Sharing a room: is it okay for brothers and sisters?

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About Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

Reader Laine asks, “My daughter is five and my son is three. If we were to find a three bedroom home for rent (like we live in now), what are your thoughts on putting the children together in one room and having the other room as a playroom/schoolroom. Have you ever tried anything like this? At first it sounds like a good idea, but then I think they need their own space and privacy.”

An excellent question, Laine, and I’m sure one all of us with at least one boy and one girl have debated.  Is it okay for them to share a room?  If so, when is it too old? And if you plan on having a small home long-term, like us, it’s an issue not likely to fade away anytime soon in your family.

Right now, our kids, one girl and one boy, are sharing a room. Actually, you could say they’re sharing two rooms, because we’ve got a “sleeping room” and a “play room,” and they equally share both.  But – they are almost 4-years-old and 9-months-old.  They’re young.

For us, sharing rooms was not really an issue of space-saving, because if we put their beds and toys in separate rooms, we’d still have about the same amount of available square-footage.

Here are some reasons we like them sharing a room.

I want them to bond.

Yes, I know they can bond in separate rooms, but there’s something special – almost magical – about fading to sleep in the same room.  They actually seem to sleep a bit better when they’re in there together, and as our son grows into a toddler, I can see his big sister being a comfort to him.  Even as a baby, he likes it when he can see big sis in her bed.

They want to share rooms.

Right now, they’re crazy about each other.  I’d be crazy not to take advantage of that. We really hyped up the idea of moving little brother’s crib in to our daughter’s room.  She thought it was such a special treat.

We have very few personal toys.

My daughter has a few dolls that are her own, and my son obviously has his baby toys.  But other than that, it’s a high priority for our family that toys are seen as the family’s toys.  All the blocks, the train set, the stuffed animals, the art supplies, the books, the puzzles – everyone shares them.  So when they’re in the play room, they’re not seen as “my” toys.  We’ll definitely make a point to keep a few toys special, especially as they grow older.

It’s good to learn to share at a young age.

I want to dilute the idea of I‘m more important, I deserve more than I have, I demand more solitude than I’m allotted, I, I, I.  Yes, we all need our personal space, and of course, I want my children to nurture themselves with good-quality alone time when they need it.  But far too often, kids are given too much at a young age, and then it’s hard to “reel them back in,” relationally-speaking, when they’re older.  I like the idea of my children feeling secure as a significant part of our family, a bit more than feeling like an independent person who can do anything she wants.  Especially at this young age.

When will they separate to their own rooms?

I honestly don’t know.  They’re very young, and I don’t have much experience with older children, so others can certainly chime in with their opinion.  But for now, this set-up really works for our family, and we’re all happy with it.  We’ll take it a day at a time.

What’s your opinion?  Do your kids of opposite genders share?  Did you share a room growing up? I’d love to hear a variety of takes on this issue.  What if you had all the space you needed for separate rooms for everyone – would you still do it?

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Comments

  1. Great post – it’s so nice of you to be answering all of our questions!

    We want our son (3.5yrs) and daughter (2yrs) to share now, although they have been in separate rooms up until now. Our baby is 6 weeks, and we want to move our daughter out of her crib and into a toddler bed in her brother’s room (now repainted, reorganized, and renamed “the big kids’ room).

    She’s flat out refusing (not-so-subtle jealousy of the new baby), and reading your post I’m worried we may have waited too long! Anyone out there have any advice?!

    • well maybe you arent paying enough attention to her imagine how she must feel a baby comes and shes suddenly being asked to share a room

    • I am sure that you are giving her as much attention as you can given that this is your third child and you had them like stair steps basically. She is going through her terrible twos and she is probably a little insecure about the whole change of things. It may have been a little too much at once. Maybe you should have done it before your third child arrived to make sure she didn’t feel like she wasn’t the baby anymore. Just reassure her that you love her and that all of your children are very important!! I am sure that you are doing all that you can at this stressful time!!

    • Sarah, Don’t get down on yourself. You didn’t do anything wrong! There is no right way or right time to put kids together. Just keep trying and hopefully it will work. Maybe try decorating the two halves of the room completely in their own themes so she is excited about “her” room and doesn’t feel like she is in her brother’s. Keep up the good work. It gets better :) Dawn

  2. My brother and I shared until I was 10 and he was 8 and that really was only because my sister came along (she eventually moved into the room with me). We had bunk beds for many years, too, and we loved it! I don’t have any bad memories of sharing, we were very close with each other and I think that sharing a room really helped with that bond.

    In all honesty, I think kids can share really until the older one hits puberty or they really start becoming conscious of modesty and their bodies, etc.

    • I agree with Laurie about sharing until one hits puberty… I think you should also take into account the relationship between the children and possibly personality type. I shared a room with my brother (4 years older than me) until I was about 6 or 7 and I was SO happy to get my own room! However, we did not have a good relationship and I’m an introvert and really needed that time/space to myself. So my final answer would be… it depends. ;)

  3. my daughters share a room. If one of them is gone over night, the other can’t sleep without her there.

    Denise’s last blog post…i think i may have fallen for you

  4. we have four children (two boys and two girls) and they sleep together in combination boy/girl.
    Each time we ask: do you want your own room? They answer: “NOOOOOO! If we have an own room we cannot talk in the evening, we feel alone and we need the sleeping sounds to feel well!” The oldest child is 10 years old and I am very curious to know if the behaviour will change with the first boyfriend :-)

    sevenjobs’s last blog post…Spaghetti Carbonara

    • I, too, have 4 kids. All +/- 2 yrs apart. My eldest daughter is 8, son is 6, daughter is 4, and son is 2. We love the area that we are in. Great school system and safe. It is rare to find a 5 bedroom home where all the rooms are on one floor. It would definitely cost a tremendous amount. We live in a 3 bedroom apartment home (at least 1200 sf). It works for us as of right now. The girls share a room in twin separate beds and so do the boys (in the other room). The rooms are equal in size. Do you think this set up could last or should I start looking for a 6 bedroom home…I’m more into saving the money for their college education, instead…But I also know that puberty is around the corner…

  5. I have two daughters, so I do not have the debate whether it is appropriate on them to share rooms or not. They do share a room and I do believe they find comfort in both of them being in that room. When they had seperate rooms, my oldest was constantly having nightmares, when we moved them in together the nightmares stopped! I believe the comfort of knowing that someone is there (whether boy or girl) is a great thing for children. It helps them to begin to learn the process of sharing and the quote ‘What is mine, is yours and what is yours, is mine’ as they grow up. Do I plan for them to share a room for the rest of their life in our home? I don’t know, where we are at we only have three bedrooms but if we moved into a much larger home in the future, it’s possible we would allow them to have their own rooms.

  6. I have a 9 yr old dd and a 6 yr old ds…they shared a room up until about 2 years ago. We have a 2 bedroom home – so it was necessary for them to share. I knew eventually they’d need sep. rooms b/c of their genders…and I figured we might as well do it now and there can be a “girly” room for my dd that likes pink and crafts and flowers and a “boyish” room for my ds who likes all things boyful. They probably could have shared a room longer (dh and I moved to the basement) – but it’s worked out well this way. Since they are homeschooled and around each other a lot – it does give them an opportunity to have their own space and some quiet time without the other one always by their side.

    Edi’s last blog post…Coca Cola – In A GLASS Bottle

  7. Great post. I never thought about the fact that they share allows them to think of toys as “family” toys rather than his or hers because they reside in their respective rooms. I agree that kids get WAY too much when they are young, and when all that “stuff” also incurs a label of “his” or “hers”, you are creating a breeding ground for selfishness to prosper.

    Irene’s last blog post…Am I am being manipulated by a first grader???

  8. I have a brother that is 2 years younger than me and a sister that is 5 years younger than me. We all 3 shared a room until I was about 9, so we would have been 9, 7, and 4. After that I shared a room with my sister until I was 16. We all wanted to share a room when we were younger.

    It was kind of comforting to me to have my sister in the room with me, the main issue was that she couldn’t fall asleep unless there was a light on, and I couldn’t fall asleep unless it was pitch black. So she got to keep the light on because she was younger. I was very glad to finally have my own room and be able to control the light at night.

    I think sharing a room is one of those priceless childhood memories. But, it also brings problems of light, sound, different bedtimes, etc. if there is a significant difference in ages.

  9. p.s.
    I shared a room with my little sis when she was an infant for about 3 days, then I demanded to move to my brother’s room because she would wake up in the middle of the night and scream her head off.

  10. I have all boys so far so this hasn’t been a concern for us but I think 3 and 5 year olds in the same room is just fine. After all, log cabin days, didn’t everybody basically share one big room? Even a need for modesty can be gotten around fairly easily…change in the bathroom and wear pajamas to bed, etc. In our house, the kids only use their bedrooms for sleeping, anyway–all the playing/hanging out/socializing is done in other parts of the house, and the boys are often hanging out in their sleepwear…so I just don’t see a huge leap between that and happening to sleep in close proximity.

    My brother is 4 years older than me and there were many times, even when we were both adolescents, that we’ d have little “sleepovers” in one another’s rooms. We just liked each other’s company, I guess. It’s weird to think that some might have seen anything indecent about it. We’re siblings! (and still very close.)

    Meagan Francis’s last blog post…hungry hungry preggo

  11. When I was growing up my dad was military. If you had same sex siblings they had to share a room (if you lived in military housing) until the oldest was 10. I have no idea why that was the magic number. But, my brother and sister in law (husbands siblings) shared a room for years by choice. He didn’t move into the boys room until he was 10 – and he decided on his own.

    autumnesf’s last blog post…Autumn asks: What do you like to do when you get bad news?

  12. I’ve got a 3 year old boy and an 18 month old girl and they’ve shared a room since the baby was about 6 months old.

    They love sharing a room and they entertain each other and they don’t want to go to sleep without each other and they care for each other and they comfort each other.

    I like it, and I am glad to hear the input from people who have older children sharing rooms.

    I think in general we don’t need as much STUFF (room, toys, clothes, cars, space) as this society thinks we need. I like the idea of focusing on people and bonding over privacy and independence (not that there still can’t be independence.)

    rowena’s last blog post…

    • Hi! We are hoping to get our 13 month old back to sleeping well and our 3 year old is hoping to help. Any tips as we move him back into his room (which his baby sister has been in since 6 months old… when we chickened out in the process)

      Thanks!

  13. I have two younger sisters, so gender wasn’t an issue. I am kind of a loner/independent, so I enjoyed having my own room, but I don’t remember hating sharing a room. I shared a room with my sister until I was about 5 and we moved into a house with three bedrooms. I had my own room for about the next five years, because we had three bedrooms and then my youngest sister (8 years younger) shared a room with my other sister. When I was 10 we moved and my younger (by 4 years) sister and I shared a room until my baby sister was out of the crib. Since then I had my own room. In some ways I think my younger sisters are closer from having shared a room…

  14. My kids have always shared rooms. We have three boys and one girl. My daughter (12 1/2) has her own room now and has for a while. We started separating them when the oldest (now nearly 16) began expressing a need for privacy when dressing, etc. Even though we eventually had the boys in one room and my daughter in her own room, they were often all sleeping together in one room. I really think that’s ok–it’s a comfort to them, it helps them to bond, and it keeps them out of my bed! :) I think that as long as the need or private space isn’t expressed and coming from some selfish place (as stated in the post), it’s totally fine to listen to the kids and separate them when they’re ready to be separated.

    • Did they start sharing as toddlers? All 4 in one room? We just had #4 (boy) and currently our 4yr old boy has his own room and our two year old boy and girl (twins) share. We only have 3 bedrooms and I would love a play room but hadn’t really considered moving them all in together. Did they all go to bed at the same time?

      • My four kids do: ) Our sons are 9, 7, 5 and our daughter is one. They have shared a room since the baby moved out of the cradle in our room. The older three have always shared. Sometimes my two older sons go through modest spurts and go change in the bathroom and sometimes they run through the house naked. I figure we’re good for a little while longer. We live in a large farmhouse. Two large bedrooms and one small upstairs. We do have a playroom downstairs.

        The boys share a bedtime, but our older two can read for a little while in bed with their LED lamps and I feed our baby girl at this time. Nap time for the younger two can be tricky, but ‘good’ nap days outnumber ‘bad’ nap days, and soon it will only be the baby napping.

        We are planning to stick to this arrangement for a year or two until our daughter needs a big bed – not a crib or toddler bed. She will then move to the small bedroom. At that stage the boys will be say 7, 9, 11 & their lego etc will move to their bedroom and the playroom will be a family activity/occasional guest room.

        Very few toys are a particular child’s forever, usually it is more based on age/stage rather than person. Homemade presents and one or two stuffed animals are the exceptions. To accommodate this my mom is slowly building each boy a three shelf, shelf to be mounted on the wall by their sleeping spot (we have bunks and a platform bed). Big enough to hold books, trophies, pinewood derby cars, an alarm clock and other things that are each’s “Mine”. I think this special spot is good and limited.

  15. My brother and sister shared a room until he was almost 10, she seven. The only reason they separated is that she demanded it. She wanted her own room “with a door” (long story…only one door in our house – to the bathroom). So, my parents made it happen…they knew it would all happen in its own time. Even after they had their “own” rooms they co-slept a lot as by then they didn’t like being alone.

    Jerrie’s last blog post…cute Thursday

  16. I grew up sharing a room with my brother until I was 10 and he was 15. My mom seperated our two spaces with dressers so we had a seperate area, but a shared room none the less and we did great.

    My kids now have been sharing, well since it was possible. I now have 2 boys and 1 girl in the same room. Bunk beds allow my two boys 3 & 5 to have their own beds and my daughter (7) has her own of course. There are no toys in this room so it is exclusively a sleeping room. Our kids sleep really well in the same room and are comforted not to be all alone at night. The allternate for us currently is that I give up my little office for the benefit of them having their own space, but I am honestly not willing to move ALL the office stuff into my bedroom to make up for it. We are working on getting another room completed in our basement, but that is a ways away. My daughter is excited about getting her own room, but she isn’t excited about being all they way in the basement away from everyone else in the house. I think that will take a lot of getting used to for her when she does move down there.

    My opinion though about them sharing spaces…just not a big deal, especially if we have already been teaching them about modesty. I think if we weren’t able to finish the basement room, I would be fine with the kids sharing until my daughter was even 10 like I was. I have noticed that some kids get jealous of personal spaces too and I am quite sure that when my daughter does move too that one of my sons will be jealous that she gets her own room while he still needs to share a room with his little brother….I would almost prefer to have them all three in the same room as opposed to dealing with the whole jealousy issue!

  17. For a while my 6 year old and 1 year shared a room they loved it! I put my 1 year old son in his own room once he jumped out of his crib. It was a safety issue – my daughter has tons of little toys – polly pockets etc that were not safe for my son to be around. Elijah is now 3 and Sara is now 8. We are lucky that they can have their own rooms. They need some time apart once in a while. Don’t we all? :)

    Dana’s last blog post…Studying for Christmas

  18. Thanks for answering my question! I couldn’t believe when I checked your site this morning (as I do every day) that my question was up! =) I do appreciate you taking the time to write about it. Your answer really has given me a lot to think about as we are moving in three weeks. I never thought about the aspect of breeding selfishness. We actually have had quite a bit of that lately and don’t want to add to it. I will definitely be talking about this with my husband. Thanks again, this was extremely helpful!

    Laine Chambers’s last blog post…I am here and alive =)

  19. I have been wanting to put our 15 month old and 4 year old in a room together for all these great reasons (and so I can turn the nursery back into an office/guest room/sewing room). But I have been concerned about them waking each other up in the night. A couple times a week the 15 month old will fuss in the night, not fully waking up, but still loud enough that we hear him through a closed door. Do you have this issue? Do you have any trouble with them waking each other up? Thanks!

    Amy’s last blog post…it takes a farm

  20. avatar
    erika townsend says:

    We have a 9 year old daughter and 11 year old son sharing a room – after a major downsize in our lives. They, until this year, always had their own room – and with the change, we initally put our 2 boy together and 2 girls together – and my oldest had a hard time with little brother getting into older brother’s beloved legos. My two oldest love sharing a room – of course there are moments, but i’ve noticed they really have begun to understand each other quite a bit more, and while I didn’t think they needed more, they do seem to be more compassionate and empathetic toward each other. While it wasn’t a big problem before, I have noticed they also rarely bicker or argue since they’ve began sharing. The ‘privacy’ word might come up in a few months/years, and we will see where that leads, but at this time, I see only benefits from my boy and girl sharing a room.

    • We have recently moved and were blessed to even find a two bedroom apartment in this booming oil town. Everyone fretted about my son, 10, and daughter 9, sharing a small room. But just like you, it has been a blessing. My daughter is very private, so she dresses in my room, where there is a bathroom area. We have seen so much growth in learning to with less and share. When they need their own space they either crash in their own bunk or chill on my bed or in the library (our dining room wasn’t big enough for a table, so we put bookshelves in it). I am glad we aren’t the only ones with older kids sharing!

  21. We recently moved across several states and went from owning a 4 bedroom to renting a 2 bedroom house. My kids (girl 7 and boy 5) went from having their own rooms to sharing a room. They enjoy one another’s company and actually spent a lot of time together (even sharing a bed sometimes at night by choice) when they had their own rooms.

    We bought each child a loft bed so that they have their own space in the room. They are not allowed on the other’s bed unless invited but they equally share all the floor and closet space.

    It’s interesting that many of the comments are pointing to 10 years old as being a natural separation age. By that time we will have hopefully moved on to a larger home!

    Kristen M.’s last blog post…Museum Day 2008

  22. We have two girls, so not the same issues as you — but we have talked quite a bit about room sharing. Right now we’re in a 2BR house, so it’s not even an issue…but a few years ago we were looking seriously at a 4BR house, and I said “two bedrooms, one guest room, one playroom” whereas my husband was pretty convinced the girls should have their own rooms, because no one in his house growing up ever had to (gasp!) share a room. I, on the other hand, am convinced that room sharing is a very positive thing…though I’m not averse to reevaluating the sitch once they’re headed into their teens.

    Someone asked about waking each other up — I had been worried about that too when our youngest was moving into her sister’s room, but it was never an issue. White noise really helps. :)

  23. I’m the dreaded middle child. Smack dab in the middle of a two great brothers. We never had to share the same room, but this scared of the dark chicken ended up in one of their rooms nearly every night. If I wasn’t there, you could find me sleeping between the door frame of my parents bedroom. (Oh Lord, now it sounds like I have issues? No. Just a total chicken when the sunsets. You grow up in the middle of nowhere with the coyotes howling and your imagination will run wild too!)

    Anyways, don’t worry about your kids sharing a room. My brothers are my greatest friends and supporters today!

  24. Wow…I’m so surprised at all the responses that are pro sharing a room between boys and girls! While at first it sounds like a fine idea, I’m going to be the one odd-ball here and say that I will not do it unless we have extenuating circumstances.

    Why? Because I have heard first-hand accounts where situations of experimentation (to put it delicately) occurred, and there was guilt on all sides later on. Specifically one of these incidents was between siblings of the opposite sex, ages 5 and 7. These two had grown up in a “normal” family, so there was no question of abuse.

    Anyway, I’m not up on my high horse about it. Just thought I’d share a different perspective. :)

    Sarah Bray’s last blog post…Go Sarah, Go

    • We are getting ready to move our three and one year old daughter and son together in one room before our new little one arrives in December. Although the baby will be rooming with us for the first few months, I’ve been excited about the idea of having our kids sharing the same space for a while. We have quite a big house, so space is not the issue with us, but I thought that having them together would foster a shared relationship between the two that would smooth the transition when the new baby arrives.

      The only thing I’m slightly concerned about is that we’re moving our son into the room that our daughter has identified as “hers”… I hope this sense of ownership will dwindle quickly and not cause too much friction with the new arrangements.

      I was really excited to see the number of folks that responded with positive experience about sharing rooms!

      Cheryl’s last blog post…A Moment of Peace

    • True, in rare circumstances I’m sure this can happen. I’m thinking the kids will have their own rooms once modesty plays a role in their lives.

    • I don’t think ‘experimentation’ at that age is normal… Though there doesn’t necessarily have to be abuse involved to cause abnormal circumstances.

      That said, I shared a room with my brother for quite some time and even when we didn’t share a room one of us would end up in the other’s room at some point during the night because we wanted to talk, were lonely, etc. We grew up very close and there was never any thought of ‘experimenting’.

      I’m sure it can happen… but I doubt it’s common.

  25. I shared a room with an older brother and a younger brother until I was almost 10 years old. Other than them always trying to come in when I was changing clothes, it was fine. I plan on my kids sharing rooms. I think middle school age is a good time to separate, at least right now I do. I might change my mind.

    Love your site.

    cat’s last blog post…Fall Into Reading Challenge

  26. Thanks for these great points. My brother and I always had our own room so I never thought about it. I love your ideas on making toys “family toys” and it seems like this way kids might be less likely to “isolate” themselves to “their” room.

    Gidget’s last blog post…Gidget Talks Money, Part 3: Pear Budget {+ Giveaway!}

  27. I am noticing too that most of these children in the comments are close in age. My sister and I are seven years apart. We lived in a two bedroom apartment for two years after she was born so we had to share. Those two years were miserable for me as the big sister. Especially once she was mobile. She was always getting into my stuff which either had parts too small for her to play with (think Barbie shoes and legos) or were set up in a certain way (think play kitchen and doll house). She was forever wrecking the room. This created alot of hard feelings in me as a small child that really were not resolved until I was a young adult and she was a teenager. Although neither of us have children yet, most likely I would not put children together who are separate by more than a few years, unrelated to gender.

    • Good point. My brother and I are five years apart, and we never shared a room. I do think that would have been odd.

      • Actually, my almost six year-old son and my 8 month old daughter share a room and in fact, it’s not “odd” at all. We have a 2 bedroom home at the moment that we rent until we can buy a larger home. My son loves it (except for the crying sometimes.) Do I think this will last for a long time? No. But if it was completely necessary I’d be okay with the two sharing a room until my son was going into middle school. Hopefully that won’t be the case!

        Also, I shared a room with my older sister who is almost 12 years older than me, for a few years when I was a kid. She was 17 and I was almost 5 when she moved into her own room. And guess where I ended up most nights? She didn’t mind though, and today her and I are best friends.

    • My three daughters, aged 10, 3, and 1, all share a room. I agree that it can be a problem when the older child has no ability to protect her things from the younger ones. My oldest daughter was unable to keep board games, nice books, or her snowglobe collection safe from little hands, and she was never allowed to practice her guitar or play with art supplies because of fear she’d leave them laying around and the little kids would get them. I solved this by creating a “big kid playroom” in my house. It’s actually a section of my bedroom, and it’s a safe place for my older kids (10yo dd and also my 3 oldest boys) to keep their special things and play with toys and games that aren’t appropriate for small children. It’s been a huge blessing for all of us!

      Michelle’s last blog post…Hurricane Ike

    • My younger sister and I shared a room for six months when my family was in a two bedroom apartment between houses. She’s five and a half years younger than me, and both of us are very attached to our private time. I was eleven/twelve and she was six then, and the only real issue that we had with sharing was that she grinds her teeth, which woke me up sometimes. Other than that, we were fine. We had bunk beds, and since I liked the bottom (I could set up a blanket as a curtain to create a private fort in my bed) and she liked the top, it wasn’t at all a difficult experience, despite the age difference.
      Amanda´s latest post: The papers, the papers…

    • As I commented below, I would take some time and observe your kids and make a best decision based on your kids.

      I was thinking my daughters (10 & 2) would need their own rooms as quick as we could manage it. The baby has been in my room and over the past few months my older daughter has BEGGED for her little sister to sleep in her room! Erin loved sharing a room with her big brother and I think she feels lonely.

      So…miss Erin helped me build the Big Girl bed and is now the proud big sister sharing a room with her baby sister. And is very upset whenever baby sister ends up in my bed!

      You know what, I will say that most of our toys are in the basement. Erin is ADD, so the fewer distractions in her room the better. She only has 2 high shelves of trinkets the baby can’t reach. I would bet it would be more difficult if Erin had a more “normal” 10-year old room??

      But…again….every decision has to fit YOUR family :)

  28. For us, sharing a room wasn’t an option. Our son with CP wasn’t even sleeping through the night due to night seizures until he was 5; and even now, it’s hit or miss if he will. We also didn’t know if he had the cognitive capacity to share a room with our daughter. When our 3rd came along, a boy, I just didn’t want he and our daughter to share a room. In hinde sight, I think this would have been fine.

    I’m sure the siblings will bond either way. Ours have such a tight bond, and again, they don’t share rooms. In the end, you do what you need to do or want to do. Each child is different, same with each situation. It sounds like your children aren’t “too old” to share a room together and I would go for it if that’s what you’d like to do!

  29. My daughter is 7 and my son is 3 and they have recently started sharing a room at their request.
    They settle better at night, sleep more soundly and my son, who has always been up at the crack of dawn, sleeps until later :o) In short they LOVE it.
    There has been no issue of my son playing with my daughters things as they have a separate playroom and most of the toys are shared anyway. The things that she does have in the bedroom (jewellery, special books etc.) are on her shelves and my 3 yo knows that they are a no go area.
    So from my point of view I think it works great. I don’t think it would work for all siblings though. My daughter is homeschooled and therefore has a very close bond with her little brother if she wasn’t i don’t think they’d be as close and I don’t think she’d want to share at this age.

    Nicki’s last blog post…Back to School

  30. This is a great post! We had always thought/hoped that DD & kid #2 would share a room, thus getting out of our room when kid#3 comes along. I never thought about it fostering the family toy idea which is something that i find important since we hope to have a large family. Thanks for the food for thought!

  31. My two youngest (boy age 4, girl age 21 mos.) currently share a bedroom simply for the fact that there was no other option! I’m sure that at some point they will get their own rooms, if and when we move. Right now it’s not an issue due to their age, but I’m sure it will be as they get older.

    Anna’s last blog post…Curried Egg Salad on Greens

  32. My little brother and I shared a room until I was about 10. We had another bedroom that was our playroom. It was nice to always have someone there. We had bunkbeds and it worked out well. I’d read him stories at night and we’d talk all the time. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. I think that preteens do seem to desire more privacy so that’s a good time to separate. But if I had kids of the same gender I’d have no problem with them sharing a room through high school. There is no real “need” for kids to have their own rooms IMO.

    Mama K’s last blog post…Baseball Boy

  33. My brother and I shared a room until I was 13 and he was 12. I think mom was ahead of her time when she only got us family toys instead of boys and girls toys. Brother and I found it difficult to adjust in our new home with separate bedrooms and we ended sleeping on sleeping bags in each others room once in a while after that.

    Now I have two boys and they share a room. We have two spare rooms, but I was selfish and wanted them to bond the same way my brother and I did. It’s working great! :) And, to this day, my brother and I call each other every single day.

    Thank you for a great post!

  34. My two oldest kids are about 2.5 years apart, my daughter being older than my son. They originally shared a room because of space but as they got older and we moved into a bigger house, they could’ve had their own rooms but they didn’t want to. In fact, they did have their own rooms and yet they would still end up sleeping in the same room, one of them sneaking into the other’s after I’d put them to bed.

    So for years they had a bedroom and a playroom, probably up until they were ages 9 and 7. They are now 18 and almost 16 and they’re still extremely close.

    April’s last blog post…A case of the ickies

  35. When the grandchildren sleep over, I love to read to them at bedtime. We start with stories and then I quietly read scriptures about God’s greatness as they fall asleep. It’s another “magical” moment that I wouldn’t trade and couldn’t experience if they didn’t sleep together.

    My kids were raised in a small home and had to share bedrooms (we had 2 boys and 2 girls so there were no gender issues though.) They have stayed close as adults – I love that.

  36. My two (girl: 5 almost 6, boy: 3) have shared a room for almost a year. It’s gone tremendously well, and I do think that they’re closer siblings from the experience. I especially appreciate that when they wake early they have each other for company and the younger has the older to read him books.
    That said, I think that in a couple of years the baby will move in with her sister while brother gets his own room. The gender thing hasn’t been an issue yet (heck, they still bathe together), but I would imagine that a nine year old girl won’t want to share a room with her twerpy six year old brother!

    Amanda @ http://www.kiddio.org‘s last blog post…Martha Speaks

  37. Oh, meant to add that we have two kinds of toys: most are family toys, while each kid has a few ‘special things’ that aren’t fair game (their special nighttime snuggler, Josie’s hello kitty cd player, Jasper’s favorite red rocket), which I think has been a real benefit in (a) teaching some idea of boundaries and (b) giving each child a sense of owning *soemething*!

  38. My brother is 3 years younger and my sister 6 years younger. We all shared the same room until I was about 10 or 11. Yep, we fought a lot, had arguments about lighting, music, tv, etc., but in the end it taught us to be a lot more tolerant of others and how to get along. My parents were remodeling the house while we were growing up so our bedroom was usually whatever room was available and not under construction.

    We also shared a queen bed for much of that time. (My sister was well known for her kicking during sleep.) So, we learned to share covers and bed space too. DH is a terrible sleeping companion, in contrast, as he only ever had his own giant bed, and can’t share bed space and is a cover hog.

    You won’t damage your kids by putting them in the same room. And, they will let you know when it’s not appropriate anymore.

  39. I have b/g twins who are 2 1/2 and have always shared a room ( a bed until they were one, actually) and a 1 1 /2 year old baby girl. We moved the baby into the twins’ room about 6 months ago, and they are all in the same room. They will only sleep if they’re all together, and I love that. The other bedroom in our house is for toys, they share everything, and it works very well for us. I shared a room with my little brother (two years younger than I) until I was 14 and he was 12. I wanted it that way. When my parents tried to separate us at a younger age we would just sneak into each others rooms and sleep on the floor. I liked the comfort of having someone near me, even if it was someone younger! So, we’ll keep all three of our kids together as long as they want to be.

    Kelli’s last blog post…Pear Budget Giveaway!

  40. I am all for kids sharing rooms, so please don’t get me wrong in my response…

    Some states have laws about the ages that children of opposite genders can share rooms. I wasn’t even aware of this until my daughter came home from kindergarten and we got a visit from Child Protective Services later that afternoon…

    She had mentioned sharing a room with her younger brother (she was 5 at the time and he was 4), and the school called the blasted state (for refrence we lived in Nebraska).

    We had a toy room for the kids, but the lady came out and had to check out the house and everything and was at least kind enough to explain the “law” (see notation) politely to me and suggest seperating them to avoid further issues from the school.

    They got seperate rooms that night… They still have “sleepovers” in one or the other’s room almost every weekend, but the experience in and of itsself scared me from ever having them offically share a room again…

    (now upon personal research I found nothing in the law that actually stated that they cannot share a room, just not a bed after my daughter had reached a school age, but they never have…)

    • Really. Wow. Just – wow.

      • I live in France, and while I don’t think that sharing rooms between brothers and sisters is illegal, I have heard that it is possible that your public assistance could be cut if there are both genders in a room. Most families rely quite heavily on this public assistance, ours included, and I’m scared this law is true. Our two boys and one girl are in the same room (ages 5, 4 and almost 1) and we don’t have room to have them in two rooms. They like it, but I think it work better with them in different rooms, at least among older/ younger lines.

        Kelly from Almost Frugal’s last blog post…Three Life Lessons Learned Last Week

  41. My kids shared a room until my daughter was 11 and my son was 6. Even though my daughter finally got her own room she really missed sharing with her brother for te first year. The only reason we separated them was my daughter was beginning to mature and she needed more privacy. Since my daughter’s room also doubles as a guest room when people visit she gets to go upstairs and share with her brother ocaasionally ( he has bunk beds) which the two of them always enjoy. BTW, my daughter is now 15 and my son is 10 and I think the years of them sharing a room was a great bonding experience given the 5 year age gap.

  42. We have not had to deal with this, because our first two were boys, so they share a room. (Then we had a girl.)

    However, I shared a room with a male cousin of mine for about a year or so when I was seven and he was three. It was fine. I wouldn’t have wanted to share a room with him when I was a little bit older, but I also spent a lot of time in my room. At our house, it wouldn’t be a big deal if we did that, because our kids spend most of the time in the living room anyway, and not much/any solo time in bedrooms. (They will sometimes go in to one of the bedrooms together to play though.)

    Angie @ Many Little Blessings’s last blog post…Oh man! I love this iGoogle page theme!

  43. my dd 7 and my ds 4 share a room. i have a toddler who sleeps in his own room (he has a bad habit of waking up for long stretches during the night). that said, he’s almost ready to start sharing a room. and i might – at least for a few months (until my daughter starts needing a separate room from the boys) – stuff the three of them together in one room.

    it absolutely encourages sibling bonding. and its such a comfort for them to have someone to “sleep with”.

    cici’s last blog post…linen pocketbook

  44. My two, DS who’s 5 and DD who’s 2, share a room as well. They do great and don’t wake each other up in the middle of the night. My DD is a sound sleeper, so she doesn’t even stir when DS goes to bed after her, climbing into the creaky bunkbed over her and turning on a light to read. We do have frequent night waking, and again, there’s no waking up of the other child. The best is when they play together when they wake up too early in the morning for me.

  45. I am one of 7 kids and we always shared a room with someone growing up. I did have a short period in HS when my sister went to college that I had my own room but honestly I really missed her and when she was home on break in another room I would end up with her a lot. I read an article in the paper last year talking about how those kids that share rooms are better adjusted as adults. If you plan on going to college or getting married sharing a room or place is normal in adult life. Those children that share rooms growing up are better to deal with this. There was a study done…wish I could find it now. I think gender especially at a young age isn’t an issue. I have two boys and a girl that all share a small room together. Ages 7, 5 and 1. My 7 year old changes in the bathroom and I am sure when he is a teen we will separate in terms of gender but they will probably still share with someone (hoping for another girl someday). We live in Los Angeles and our house is an old 3 bedroom. The rooms are small. I chose to put the kids sleeping in one. This has beds, clothes and books to read….no toys. The toys are in our playroom/guest room. I love it because if they have built a huge creation out of legos or set up their trains I don’t have to make them put it all away before bed because I can just shut the door of the playroom and they can return to play the next day. I am not walking in to put them to bed and tripping on toys in the bedroom. It is perfect for us….a little tight at times but that is fine. We make it work. The kids love it. The boys couldn’t wait for Addie to sleep in their room (she was in our room until 7 months). They have fun chatting before bed and have said they would hate to sleep in separate rooms. We do have rules that their bed is their space and others are not allowed on it unless invited. That gives them some personal space.

  46. Ps our daughters toys are in the living room at the time. Don’t want her choking on legos or messing up the boys stuff.

  47. I’m the oldest by 10 years and always had my own room but of my three little sisters the oldest had her own room and the two younger ones shared (4 bedroom house) now they are all in their late teens and early 20′s and the oldest is routinely shut out and etc… because the two younger ones are closer – however, the youngest one was a slob and my sister that shared her room always ended up doing all the cleaning up and became quiet resentful over that and it created some big issues too. Now, when they should all three be giggling about boys together or talking about school they don’t really get along with each other and it seems to go back to how they spent the first few years of their lives. When I got married they all got their own rooms and at that time were 14, 11 and 10.

    I would say that if children share a room they need to all share a room, rather than one having their own room and a couple of others sharing. Also Mom needs to be diligent about making sure that everyone carries their load in keeping the room(s) clean. My sister’s relationships with each other have suffered because of the way their rooms were treated when they were younger, my parent’s regret those decisions now and would have done things differently if they had realized what the outcome would be.

    We only have one child right now but if we had a second I think I would want to do the sleeping room/play room set-up – I would just have to be more diligent about making sure that both of the children worked together to keep their rooms clean and orderly.

    Blessed’s last blog post…A Gift Idea for Waterfowlers

  48. I think every family is going to be different here. A lot factors into whether or not kids of differing gender share a room. We have 5, 2 boys and 3 girls and we live in a 3 bedroom house. The girls share and the boys share. If we were looking at a situation where the genders were mixed, we would have to look at the modesty issue. But again, that will differ from one family to the next. Some may pick up on the differences earlier than others. And there is always the “change in the bathroom” option. So I think you really just have to pay attention and when the time is right you will know it’s time to separate them. Even if we moved to a bigger house… we would still have the kids share rooms. I think it is good for kids to share. I don’t think they would know what to do in a room all their own. Besides, we love to sit and listen to the chatter after lights out. I was surprised to read there are actually laws re: this. I’m with you SM WOW.

    Stephanie’s last blog post…Fear

  49. I haven’t read through all of the comments, so this probably has already been said, but I think once puberty begins, it would be a good time to separate the siblings.

  50. I am french and very surprise by this post… In France we also have laws for children of opposite sex sharing the same bedroom, it can’t be done after age 4.
    I have been working for 4 years as a counsellor for victims of sexual abuse, and their are many girls who are abused by their older brother…
    Don’t be too naive and please protect your children!

    • “Don’t be too naive and please protect your children!”

      True. All those reading this post need to remember I’m talking about very small children. Mine are all preschoolers. We’ll reevaluate everything when they get older.

      • I hesitate to write, as my childhood memories of sharing a room were not as rosy, but rather embarrassing. My older brother (by four years) was “experimenting” when I was 3-5 years old. As far as I know, he was not abused by anyone– inside or outside the home. My parents never knew what was going on, and still think we had the greatest relationship, and we did, except for that period of time. Our parents gave many lessons on modesty, but that didn’t impact anything. I think there are many cases like this that go unreported and leave lingering shame and embarrassment. Please remember, whether you keep your children in the same room, or separate rooms, this is a REAL possibility in our extremely sexualized culture.

  51. I shared a room with my brother up until I was 10, he was 8. I honestly don’t remember anything negative about the experience except that he snored too much! It was a small house (1000 sq ft) & my parented decided to build a 3rd bdrm off the patio so we could each have our own rooms. Actually I remember hating to have to share a bathroom (1 bathroom in the house) more than anything!

    As for my own kids, I would probably do the same except that our bedrooms are so stinkin’ small – but I’d still rather choose a small house & bunk a few kids together than size up to a larger home. I’ve never asked my brother what his feelings were on sharing a room – I’ll have to ask him next time we’re together!

    ** And thanks for the great post & awesome suggestions with what to do with digital photos!! I’ve been dealing with major 1st trimester “yuck” so I’ve been out of the loop a bit – I so appreciate the post!!

    Vicki’s last blog post…A little theology – Part I

  52. Mine are 2.5 and 5 months. They don’t share rooms currently but will be in the very near future. I agree with everything you said about learning to share at a young age and getting them to “bond” in a unique way. Thanks for talking about this!

    AMber’s last blog post…Another one from the boy…

  53. I was the 2nd of 4 (boy, girl, boy, girl), with a 9-yr gap between me and my younger brother. My younger sibs shared a room until my younger brother was in kindergarten – which I think was the legal limit in TN for children of the opposite sex. Then my little sister’s bed was moved into my room. It was the end of my senior year in high school, so I wasn’t exactly thrilled about it, but we were renting out my older brother’s room (MIL apt.) and that was the legal limit for them sharing, so there was nothing else to be done. Plus all her stuff was kept in my little brother’s room, so all she did was sleep in my room.

    I don’t have a problem with kids sharing rooms (although really, you _do_ need to look into your state laws concerning mixed-gender rooms), but my husband was/is determined that we’ll never have more kids than we have rooms for them in the house because an old girlfriend shared a room with a brother until the younger of the two siblings was like 13 or something. Since we can’t afford a bigger house right now and are preggers with #2 (in a 2-br), he’s already accepting that they’re going to have to share at least for a little while.

    Maybe that means more babies in the future! :)

    But more to the point, a) check your state laws. Yes, it’s invasive, but it’s still (possibly) the law. I think it’s typical for the states to say kindergarten or 6-ish. At the very least, know your rights so if child services is called you can defend yourself. b) I think sharing rooms is fine if necessary, if the kids want it, and/or if the children’s temperment allows. I’m glad I didn’t have to as a little kid (and wasn’t exactly happy about it in high school), but then again, my dad would find me in my room still reading at 3AM quite often, so I might not have been the best companion anyway. :)

    Princess Leia’s last blog post…It Could Have Been SOOOOO Much Worse…

  54. I have four kids. 15, 13, 7 & 3. They are girl, boy, girl, boy. The oldest two share a room and the younger two share. The older two (girl 15, boy 13) are fine with it. They have bunk beds, there is also a bathroom right next door. They change clothes in the bathroom and spend time in the bedroom reading or tv watching. No issues so far.

    Then the younger two share a room. It works out great and we really don’t have many other options. The younger kids go to bed an hour earlier then the older ones so sharing a room would be hard due to bedtime and the age difference makes their interests alot different.

    It works for us. Once the oldest leaves home the next in line will have his own room til he leaves home (the plan is 18) then the younger two will get their own rooms.

  55. My oldest are a boy and girl who are 16 months apart (7.5 & almost 9…gee does time fly). Since the youngest was born even though they’ve had their own rooms they’ve always preferred to sleep together so our oldest girl has a queen in her room. Now that we have 3 (the youngest girl is 2.5) and only 3 bedrooms, the oldest children keep their things in seperate rooms from each other yet our son sleeps in his older sister’s room while his rooms which is shared with the toddler (due to too many small things she could get into in her older sister’s room). The toddler actually sleeps in her brothers room and it’s worked out great for us (although we are now in the process of getting bunk beds to replace the queen so they each have more space “alone” yet close to the other for comfort. But I do think that there will come a time when our oldest daughter will need her own place (as we all know boys mature a bit later than girls). However, until we get a bigger home with 4 bedrooms they will continue in this manner.

    Farrah’s last blog post…It’s FIXED! Now come take a look at my new place!

    • Our kids (boy and girl)have always shared a room (now ages 5 and 6) and we plan on continuing it for a while, probably until age 10 or if/when it’s needed. We only use the bedrooms for sleeping. Playing occurs elsewhere and that’s where the sharing/fighting happens.

  56. My daughter and son (5 and 2) began sleeping in the same room sometime this summer. It started out as fun sleepover party for a special treat, but soon became a nightly ritual. They sleep in a double bed and it is one of the most precious things ever!!! I think it contributes to their brother/sister bond and it makes us tighter as a family. I love it!

  57. We are a family of six (four children so far) and live in a 956sq foot home. We have three bedrooms. Currently the three boys live in the same room (7,5,3) they all have their own beds (bunks and toddler size). The little lady (21months) has her own tiny room. If we were to be blessed with another baby they would share. We have put egress windows into the basement to make another room (my husband and I will have our bedroom down there) at that point the two big boys would move into our old bedroom, the little man would have his own. Our daughter tries to sleep in their room every night. When she is old enough to speak her mind and ask (or if there is another infant) she may end up moving in with her brother. Personally I do not think it is in appropriate. Should they when they are in their teens? don’t think so but that is just my opinion. At the point we are at with their ages I think it is just fine. They do not ever ask to have their own rooms and know they probably wont ever. There is nothting shameful about sharing. if your situation makes it that the girls and boys need to share so be it. Make the best of every situation.

    anna’s last blog post…Urgent prayer request

  58. My almost 6 year old daughter and barely four year old son share at the moment & love it. Their 2 year old brother has his own room, but we plan on moving him in with the others as soon as he sleeps reliably enough. Ultimately our daughter will want her own space, but I hope that there are a good few years of sharing time left before then.

  59. We have four children. 2 Girls and 2 Boys. The girls share a room and the boys share a room. My husband holds the opinion that it is to the children’s advantage to learn to share a room. We have a finished attic space that is our toy room. The toys in the attic must be shared. Each child has a few toys of ownership and those are shared or played with by invitation only.

    Boys can not enter the girls room. My daughter will invite a brother in to her room to play with her toy.

    I do advocate some toy ownership. It teaches boundaries and stewardship. I do advocate family toys. It teaches sharing, social skills and community living.

    Randy Pausch mentioned in his writings that most good people come from large families. I believe it’s because they learn to share, communicate, and relate to siblings of different ages and abilities. The home is THE BEST place to learn life skills!

    Katherine Dyche’s last blog post…Please Consider Adopting These Children

  60. I am a bit late on this response, so you may not even read it, but this is something I address a lot when I speak on parenting. I echo so many of your reasons, and didn’t read any of the other comments, but I have been amazed at the number of people who tried talking me out of having my children share. We have five kids and up until 3 years ago….4 of them shared a room…by choice. We had a guest room and a computer room where we tried to move our daughter but she didn’t want to miss out on all the fun. Now, we have 3 boys in one room and 2 girls in another room, and still have a guest room so this definitely isn’t a space issue. They are learning life lessons every day by dealing with conflict resolution and so many other things. My sis in love and bro have ten kids (yes, all theirs) and they have a girls “dorm” room and a boys “dorm” room for many of the same reason. 6 boys in one room, 4 girls in another…and they aren’t huge rooms. They are functional with multiple sets of bunk beds. Interesting topic, and a great reminder to address this at my next MOPS speaking time. :)
    Friend of the Nester and found you through her.

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  61. What a great post! I don’t have children yet, but a good friend of mine shared a bed with her sister her entire life (even when they lived together for a couple of years in college) and I loved the idea. They seemed closer and had a bond and fondness for one another that I truly admired. And I love, love, love the idea of sharing toys, games and crafts. And I would love to know how you handle that with Christmas and birthdays and the such.

    kirsten’s last blog post…happy weekend

  62. I have ID twin girls who have shared a bed/cot since they were born and who now share a room and who will probably always share a room. We also have a baby boy who currently sleeps with us (there isn’t another room to put him in anyway). While we are currently preparing to renovate our house and make it into a four bedroom house, and while we are hoping to have at least one more baby and would have enough space for the singletons to have their own rooms – we assume that they will all share in some combination at some stage. For all the reasons you already stated in your post.

    I also assume that at some point, someone will not want to share, for whatever reasons, and we’ll have to reassess and change things when and if that happens. But personally I can’t see any problem with any combination of kids sharing at any age if they are happy to do so – I can only see advantages!

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  63. My niece and nephew shared a room beginning when they were about 1 and 3.5. They shared until recently when they were 3.5 and 6. At that point my niece started sharing with her little sister who was 1. The switch had nothing to do with gender and everything to do with keeping the peace and sleeping well. I think it is fine for them to share as long as it works for you or they have valid reasons to ask to split up. Obviously by preteen years they will want more privacy.

    Christy@pipandsqueak’s last blog post…Pumpkin Patch #1

  64. I think room sharing is of great benefit to siblings. I don’t think the boy-girl thing is an issue until puberty. My children have all shared rooms at a young age and it has helped to bring them closer. We began to see issues during the preteen age of our children craving their own space. This was with 2 girls and the issue was a need to maintain and take responsibility of their own belongings.

    My son (6) and my daughter (4) desire to share rooms. They share toys and want each other’s company.

    Trish’s last blog post…My "baby" is 2!

  65. My kids share by choice. They love it. They even push their beds together sometimes. I shared with my brother growing up and I absolutely *hated* it. I think it was b/c I didn’t have a choice.

    e&p’s last blog post…Weasel and precious gems?

  66. I’m so happy to have stumbled upon this post and all of the wonderful comments here. I have always worried about the effects of my children sharing a room (DS is now 11.5, DD is 8), as I grew up an only child and never had to share anything with anybody!

    As we live in Paris and 3 bdrm apartments are very hard (read expensive) to come by, not helped by the fact that I’m a single mum, they don’t have a choice. At least here it is just the two of them; they share a bedroom with their little brother (4) at their dad’s one week out of two. They all get along pretty well and loft beds with desks beneath have really helped things and I guess, from reading the above, that they won’t be scarred for life, I hope!

  67. Thank you so much for this wonderful article. I will soon be transitioning my 3 month old daughter out of our bedroom and into our 22 month old son’s room. I’ve been worrying myself sick about it. I never shared a room, and it’s wonderful to read that so many have had such positive experiences with it.

    Heather’s last blog post…Pictures of Joe Joe and Lily from last weekend

  68. My kids do not currently share rooms, and that is because they really do love each other and would talk and talk all night long. In fact, they do when we have guests and they do end up sharing a room. But, we will need to move our baby girl into our son’s room soon, as she is outgrowing her crib and then we cannot put her in the office/baby room we have her in now. Eventually the baby and my oldest, another girl, will need to share a room eventually. Right now, while they are young, sorting by age is best. Later, when they are older, sorting by gender is best. At least, that is what I think now, but I haven’t put it into practice yet!

    Taylor at Household Management 101´s last blog post…Mar 30, Household Inventory: Why Your Family Should Create One

  69. We currently live in a three bedroom apartment, and my 6 yo son and 4yo daughter share one bedroom for sleeping, and the other as a playroom. Soon we are moving into a two bedroom house, where obviously they will continue to share a bedroom. They have bunkbeds, although most nights we still play some kind of version of musical beds. I think it is somewhat ridiculous that gender plays a role in determining whether children should share a room or not – the intimation being that sexual abuse will occur if they share a room. If sexual abuse occurs between your children, there are many more opportunities for it to happen than just at night time. From what I can find online, the US doesn’t seem to have laws against sibling room sharing, but rather laws restricting the bedroom arrangements of foster children and families living is public housing. Also, judges can consider bedroom arrangements in custody determination.

    And on a personal note, I would advise parents to NEVER let CPS into your home unless they have the police with them with a signed warrant. I know of several situations where families allowed them in thinking it would make things easier, and then once in CPS found a different cause from the the one originally stated to remove the children – mold in the bathroom? dirty dishes in the kitchen? Even if you are found not at fault, it can take months to get your kids back.

    The “family toys” concept has worked really well for us, too. We often ask family members to gift one bigger toy to each kid, and Santa even brings a shared toy or two. When a toy is brand new, each kid has more “control” over it, but soon it is on the common shelves with everything else. My kids just take it for granted, since this is the way we have always done it.

    sarah´s last blog post…funky smell = yummy dinner

  70. We’re currently renting a three bedroom house… One BD is obviously Mommy and Daddys… the two littles (boy -6mo and girl-2yrs) share a room… the third BD is storage/den… we turned one of our entryways (doesn’t get used for an entryway) into a toy room/area… I could even see adding a few more kiddos to the kids BD using bunks… I like having them both in the same room, except when they wake each other up from naps, etc. It’s nice to have one location for everything!

    Ashley´s last blog post…I’m ready, Lord… is it time?

  71. My daughter (age 7) and son (age 4.5) share a room. We have another son (7 months) and unless we are able to do some remodeling, in another two years we may have a boys room and a girls’ room. We could have each child in their own room right now, but we like having a guest room (which doubles as my craft room) and a play room, and we also like the idea of kids bonding and sharing. Honestly, I feel okay with boys and girls sharing a room at least up until age 12. There are bathrooms/other rooms to change in, and my husband and I don’t really think kids need privacy.

    Just my $.02

  72. I have a sister who is two years older than me and a brother 4 years younger. My parents would try different combinations of who was sharing a room and my brother and I got along better than my sister and I did. We shared a room until I was 11 and starting middle school and then they converted the dining room to another bed room. I remember I liked sharing a room with my brother, my sister and I fought too much and I got lonely and bored in a room by myself.

    My friend however had to share a room with her brother until she left for college, this was harder for her since she and her brother were both in high school. She never felt comfortable inviting friends over to her house and when I was over, we never played in her room. I think I was only in her room once. So at that point I would say they were a little too old to be comfortably sharing a room.

  73. This is a great topic. I have two sons, ages 3.5 and 2. They each have separate rooms mostly because their rooms are small and there is not enough room to fit two beds in one of them (if there was enough room I would probably have them share and use one as a play room). Their rooms are joined by a jack-and-jill bathroom so to them it is like one big room in a way. Often in the mornings I find them together in the same bed. We will probably be moving from Florida, USA to London, UK so there will be a MAJOR downsize and they almost certainly will have to share. I don’t really have any problem with this. At one point I thought each kid should have his or her own room (probably because I did as a kid) but I have certainly changed my mind after becoming a parent of two boys. They love being together. I was an only child so I had a room to myself and often had nightmares as a little one. Obviously I don’t have a boy and a girl so I am not sure what I would do in that case. If I had the space I probably would separate them but I think it really depends on each family and the kids individually. Different kids will have different needs. One thing people seemed to be concerned about in several other posts was children of opposite genders “exploring.” I have several things to say about this. First, I don’t think this is as big of a deal as some people think. When I was around 5 I have memories of doing this kind of thing with a neighborhood 5-year-old boy and I know loads of other people who have the same experience. Truly, at that young age it is not a big deal and I would not consider this abuse. If parents are worried about this I guess I would just say to talk to your kids in an age appropriate way. Obviously though, it would be a problem if there was a significant age gap or other relevant factors were in place, but I think this can happen even if kids don’t share a room.

  74. Late addition to the conversation, but we have a 4y/o son and a 2y/o daughter with another son on the way. For now, we have a seperate rooms for our kids. When the new little man arrives, he will spend time with us and then join his older brother. No worries about it. If we have a 4th, that child will just join in with like-gender.

    Best laid plans… I guess you should talk to me once this is actually in place. :)

  75. Our three kids have always shared, two girls and a boy. Our oldest (the boy) is now 12 and we are about to make another room for him upstairs, but he is only just getting ready to sleep on his own. Up till now he has never wanted to, having been scared of the dark until not long ago. We are only really moving it ahead because puberty is about to hit and we think they should have the option of a bit more privacy and personal space. But the whole sharing thing has been great with very few problems or conflicts and they are all pretty close.
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  76. Our boys (ages 9 and 7) share a room with their sister (age 4). We own a three bedroom home and we needed extra space for a music room/ nap room (for daycare). They have shared a room since they were little so they don’t know any differently. For us it works. Some people may feel that is weird, but from where my husband comes from it is normal. And it teaches them to be less selfish and more generous with themselves as well as the space!

  77. avatar
    Dude_WaitWhat says:

    Like you said, their young. What you’re doing is fine.
    As an aside, I’m sorry I didn’t realize the hyperlink was to your blog.
    D_WW

  78. My boy and girl share a room. He’s 5 (and six months), and she just turned 4 (a month ago). They are very close and although them sharing a room makes for a loud house, I’m glad they have the opportunity to share their space. They are best friends (at least for now). My sister and I shared a room for 11 years, and although we annoyed one another, it contributed to an ultra close relationship that we still share.

    I think that when the kids are different genders, you should start looking into separate rooms when they are around 9 and a half. I think preteen boys/girls need separate rooms from their opposite sex siblings.

  79. I love the idea of two small children playing happily together in one room. Unfortunately, reality is a bit different. My 3 year old and 1 year old on entirely different sleeping schedules. My 1 year old is still waking up 2-3 times a night for a bottle, teething, etc. This interrupts my 3 year daughter sleeping pattern and is visibly exhausted going to preschool the next day. Also, when one is ill there is no separating germs. This leads to more sleepless nights as one gets better the other one gets worse. Also, my daughter is quiet and loves to imagine tea parties and such while my son just consumes his time stealing and knocking her set-up around. I spend most of the day separating them and bed time is a disaster as they stimulate each other to stay up. I am definitely craving a way to allow her a quiet space of her own where she can play (and sleep) peacefully.

  80. avatar
    cristal says:

    I didn’t read every post but it seems most think around age 10 is best to seperate. My kids are 2 girls (12 almost 13 and 9 almost 10) one boy almost 7. My 2 girl’s shared many years. But my oldest is very girly and my other. Daughter is very not girly. So we moved the youngest girl into our son’s room and its worked.wonderfully until recently, she is now showing interest in boys. She still who she has always been prefers balls over dolls and mud over make up:) but we keep feeling like we should seperate them, but we don’t have any extra space. So the only other option is to move her back to the oldest girls room but I feel like they’d buttheads worse than before. I was thinking just trying to divide the room between boy and girl (they currently have bunk beds) what are y’all thoughts ?

    • I would keep them together if they enjoy it, and as for the 12 year old and the 9 year old, I am in the same situation and depending on how they get along versus how the 9 and 6 year old get along, I would keep them apart.

  81. Hey. I live in a 3 bedroom house. My parents have one of the rooms. There are 2 equally small bedrooms that us 3 kids have to split up. Im a 12 year old girl, and my 9 year old sister and 7 year old brother. My sis and bro have a ton in common. Currently, me and my sis share a room, and my bro has his own. My brother would rather share a room with her than with me or have his own, and my sis would rather share with him than with me or have her own. I would WAY rather have my own then share with either than them. I want space to decorate and keep my things in, and not having to come home after school wondering which of my things they have played with. My mom does not think that my brother and sister should share a room because of their oppisite genders, but they get along great and my sister does not mind the boyish things around his room and would love to share with him, so I think they should share.

    Please reply on what you would do, and ways I can convince my mom they should share. Thanks!

  82. I am 14 years old and live in a tiny, 2 bedroom house with my parents and 4 other siblings- all boys. By personal experience, i wouldnt force my children to share a room once neither of them want to- especially if ones a boy and ones a girl. If i were to have a chance to get my own room, i would literally jump at the opportunity- living in confined quarters with 4 other rambunctious siblings is extremely stressful, and i often find myself at the library just trying to get away from it all. of course, everyones outlook on life and certain situations is different, but in my opinion, if you have the space for privacy, it would make sense for me to use it.
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  83. I’m 15 years old now and I still share a room with my 13 year old brother and I HATE IT. I think when we were younger it didn’t matter as much but high school and the need for privacy and all the other stuff just made sharing a room inconvenient.
    Friends could never come to our room because there was hardly enough space to sit on the floor. The problem is that we don’t have another bedroom and I think I won’t ever have my own room until I leave the nest :(
    It’s a nice feeling for kids to be able to own something, to say ‘That’s my room.’
    My brother, although he’s not messy, never cleans up so dust settles on all his stuff… which makes the rest of the room unclean.
    So I think the moment kids start high school or puberty or any other ‘growing up event’ then they should have their own rooms.

  84. I have a small bedroom with small bathroom for my son is one and a half years also my daughter 3 years old. The paint wall is blue and I’m confused how to make the decoration of this room. So I need somebody to help me for the decorations and details by photos.

  85. I’m in a pickle but these posts have helped me some and given me more questions in others. Great comments everyone. My husband and I have a 3 bedroom house. We own and the market is no good to sell/move now. We have a 7yo boy and 2 yo girl. They had their own rooms until…my stepdaughter was removed from her mom by DCF and placed with us. She is 12. We moved her into our daughters room and so it is the girls room. There are some problems. The 12yo wants to play hiphop at night to fall asleep. The 2yo has trouble sleeping and wakes up at night when 12yo stirs on top bunk then 12yo complains that 2yo crying wakes her up. The 12yo wants her own room. She is complaining about sharing a room with a toddler who makes a mess and is a “crybaby”. I can see how she could see it that way though it seems harsh but its her perspective and if my 2yo was older or as she gets older, I can see her having her own complaints. I have said no all this time due to I thought it would be frowned upon for us to have boy/girl share a room. Now the 12yo is on a supervised visit with mom and my son has asked to sleepover in the top bunk. He says he wants that to be his bed. The 2yo has slept MUCH better without the hiphop music and I am assuming less noise up top since my son is much smaller and lighter. So now we are left with the question of ethics. That seems to have been answered here especially since my son won’t be 10 for 3 more years hopefully the market will pick up and/or we will have more equity to work with. The question now after reading these is, do I want to stop the girls from bonding as they will when they share a room? Also, the 12yo has PTSD from the trauma of the abuse and being removed so she has nightmares. She is legal to be home alone but does MUCH better when she has one of the other kids with her because she gets anxiety when she is “alone”. I wonder if I am going to do all this work to switch their rooms and encounter new problems. Probably but is it worth it/do the benefits outweigh the cost?

  86. My kids are 6 (boy) and 4 (girl). They share a room as a necessity. We just sold our two bedroom house and now live in an even smaller 2 bedroom apartment while we continue to look for a home to buy. We adopted them at ages 3yo and 8mos. Initially, we were concerned about the sharing a room scenario, but it has turned out to be so great for bonding. They adore each other and actually do not sleep well if one of them is gone. We have another baby on the way, a girl, and we were thinking our oldest would finally get his own room and the sisters would share. But I’ve been reconsidering… Our new home will have at least 3 bedrooms and, amazingly, I’m seriously considering putting all 3 kids in one room for awhile. Now that I’ve lived this for over 3 years, I agree that separate rooms is not necessary until puberty hits. Sharing a room fosters bonding and sharing and a healthy dependence on each other. I’m so thankful we were “forced” to have them share a room. The thing that concerned me has turned out to be an incredibly valuable thing for our family.

  87. My kids are 13, 10 and 2. The older two are a boy and girl and they shared a room until the oldest turned 10. They adored each other and we even tried giving them their own space but we’d keep playing musical rooms since the kids had sleepovers in each others rooms each night. So, we did the same — one bedroom one playroom.

    Then this funny thing happened as Daniel hit the tween years. They started bickering. Daniel didn’t want his little sister around his friends and Erin was desperate to be accepted by the older kids (who all loved her, which irritated Daniel).

    So, to separate rooms they went.

    It helped a lot with the bickering! They had some time away from each other so they could still have fun when we were all together.

    However, I will say that if my oldest was my Erin, we probably would have had some separation at a younger age. About a year and a half ago she suddenly became very aware of her body and would have needed some sense of privacy.

    So, in my opinion, I think it’s similar to all things with our kids. Every kid is going to be different and their relationships with their siblings will be different. My 2 year old is a girl and it took a good year and a half for the girls to bond, now they are inseparable. So…observe your kids and do what is right for your family!

    Good luck!
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  88. We moved from a 3bd 1 bath on the Westcoast to a 4 bd 4 bath in the Southwest. The kids had their own rooms on the Coast but chose to share here. They are a girl 7 and boy 4. We figure if there’s anytime they are going to share it’s now and with the extra rooms both my husband and I get to have our own ‘caves’. We have completely changed our lifestyle to exclude tv and include more family time and imaginative play. It has been miraculous! Them sharing a room has actually made life alot easier and lovelier because we all read together in the big bottom bunk before the top bunker scrambles up. And every now and then I’ll check in on them to discover two peas in a pod fast asleep in the same bed. This is how they will remember growing up and I am proud.

  89. My kids share a room. They’re 2 years apart, girl and boy, and they get on like most siblings. I get a lot of comments from people about how well they play together even though they have very different personalities, but those people don’t see the normal sibling squabbles that they go through. Children learn so much from having to negotiate/live with siblings, and sharing a room facilitates this. It’s only recent generations who have had the house sizes and small families for kids to have their own rooms anyway. Sharing a room has unintentionally made all the toys communal toys so they will both play with lego, craft and games in their own different ways, very often together.

    When puberty and high school come along they’ll each need their own space for privacy and study but until then there’s every reason to keep them sharing.

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