Whether your children are sharing a room out of necessity or because you think it will be a great experience for them, you want the space to work for them.
A little thought and preparation can make it all go more harmoniously. Here are some easy things you can do to make sharing a room work better not just for your children, but for the whole family.
Pick the right furniture to make most of space
The right furniture can make a big difference. If you’re short on space look for bunk beds to make the most of a smaller room.
Choose furniture that maximises storage space to keep on top of both your children’s toys and clothes. You can buy desks that store upright against the wall and can be pulled down when you need to use them.
There are also some clever furniture designs which have double uses, such as stools which have storage under the seats. The right space saving furniture can make such a difference to a shared room.
Let your children choose the decor
Let your children have a say in choosing their duvets covers, paint colours and any accessories for their bedrooms. They may choose similar things in which case these can be used all around the room.
Or they may make very different choices that reflect their different styles and personalities, in which case these can be used for the parts of the room that are theirs.
If they can have a say in the look of their area of the room, it will help them feel more like it’s their own space. They will feel that they have a little corner of the house to call their own.
Create separate spaces in the room for each child
When children are sharing a room, use curtains or cleverly placed furniture to create zones or walls and give each child a designated space.
You can organise their storage of belongings, such as toys and clothes, to make sure each child has their own drawers or shelves. They can personalise these areas by decorating them or choosing where things can go.
That way they can feel they have their own space within the room.
Set the ground rules
Set some very clear rules about privacy and special places for each child, which are theirs and theirs alone.
For example, you might have a rule where nobody is allowed to jump on another child’s bed. It’s their own private space.
Or each child might also have a special drawer, shelf or box to keep treasured items, which no one else is allowed to touch.
A few boundaries can make a child feel that they have that bit of privacy, even within a shared space.
Create quiet areas in the rest of the house
It’s often lovely sharing a room but everyone needs a little time to themselves now and again.
Create little spaces in the rest of your home where any of your children can curl up or set themselves up with toys, homework or with a book.
If space is hard to come by then it doesn’t need to be a big area. Escape can be found in a pop up tent, an alcove, an attic or just a little cosy corner of the lounge.
Honour your child’s sleep schedule
Different children have different needs so remember to honour them. If both children sleep for the same amount of time at night, then it helps to synchronise their bedtimes and put them to sleep together.
However if one sleeps longer hours than the other then remember that just because they are sharing a room, it doesn’t mean they have to share the same bedtime routine.
You can put your youngest child to bed first and create some time and space for your older child to relax and unwind out of the bedroom. Teach them to creep into the bedroom when they are ready to sleep without disturbing your younger child.
If either child wakes up much earlier than the other, make it a rule that they quietly get up and go downstairs so as not to disturb their sibling.
Get the lighting right for each child
One child might need complete darkness to be able to fall asleep while the other needs a night light on. It’s hard to get the conditions right for each child when they are sharing a room.
Canopies over the bed are a good way round this problem. They can create more darkness for the child that finds it hard to sleep with a light on.
When siblings are sharing a room it’s worth making these little tweaks to help them feel they have their own say and space within the home.
Brothers and sisters who share a room benefit from all sorts of life skills like cooperation and negotiation. They can both feel safer at night knowing that the other is there next to them. And all those whispered chats in the darkness and giggles at bedtime or in the morning can create bonds that will last a lifetime.