Earlier this summer our family made a big move: from Connecticut to Maine. After accepting a job (my dream job!) at a newspaper, I decided that we’d have to temporarily downsize to make the move work, which means my young son and daughter are sharing a bedroom for the first time since they were toddlers. While siblings sharing a room is not ideal, we are figuring it out and have a few tips about how to make co-habitation work.
Personal Space 101
My kids share bunk beds. My son has the top bunk, where he has his trusty star comforter and his favorite stuffies, which include a snake and a turkey. My daughter has the bottom bunk, which is covered in her pink patchwork quilt, a ton of pillows and a few dolls. These spaces are sacred – and each one can keep what they want on their beds (within reason!).
We also have two dressers, two bookcases and two toy boxes – because siblings sharing a room still each need their own space within the shared space.
Stick to Routines
We’re lucky that the kids have always had the same bedtime. That’s eased the transition into a shared room, since it’s easy to keep up our routines. When I say it’s time for bed, they both go…and usually with minimal fuss. Each child loves to read to themselves before drifting off, so I just remind them that it’s not talk or playtime. That helps too.
One important thing to remember is to share boundaries for everything from bedtime rules to modesty. For my kids, that means that only one can change in the bedroom at a time (the other can change in the bathroom or my bedroom). Also, they both know that each other’s personal space is sacred so they don’t go through it.
What if one night one of the kids just wants to sleep alone? I have a backup plan in place – and a backup to the backup. Between air mattresses, sleeping bags and cozy spots around the house, there are a few options for the kids if they need a night away from their shared room. But shh! I haven’t told them that yet.
Make it Fun
A close friend gave my kids lava lamps for their new room and that fun touch has taken the space to a whole new level of fun. Whether it’s something special like a reading nook corner or something whimsical like artwork that touches on each child’s interests, making the room a fun space helps make the transition to a shared space easier on everyone. I mean who doesn’t want to live in a fun room?