Sharing a bedroom with a sibling is a contradiction in itself – it can be the bane of any childhood but it can also be a delight.
Fights over wardrobe space and midnight secret sessions aside, there are very real benefits and drawbacks to any room sharing arrangement.
For parents, however, the fact of the matter may be that space is at a premium and rooms must be shared. Like it or loathe it, sharing a bedroom is sometimes the only option.
Benefits of Siblings Sharing a Bedroom
Many childcare and parenting experts extol the benefits of sharing a bedroom, often having done so themselves when they were younger. Positive results of siblings sharing a bedroom include:
- Space in the house is maximised.
- Furniture in the house is maximised.
- Children learn to compromise.
- Children learn to share.
- Children bond, given their close proximity.
- Children are given the tools they will need when sharing a room later at university, or living with roommates in private accommodation.
Drawbacks of Siblings Sharing a Bedroom
Siblings who share a bedroom will never be without their share of squabbles. The drawbacks of siblings sharing a bedroom include:
- Personality clashes.
- Arguments over space and property.
- Disagreements over decorating.
- Bickering stemming from sharing a small space.
- Feeling that there are no private spaces or possessions in the house.
Mixed Sex Siblings Sharing a Bedroom
In most houses, siblings who share a bedroom are of the same sex. For some families, however, because of age or temperament, the question of children of the opposite sex sharing a bedroom arises.
When they are young, it is very easy to have brothers and sisters share a nursery. However, as they grow, society often frowns upon brothers and sisters sharing a room.
Certainly by puberty it is untraditional to expect brothers and sisters to share a room given each child’s need for privacy.
Bunk beds, mid and high-sleepers, cabin beds and singles. Browse our pick of the best kid’s beds.
Decorating a Shared Bedroom
The issue of decorating a bedroom shared by two (or more) siblings is fraught with tension. Most parents find it easiest to either:
- Decorate in neutral shades across the room.
- Decorate with a theme the siblings agree on.
- Let each sibling decorate “their space” in whatever manner they desire.
No matter what decorating theme your children choose, it is wise to strive for:
- A bed or bunk bed for each child.
- A wardrobe or dresser for each child.
- A bedside locker and lamp for each child.
- A bookcase, or specific shelving, for each child’s use.
Even with a limited amount of space, children can put their stamp on a room with small accessories. If you decide on a neutral room, or your children are simply unable to decide upon a shared theme, consider allowing each child to pick out their own:
- Pictures or posters for the wall.
- Duvet or bedspread.
- Decorative pillows
- Alarm clock.
Even siblings who are normally the best of friends can have their mad moments when they are sharing a bedroom. To minimize disruptions, consider instituting “room rules” such as:
- Knock before entering if a door is closed.
- Respect each other’s personal space.
- Respect each other’s personal belongings.
- Ask before borrowing clothes/toys/books.
Whether it is usually a dream come true or a nightmare, any siblings sharing a room will come to experience both. If your children will be asked to share a room, remember to allot each child their own personal space and possessions and be ready for fireworks – both beautiful and brutal!