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3 Kids, 1 Bedroom: It Can Be Done! (Part One)

We live in a tiny two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. All three of my kids share a bedroom. My daughter is 6 and my twin boys are 4 years old. It’s clearly not the perfect living situation, but we’re happy. Every night feels like a slumber party!

I’ve been wondering lately: Is there an age when siblings should stop sharing a room? What’s the deal with siblings of the opposite sex sharing a bedroom? What was your experience with sharing a room growing up? I asked my readers these questions.  I was happy to read their diverse answers.  Here are some of my favorite responses. Who do you identify with the most?

I’ll start with my favorite comment. Have you ever thought of this? Lia from Sip Mom writes:

I think that there are alternatives for families living in NYC, where the extra bedroom can cost you one thousand dollars more in rent, like loft settings or dividers (apt therapy has lots of ideas). I am sure that if you place the extra one thousand you would spend on a three bedroom, on a savings account towards college for the next 15 years, then you would have 180000 dollars plus interest to share among your kids. More than 60000 to each kid. There would be no further complains about sharing a bedroom!

Lia’s totally right. An extra bedroom would cost us at least an extra $1,000. It’s mind boggling how much we would save. I need to keep this in mind. I also love Lilac Barries honest response:

It’s not like we’re living in tenement houses of a 100 years ago and you have multiple families sharing a single tiny apartment. I think like anything with parenting it’s about making sure your children are happy and healthy and how that looks is different for every family.

So true! I think once my kids start complaining about space, we’ll pay a visit to the Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side. That’ll show ‘em! :) Along the same lines, Noelle from These Mountains Are Mine writes:

I know there are issues with gender sharing and number of kids in a room in our culture, but does it really matter? There are families all over the world that share a one room house … not bedroom … house with multiple kids and parents all sleeping in the same room. Aren’t bedrooms/space kind of just a luxury? Granted, I want to keep the genders separate in our household, at least once our kids are past the toddler age…but I wonder if we make it more of an issue than it should be.

I wonder the same thing! Thanks Noelle for bringing up a good point.

Gaby from The Vault Files writes her experience with sharing a room. Lucky her!

I’m the only girl of 4 siblings and my 3 brothers shared a room until the oldest one was 17! I had my own room from the very beginning! I always thought that rooms should be only shared among kids of the same gender but I guess sometimes there is no choice and you have to put them together.

Like Gaby, reader LibbyK had a similar experience with one person always getting a single room. Her response cracked me up:

I come from a biiiig family. At one time we lived in a tiny house and the room situation went like this-Mom/Dad/infant sister in one room. Me/my older sister in one tiny room. Two brothers in a bunk bed in the basement family room(!). My older brother had his own room. And it was the biggest room. Somehow he’s always finagled the best rooming situation in the family whilst the rest of us are stacked/crammed/smooshed into tinsy rooms.

I wonder what LibbyK’s older brother grew up to be. His negotiation skills must be top notch!

Leave it Becky from Baby Making to talk about the elephant in the room: PUBERTY. I love her blog — I can always count on her to write funny and honest posts. Her comment is in true Becky style:

I think that boys and girls should split up around the same time that they start talking about boy/girl differences in school – around when puberty starts to hit. Before then, it’s not really inappropriate for boys and girls to change in front of each other, but if boys start getting morning wood or having wet dreams at night, and girls have their periods or blossoming breasts - it can make things uncomfortable!

Haha. Oh, the joys of puberty! Thanks Becky for reminding me of that terrible awkward time.  I hope my daughter gets her own room before then!

I was glad to see Hailey’s comment because she has four kids in one room! I’ve actually been to her apartment, and it really does somehow work. Way to go Hailey!

I love that my four kids are sharing a room here in NY. They have to learn to get along, and they can’t go and isolate themselves from the rest of the family. I hear them talking and giggling after lights out at night, and I like to think it’s bringing them closer. Plus, they are getting creative at finding ways to make their own privacy (dressing in closets, etc.) I think if and when we move back to the suburbs, I will still have them share as much as possible.

Who has Hailey beat?! Can I get a reader with 5 kids in a bedroom? Can I get 6? Anyone?

I’ll end with Jaclyn’s comment. She nail it. She wrote:

i shared a room with my little brother and sister until we moved when i was 14. i never really minded it. there were moments where i wished i had my own room and there were times when we taped up sections of the bedroom as only mine or only my siblings, but all in all we survived. i was able to cope better at sleepovers and summer camp. i survived.

I love that. We survived. I survived. I guess it’s really that simple. Thanks to all my readers for practically writing this article for me! I included three more of my favorite comments below. Now it’s your turn: What’s been your experience with siblings sharing a room? Love it or hate it?

1. Sarah from Just Sarah writes:

I’ve grown up most of my life in NYC. My older brother and younger sister and I all shared a room until I was 14 and they were 15 and 12 respectively. It was kind of nice, and we were always really close. My brother had a curtain for privacy and we all had loft beds which was great. Finally we just outgrew the space (literally- I would stub my toe almost every time I walked to the back of the room) and had to move to a bigger apartment. I still share a room with my little sister, and sometimes I feel really cramped up, but over all I don’t mind it terribly.

2. Libbey Blaine writes:

My two older brothers are 7 and 8 years older than I and we shared a bedroom until I was in the 3rd grade. I’m sure they would tell you that it was more than annoying to share a room with their pesky little sister for that long, but I loved it. I had my own story tellers and monster fighters. I think sharing a room with them actually helped foster my independence, because I was able to rely less and less on my parents to comfort my fears.When we moved to a large house we each had our own bedrooms but sometimes we would have “camp outs” in each others rooms, and very often we would do this in the living room.

3. Lando writes:

We have twin 6-year old girls that have shared a bedroom since the first day they came home from the hospital together. Right now they are in a bunk-bed in a rather small bedroom, and it works – for now. I worry that somewhere around age 8 or 9 they will outgrow the limited space in their bedroom and start crashing into each other physically, mentally and emotionally….needing their own personal space. For now though, they have never known anything different so it works fine. My eldest daughter, who is 10, has said more than once “why does everyone else in this family have a roommate but me? it’s not fair…..” which just goes to show you that it’s all about perspective!

*Image via Cup of Jo

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