As new homes grow bigger, fewer children share bedrooms anymore. Census data confirms that families tend to buy homes with a bedroom for each family member, and maybe a guest room too. However, some parents prefer to have siblings sleeping in the same room, even if they have extra space.
There are many reasons why kids share bedrooms. Sometimes it’s a financial necessity, but it can also be a way to teach social skills and encourage siblings to develop close relationships.
If you’re considering new sleeping arrangements in your home, weigh the pros and cons of kids sharing bedrooms. Study this quick guide to help you decide on whether you want your kids to share the room.
How to Decide on Shared Bedrooms for Your Kids:
- Consider their ages. Sharing a bedroom is usually more successful when kids are relatively close in age. Otherwise, the difference in developmental stages could make them incompatible.
- Observe their behavior. Do your children enjoy spending time together? It’s natural for siblings to argue, but are they usually peaceful or frequently bickering?
- Talk with your kids. Your children are more likely to cooperate if they have a voice in the process. Ask what they think about sharing a room and what you can do to make the arrangement more comfortable.
- Prepare for transitions. Babies and adolescents have special needs. Most pediatricians recommend that infants younger than 6 months sleep in their parent’s bedroom to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. At puberty, many children will want more privacy.
- Start small. Sharing a bedroom is a big step, so you may want to experiment first. See how your kids handle being in the same tent on a camping trip or staying in one room when they visit grandparents. It will give you some insights into what to expect.
How to Make Shared Bedrooms Work:
- Establish ground rules. On the bright side, this can be a training ground for when your kids go to college or rent an apartment with roommates. Agree to basic rules about treating each other with respect and courtesy.
- Coordinate sleep schedules. Keeping children from interfering with each other’s sleep can be a major issue. It will help if they are able to sleep through the night and have similar bedtime or napping routines.
- Create separate zones. Allow your children to have their own private areas. That could mean installing a partition or hanging up strings of beads. Let them decorate their place in their own style.
- Maximize space. If your square footage is limited, make the most of your options with clever design and furniture choices. Start with bunk beds or loft beds that provide a place to sleep without taking up the rest of the room.
- Minimize clutter. Limiting personal possessions and staying organized helps too. Store items your kids rarely use in the basement or garage. It will also make it easier to keep the room clean.
- Buy headphones. Loud music and other intrusive sounds are another potential source of irritation. Wearing noise canceling headphones or using a pink noise machine may help your kids to enjoy separate activities at the same time.
- Check for hazards. You may need to be extra careful if younger and older children are sharing the same room. For example, identify any objects that a toddler could choke on, so you can remove them or put them out of reach.
Even if you have more bedrooms than kids, you may still want your children to bunk together, especially when they’re young. The ideal decision for your family will often depend on your children’s ages and personalities.