I sat across from my dear friend as she worried, “We must get a new house before the baby comes. They each need their own room.”
Speaking candidly, as only good friends can do, I reminded her, “You know that you don’t NEED a new house, right? Your kids don’t NEED their own room. Your home is gorgeous and the kids will not know the difference for years.”
“OK, OK, well, I want a new house. They shouldn’t have to share their room.”
As those words slipped from her mouth, my heart sank a little and my mind shifted to the state of our culture. I have no issue with desiring a new home within your budget or even wanting your kids to have their own room, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
It’s the sentiment that kids are ENTITLED to their own room and that if siblings have to share, it’s somehow a less than desirous situation.
With that, I take issue.
So, To Share or Not to Share a Bedroom?
There is absolutely no right or wrong answer to this question. Each family is so different with many factors to consider, primarily age gap, but for OUR family, it’s not even a question.
For those of you feeling that comparison pull or that slight wondering if somehow your children will resent you for not giving them an option, know that for the last eighteen years, our children have shared a room by our choice and I don’t have one regret.
We actually have one more bedroom that could be converted, but they’ve share a room because my husband and I decided years ago that this was our preference.
Yes, our choice, our preference, our desire to build that into our family culture and we weren’t flippant in the decision making process.
It took over ten years for one of our children to even voice, “I want my own room, Mom.” When they were younger, they adored sharing a room. It was a constant party waiting to happen, and quite frankly, they knew they had no choice.
Our first three sons, born within 3 1/2 years of each other, have always shared a room. When our daughter came along, I assumed she would need her own space. I didn’t even consider putting her in with the boys, since we had additional bedrooms. A funny thing occurred when it was time for her to move into her big girl bed at two. She was SO excited about it that first night, but when we woke up, that sweet little thing was snuggled right next to her two brothers in their bunk bed. Yep, three in a twin bed (and one empty twin bed. What’s with that?)
The same thing happened the next night and the next. Guess what? All four of them ended up “sharing” that room by default for the next four years, even though she had her own space.
She didn’t want to miss out on the sibling bonding. The most precious giggles, silly conversations, and yes, bodily noises came from that room full of blessings and life each and every evening.
(I wish I could find the source because these are amazing)
Benefits of Siblings Sharing a Bedroom
A family phrase we reference is “Team D,” an acronym for each child’s initial. In the midst of building solid family relationships, we are also creating a sense of team unity and sharing bedrooms assisted in that family culture. We want to avoid a sense of competition within the home and this is a step towards that desire.
Siblings as Best Friends
We often get asked how our kids are so close and one of my number one indicators points back to them sharing a room. Since they’ve been little, we’ve instilled in them that their sibling are their best friends. Their siblings are the ones to turn to when life gets hard. Family will always be there for you, but friends come and go. It’s about elevating the covenant of family relationships no matter what happens.
Learning to Share
Somewhere along the line, parents have bought into the lie that kids must all have their own, cool things, and that we must load them up on gifts and more stuff to line their closets. Not true! When sharing a room, you learn to share nearly everything. It’s up to us as parents to train out of them the “Me first” mentality and there’s no quicker way than making them share a room.
When they were little, they all had 1-2 special toys or items that were there own, but the rest of the toys were for the family. Most gifts were “For the Boys, or “For the Girls.”
Problem Solving and Conflict Resolution
Sharing a room offers plenty of opportunity to learn to work together, solve problems and resolve conflict. Now trust me, this has both enormous benefits, as well as stressful moments. Life is not always, “oh sure, I’ll pick up that shirt because it’s mine.” As they got older, there were war zone moments, but we are committed to conflict resolution and understanding the power of an apology. Letting the sun set on your anger is not an option in our family and talking it through was a critical priority.
Downfalls of Sharing a Bedroom (and how we dealt with it)
That would be our girls. At fourteen and ten, this is the most challenging time we’ve had with room sharing. Our eldest is a Type A, very orderly and organized young lady, where as our youngest is carefree and creative. Order is not her first priority, but with a sister that bosses you into submission, you can bet that she has learned to pick up her things. As a mom, it’s a blessing in disguise and while I need to train our 14 year old into approaching her sister with more grace and asking politely, instead of ordering, she’s developing discipline based on the role model of her oldest sister and that is a joy!
They Need Their Own Space
Again, our girls. It’s very important that each girl have their own personal space, (where as our boys did not care, so each situation is different.) We’ve identified areas for them to do this by giving each their own closet, dresser and “creative” space. They also have a wall to decorate. I step back from this “creative” process and while there are times, I try to steer our ten year old in a certain direction, she pretty much reminds me, “Mom, you said I could do this how every I want.” Zing! Yep, I did.
Three of the pictures above, I snapped this morning. This is as messy as it gets. It never ceases to amaze me and Praise Jesus for our 14 year old who keeps it all in line. (Check out my Kids Deep Cleaning Bedroom Checklist post, that we use periodically.)
The biggest age gap we have is between the two girls and that just under four years. As one is a teen, that’s a challenge and I can understand how a large age gap might not work in one room.
Even though our boys are close in age, a downfall we did have in their teen years began when one child became more defiant towards me and made some poor choices. The older children should be modeling and helping the younger ones grow in maturity, so when that is the precedent, it truly affects everyone in the house, especially those with which he’s sharing a room.
Our guys room is a perpetual pigpen. When they were little, I set specific goals and chores that they had to take care of before they could play. It stayed slightly picked up, but that was one war I stopped battling during their teen years. The fingers always pointed at each other and it was always someone else’s fault. Unfortunately, instead of rising to the level of our neatest son, he lowered his standard out of frustration. Now, I let it go until I finally blow and announce, ” I don’t care whose clothes, books, junk etc. this is, no one is leaving until it’s done.” The state of their room is not one of my finer mentor mom moments. 🙂
Let’s all channel sweet Mr. Rodgers right now and sing, “One of these rooms is not like the other.”
Honestly, I am kind of giggling right now and I just wanted you all to take a deep sigh of relief to show you our very average, maybe even below average boy’s room.
I have NEVER fixed this room up. No shock there. It’s been their posters, their awards, their plaques, their space.
We began with one set of wood bunk beds that I found used through the newspaper. I was SO thrilled and over the moon to purchase that first set for our two toddlers who shared the bottom and our eldest who had the privilege of the top (because when they are young, they LOVE the top. Not anymore.)
When it was time to get their own beds, what a gift it was to find nearly the same style at a yard sale and then a year later, we added on a matching dresser from a yard sale. See that couch? It’s a perfect twin size bed and has housed hundreds of kids confortably. We’ve had as many as EIGHT high school boys in that room at one time (and I’ll never forgot that smell in the morning.)
Deciding to have siblings share a room may take a month or two adjustment.
With younger children, the fear that they awaken due to sibling’s noise is always an issue, but we have the best sleepers. They sleep through anything and have since they were little. I firmly believe it’s due to learning to sleep with life swirling around beside them. They get used to noise, but using a fan or sound machine for some white noise is always helpful too.
If there are varying bed times, use this as a positive to have some special quality time with the older child. There are benefits to being older and this is always one of them.
I’m sure there are other concerns, but I think you get the point.
Sharing a room is a great option and it’s been the best choice for our family, but it’s not for everyone.
No one understands your family dynamics better than you, and there may be circumstances that don’t lend itself towards sharing a room.
That is your decision to make, but never, ever, feel that by not giving your child their own room, you are somehow short changing them. You are giving them a gift and while they might not see it now, they will have fond memories later on of slumber parties that never stopped and stories to share for generations to come.
via Design Dazzle
Do Your Kids Share a Room?
What pros and cons do you see by their set up?