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Should Siblings Share a Room?

My daughter, 4 1/2, and son, 2 1/2, share a room, and have since my son was about nine months old. We have another baby on the way, expected in June, and we have been thinking about sleeping arrangements for our kids once the baby arrives.

We live in a smaller home. We have 3 bedrooms, but no family room, finished basement, or office. So we use our third bedroom as a guest room/office/play room, and I really like it that way.

So even though it seems to go against the norm in our culture, I am seriously considering having all three kids share a room, once the new baby is (hopefully) sleeping well through the night.

That’s right – three kids in the SAME room. Gasp!

I know some parents think that kids have to have their own room. That they will sleep better at night on their own, that they need to have their own personal space, and that they shouldn’t even be paired with siblings of the same gender.

Why when you have three children, does a four bedroom house somehow become a “necessity”?

I wonder, where do we get the idea that kids, especially young children, NEED to have their own room? I actually believe that is is good for kids to share a room, beginning at a young age.

In many traditional cultures, whole families sleep together in the same room. And while you might argue this is because of small living spaces, I think it has more to do with the idea that it is natural for families to sleep together.

After all, we as adults don’t sleep alone, do we? We sleep with our spouse or partner, and it is a major source of security and intimacy in a relationship. Why do we deprive our children of that same security?

My daughter has recently become quite scared during the night. She is scared of the shadows in her room, and sounds she thinks she hears. It’s one of the main reasons that we decided to switch our childrens’ room from the upstairs in our home, to the second bedroom on our main floor, right down the hall from us. She feels more safe and secure sleeping close to us. And although our son hasn’t yet hit the scared stage, I know he feels more comfortable knowing that his sister is there in the room with him.

Sharing a room also teaches kids to be considerate and respectful of each other’s things. At an age where everything is “MINE”, sharing a room helps kids to realize that families share both space and things.

In our home, each child technically has their own toys, but because they share the same space, they are both free to play with each other’s toys at any time, without the complaining of “Mooooom, he’s in MY room, playing with MY toys!” attitude that I think having their own bedroom could encourage.

Some parents may worry that a crying baby or toddler will wake their sibling up.  We’ve actually found that sharing a room makes them much better sleepers. Just the other night my son was up sick during the night, and my daughter slept through the entire thing. They have slept through each other crying, being sick, getting up to go to the bathroom, the dog barking, and even the fire alarm going off – which, that ones kind of scares me, because that is one time when I would actually want them to wake up! Of course, they still wake up on their own for lots of other reasons, but they are not woken up easily by outside things.

And while I realize that we won’t always be able to have kids of different genders share a room as they get older and mature, for now, it works for our family, it works for our kids, and I have no reservations about adding a third child to the mix and letting her experience the joy of sharing a room with her siblings.

Do you think kids should share a room? What about brothers and sisters? Does having your kids share a room work for your family?

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Photo credit: Pottery Barn Kids

 

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