One of my first thoughts, when I found out that I was having a second girl, was “Oh great, they can share a room for forever!” Now, we live in a two bedroom condo so there would have been a shared room scenario, to begin with anyway, but having two girls definitely seemed like a logistic “win” on the bedroom front.
For our family, it works very well to have our eight-and three-year-old share a bedroom (in fact, they’ve been “roommates,” so to speak, since our youngest was nine months). If you are thinking that a shared room may work for your family, here are some of the pros and cons we’ve encountered during the past two and a half years.
PROS OF SIBLINGS SHARING A ROOM
- Sharing a room is just that – sharing. Learning to be gracious and OK with other people touching and playing with your things is a skill that takes practice. Each girl has certain loveys and a couple special things that they do not HAVE to share with each other, but sharing is generally expected and done pretty graciously (most of the time).
- By sharing a room, I have found that it is a place that facilitates more play between the two. As they get older, I find them playing together more and more in their room.
- We are a close family, and we hope that they remain close and try to actively support their relationship. Sharing a room creates a team of sorts – they are in it together (literally and figuratively).
- Our girls don’t like to be alone – they are social creatures. When I asked Fiona (age 8) what was a “pro” to sharing her room with her younger sister Hannah she said, “She keeps me company – I’m less lonely, especially at night” to which I thought, “Yes! It’s working!”
CONS OF SIBLINGS SHARING A ROOM
- One of the things we’ve bumped into over the past three years of the girls sharing their room is that since there is a five year age difference, there are sometimes vastly different bedtimes. As they’ve gotten older, the time gap has closed a bit and my hope is that one day they go to bed at the same time. We’ve simply had to adjust to bedtime routines to accommodate – for example, we used to read to Fiona while she was in her bed, which we now do elsewhere.
- Different bedtimes also have meant different wake-up times. Hannah is an early riser – often around 5:30 a.m. (which is not good for anyone) so we had to work with her to not go and shake her sister’s bed and wake her up too. This has gotten easier as she’s gotten older but when I asked Fiona for a “con” to sharing the room, this was her #1 answer.
- While I did say that they mostly share graciously, they fight about sharing, and taking each other’s stuff without asking…the stuff all siblings fight about. I’m quite sure that they would do this anyway, but I have noticed that most of their fighting also happens in their room.
- As they get older, they get bigger and so does their stuff (beds, clothes, etc.) but the room does not. We’ve had to be very conscientious about how we set their room up to accommodate growing kids. Bunk beds are in effect.
- Since they are such different ages, their needs for privacy are different. We do foresee a time that Fiona will crave and need more privacy then a shared room allows. What 15-year-old wants her 10-year-old sister there all the time?
We are actually in the process of moving into a three bedroom condo which will allow our family a bit more room. We have decided (all of us, including the girls) that the two of them sharing a room is still the way we want to go so clearly the pros for our family still outweigh the cons. I not-so-secretly hope they always do.
Editor's Note: Read more posts from Emily including her humorous account of the nuttiness that can happen as you try and get your kids up and out the door on weekday mornings. This post was originally published in 2016.
Resources Related to Siblings
- From The Family Room blog: Preparing Your First Child for a New Sibling
- Read more posts about siblings including Sibling Rivalry: How to Teach Kids to Be Kind
- E-family news: Conflict Resolution for Children: How to Apologize & Forgive