Siblings sharing a room: when do they need their own space? | The Momma Diaries

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Siblings sharing a room: when do they need their own space?

Having children share a room from a young age can be a great way to save space and encourage them to get along, but is there a time limit before the arrangement goes from harmonious to hellish? There are several important reasons why separate sleeping arrangements are a good idea once kids reach a certain age, but experts and parents alike often struggle to pinpoint exactly when it becomes necessary to reorganise rooms.

The National Sleep Foundation points out that it's particularly important for children to get a healthy amount of sleep, as this 'directly impacts mental and physical development'. They recommend that children between the ages of five and twelve get around 10-11 hours sleep a night. Just getting one child off to sleep can be tricky, and siblings who share a room are more likely to keep each other awake by monkeying around, while teenagers with later bedtimes are liable to disrupt the sleep patterns of younger siblings.

There is no steadfast age at which sharing becomes inappropriate, and some kids can happily share a room throughout their teens. However, as children approach puberty privacy becomes increasingly important. This is particularly relevant for siblings of different genders, but all teens benefit from having their own space in which they can get dressed, complete homework, hang out with friends and spend time alone.

For most families, the obvious solution of moving to a bigger house is either impractical or impossible, but there are a few simple solutions to minimise the disruption and arguments between kids who are cohabiting. For example, cosy divans and bunk beds are a great way for families to make the most of smaller spaces, and portable room dividers are a quick fix to create a little privacy. Encourage playtime in other areas of the house and garden, and arrange a short amount of time every day when each person gets to stay in the room by themselves. Impose an allocated 'homework hour' in which children must leave older teens to complete school work in peace, and make sure kids keep their space tidy out of
respect for each other.

Teaching kids to share can be tricky, but at least you know that they'll appreciate the space when they do move out!

Disclosure: The Momma Diaries sometimes features guest posts when relative to the site.


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