When I imagined having kids, I always wanted them to share a room. To be together for as long as they could. Sure, I imagined there may be a time when they would ask for or need separate rooms but I want that time to be pushed as far away as I can.
You see, I had very little time with my sibling. Being 10 years younger to me, we were together in the same home for just a little over measly 8 years of a total.
With a 2.5 bedroom apartment in Kuwait, it didn’t occur to my parents till much later to give me the 1/2 room. Only when I got engaged to be married and my brother went to high school, preparing for college applications, did we part rooms.
Of all those years, my favorite ones were of sharing the same room together.
Laughing, fighting, and just BEING together as we did our own things. He, his school homework and me reading a book or texting. I would tell him to go away when my friends came and he would yell for quiet when playing a game on the computer. Being in the same room together, gave me an insight into his feelings which otherwise would never come to light!
It was a wonderful connection. This room that we shared for that brief moment in time was a big part of our childhood that we shared.
My daughter slept in her own room till she was 1.5 and her brother entered kindergarten. He had always co-slept with me and in spite of trying to give him his own room, his nightly fears would have him make Grand Central out of the house in the middle of the night.
Halfway through kindergarten, we put them both in a room together. And they both have been inseparable since. It helped his fears of being alone in the night and my daughter also began sleeping better (read:longer) in the mornings. It certainly helps with the sibling wars.
Here are five things that help define spaces for siblings sharing a room:
1. Each One Has their Own Side
A bed on each side of the room, with side tables and a longer table (once train table now study table) in the middle helped them both have their own play space.
Often my daughter even sleeps on the end of the bed so she can see her brother’s face. It’s very cute to hear them whispering and laughing during the weekends when they beg to stay up late.
2. Their Art Over Their Beds
They certainly get a kick out of taping their art to the walls. It gives them a sense of space and authority to have their artwork or keepsakes on their side of the bed.
3. Dividing Their Clothes Categorically
Since they are small they share a dresser and the cupboard. But on the whole, their seasonal clothes all fit into the dresser. The top four are his and the bottom two hers. And they are pretty independent in dressing themselves. Mostly as we prep the night before, they are very aware of what is kept where. Sometimes they even help each other in finding things before school or parties.
4. Their Toys Under Their Beds
Toys are sorted into three boxes each and pushed them under their beds. So when it’s play time, they both know where their things are. So, when it’s clean-up time, it helps them sort things faster and with lesser of “but it’s her/his stuff“.
5. Decorating Their Walls With Their Favorite Themes
I have made sure to put their favorite themes on the remaining two walls in an equal manner so that each has their favorite princesses and superheroes to look at.
Other than keeping them connected, this also helps them get over the boys can only have this and girls can only have that feeling early. Both my kids take pride in having all kinds of characters adorning their walls.
Sharing a room, as I learned early and in college, teaches one a lot about making compromises, respecting others’ stuff and giving another space – a lot of life lessons that are essential to any relationship.