Does the thought of sharing a room make you cringe? Room sharing happens sometimes out of necessity and sometimes out of desire. Either way, it is important for each person to have his own space within the shared room. It is in this part of the house where individuality can be expressed. Here are some important considerations to make room sharing a positive experience.
Important life lessons such as cooperation, compromise, negotiation and respect for others property can all be learned when you share a room. Siblings often enjoy having fun together, playing and relaxing, but they still need to find their own quiet place. Children may share a room but they probably don’t share the same interests, tastes, or personality. With careful planning, you can bunk them up together yet still give them their unique haven.
Room sharing works best if the children are the same sex and close in age. If the children are more than a couple years apart, you will have many more challenges. For example, a ten year old and a two year old would not be a good match. The two year old could break the older child’s toys or get hurt. The older child could demolish the younger child’s project that he worked on for hours. This much age difference will not lead to shared playing either. They are just at different stages and have little in common.
Obviously a larger room will be better for room sharing. If you don’t have the luxury of a large room, consider bunk beds. Bunk beds make it harder to divide a room completely in half however you can have a separate sleeping zone and divide the rest of the room in half. The bunk bed will free up much more floor space in the room.
When it comes to decorating the shared room, you don’t necessarily need to have one theme or everything coordinated and matching. It helps if the colors don’t clash but have the children participate in decorating the room. Let each one choose within a framework of variation that you can tolerate. Ask each child what they like and don’t like and fill their areas accordingly. This way, they feel like their space in the room is a reflection of them. Take advantage of wall space for posters or other pictures.
As with any room in the house, minimize clutter. Keep plenty of storage bins, drawers and so forth available so floor spaces can stay open. If possible, don’t have the children share the same drawer space. That can lead to confusion when trying to get ready to go somewhere in a hurry.You could give each child a toy box or treasure chest for their unique special items. When one room is serving the needs of two people, keep clutter under control so you free up as much open space as possible. For some examples of organized rooms, check our blog.
Now that you have created this special place for your children, make sure each one spends time alone in the room. We all need alone time to recharge, daydream, create, read, relax or just do what we want to do. While one child is away or playing with friends, encourage the other child to spend some alone time in the room. When children are always around someone else, they may not know that they need some time alone. Encourage it.
So be creative and make room sharing a positive experience. Cater to the unique qualities of each child, even in the same room. Look for more posts related to this subject in future blog posts.