Embracing children’s shared rooms
Shared children’s rooms can be a headache to decorate — or you can embrace the fun of incorporate two personalities into four walls. Whether your children share a room out of necessity or by request, make the most of their together time by adding whimsical touches that make each child comfortable and at home in their room.
A real mom offers a glimpse into her daughters’ shared room
We recently moved from a home where my girls each had their own bedrooms to one with more living space and one less bedroom. I’ve always loved the idea of kids sharing a room — but it scared me! People always seemed to have an opinion about it, and it’s somehow implied that children will miss out if they don’t have their own separate bedroom. When we first entertained the idea of Alice (7) and Violet (3) sharing a bedroom, I brainstormed the pros and cons. I was determined to create a shared space that would be comfortable for them spending time both together and apart. There is a play kitchen, a table with chairs, and a soft chair tucked under a quiet window. They’ve each got a bench at the foot of their beds filled with trinkets & treasures, and plenty of spaces nestled around the room to stash their favorite things. Being little is really such a short time in a child’s life. I hope we’ve help set the stage for memories to be made and cherished a lifetime.
- Barbara, mom to Alice and Violet
Tips for kids sharing a room
- Make sure each child has a space of his or her own
- Incorporate toys or activities they can use together
- Be aware of age differences and address them verbally
- Respect children’s opinions about sharing
Individual space in a shared room
With two or more kids sharing a room, it can be hard to get any private time. Giving kids a space of their own within the shared space can help them feel like they have a little bit of privacy. Barbara’s daughters each have a box near their bed, but you could also assign bins or drawers that are off limits to everyone but the owner.
Playtime for everyone in the room
One of the magical things about sharing a room is the time spent playing together. Be sure to have at least one or two toys in the room that appeal to all ages. A play kitchen is a great way for siblings to share imaginative play time. Tea parties, playing restaurant and cooking together are all activities that can be tailored for younger and older kids to enjoy.
Acknowledge the age differences of the kids in the room
Having kids of different ages sharing a room can mean doubling up on certain things — like books. Making sure both kids have age-appropriate books or toys in the room will help the room feel like “theirs” instead of an older or younger sibling feeling like they are intruding on someone else’s space. Display the books with a wall-mounted rack —the magazine-like display makes it easier to see what’s available, so you can rotate books frequently instead of jamming too many on a traditional shelf.
Plan ahead for possible rearrangements
Before putting kids together in a room, have a plan for the future. Perhaps in your home, a shared room is a necessity, which will limit options. If kids are sharing a room in a home where there’s an extra bedroom available, discuss options at different times — and not after a giant sibling fight. Will your kids separate when one of them is ready, or should it be agreed on by both children? If your kids are of opposite genders, is there an arbitrary age they’ll separate — either for their own comfort or because of private time with friends? During a friend sleepover, are both siblings always welcome or will one get to camp out in mom and dad’s room for the night? These questions will have different answers for every family, so finding a solution that works for yours will just involve a little discussion.
Did you share a room as a child? Will you have your children in a shared room?
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