Finding a balance that works for your kids sharing their bedroom

If you have a large family, often there is little choice other than to ask children to share a bedroom. There are negative and positive aspects to children sharing a room, though parents should look out for the needs of both children when problems arise. Not all kids cope well with sharing their space and they may have good reason for wanting to change their current situation.

Bullying

When one child has a stronger personality than another, this can cause problems. The stronger child may not be a bully by nature but may dominate the possession of the room since they have stronger opinions. Sibling rivalry often means that introverted kids don’t get the best deal. If there are alternatives, place stronger personalities together since they will sort out their problems amongst themselves. However, be aware that introverted children may find sharing difficult.

On the other hand, if you want to try and bring an introverted child out of their shell a little, sharing with a child who respects their quiet nature may help them. If you do suspect bullying behavior toward any child, then a change of rooms may be appropriate. 

Respect and privacy

As children reach the age when their bodies are starting to go through puberty, some are very embarrassed. If sharing a room, the children may want a little space for their own privacy. It’s worthwhile being open with children about issues of this nature and trying to encourage them to talk if they have problems. In particulate, girls can be very shy about changing their clothes in front of someone else. Perhaps, some kind of privacy could be agreed upon so that the girls have the space they need or children could be encouraged to take their baths and change directly in the bathroom, thus avoiding having to have the lack of privacy.

Respecy for each other’s possessions is another aspect which may cause problems when kids share rooms. One way to cure this is to say that if any child invades the privacy of another, there will be some form of punishment, since privacy is important to any child. Teaching children to ask before using things that do not belong to them is also a good idea right from the start of sharing. 

Boys and girls

Young children will be okay sharing with their brothers or sisters, though as the children get older and become aware of sexual differences, it’s wise to have girls sharing or boys sharing but not to mix the sexes. Boys or girls could be very embarrassed in front of a sibling of the opposite sex. 

Companionship

While many may not know what their kids get up to in that room that has become “their” space, they may find the positive attribute of companionship. Sometimes brothers or sisters enjoy having secrets and sharing them. At bedtime, they may also enjoy talking to each other when the light goes out and this is all part of family bonding. That friendship between siblings can be very strong indeed and if this is seen to be the case when sharing a bedroom, then you are extremely fortunate as a parent.

The blended family

In a blended family, try not to force children to get on with each other. It is always a little strange for kids to have new people in their lives and it takes a little time to accept those new brothers or sisters. In this case, wait before you choose who shares which room with whom. You may be pleasantly surprised that kids hit it off and get on really well. However, it’s a very difficult balancing act because if you split up the children from each marriage into separate rooms, you may increase the distance between those kids. Waiting to see who gets on with who is a much wiser idea so try to keep any arrangements for sleeping temporary until relationships between the kids begin to develop.

Age differences

One thing to bear in mind when placing children in a bedroom together is the age difference, as children will have different bedtimes. They may also have a different amount of homework to do and need to study while a younger child is sleeping. If this is the case, do arrange for an alternative space for the child for studies and make children aware of the disturbance factor when you they go bed. A child who is sleeping should never be disturbed by an older child going to bed later.

Summing up

The disadvantages of children sharing a room as clear:

  • Privacy
  • Jealousy between kids
  • Disrespect for a sibling’s possessions
  • Bullying

The advantages are also clear but only you, as a parent, can decide which apply in the case of your children since all kids are different:

  • Comfort and companionship
  • Encouraging sharing
  • Playing together or confiding in each other
  • Learning to be more sociable

If you balance up the pros and cons bearing in mind the personalities of the children, no doubt you will be able to come to arrangements that suit your living accommodation, but also suit the personalities and temperaments of the children.