a desk or personal space underneath it.
- Daybeds are great for lounging on during the daytime and snoozing on during the night hours. Many models have drawers built into them for clothing storage.
Consider White Noise for Light Sleepers
When you have more than one child sleeping in a shared space, nights can become noisy. Perhaps one child stays up later, tossing, turning, and humming themselves to sleep. Another child might have a penchant for the evening sobs, which can make nighttime downright stressful on the twilight tantrum thrower's roommate. Consider putting a white noise machine in the kids' room to drown out some of the common noises that can keep kids up past their bedtime.
Make a Space Just for Learning
If you have a school-aged child sharing a room with a younger sibling, or you have two school-aged children in one room, create learning spaces for the budding academics. Loft beds are excellent ways to create sleeping quarters as well as learning spaces. Small desks or desks that attach to a wall and fold up when not in use are also worth looking into when your kids share a room.
Teach Your Kids Conflict Resolution Skills
Teaching your children quality conflict resolution skills is vital to their development regardless of their sleeping arrangements. For siblings sharing space, these resolution skills can become even more pressing. Kids who share a room spend tons of time together. While this is great for bond building, it also means more opportunities for quarrels. Help kids learn how to work out common disagreements and how to effectively and responsibly resolve their issues.
Sibling Room Sharing Is a Personal Choice
Parents might have their kids share a room because they are tight on space. They may also decide that having their kids in one bedroom enhances the kids' bond and contains far more pros than cons. While bedroom sharing has some clear benefits for many families, it isn't for everyone. How families set up their sleeping arrangements is entirely up to them. Just like so many other choices in the parenting experience, setting up bedrooms is a personal parenting choice with no particular setup being the "right way."