Families large and small all know the struggle of trying to create, design and develop ideas for sharing a bedroom. Whether the children in your family are bunking up out of necessity or simply because they enjoy one another’s company (enjoy it while you can!), we have a few tips, tricks, and ideas for sharing a bedroom while also making the most of your available space. Designing a shared space that is multi-functional, suitable to more than one personality or style, and long-lasting is a must.
Who Sleeps with Whom? And in What Room?
Americans are generally a culture of individuals who value personal space more than most. Being raised in our Western civilization means that the majority of people will, at some point in time, maintain their own bedroom and certainly their own bed space.
The concept of co-sleeping is one of major controversy here in the United States, though the norm in the majority of global cultures. With the American Academy of Pediatrics being at the forefront of promoting separate sleep spaces for infants and parents, it is no wonder U.S. born children are raised accustomed to sleeping solo. That said, many breastfeeding mothers quickly realize that sleep training, infant sleep solutions, and other separate sleep alternatives are unrealistic or unfavorable to them and their new baby.
Read More: Beyond 6 Months – Benefits of Nursing to One Year
However, the question as babies grow up and other siblings become part of the equation is who sleeps with whom and in what room? If co-sleeping or even sleeping in a bassinet or crib in the parents’ room, when does baby move to his or her own room? Once there are siblings born do they share a room or does everyone get their own? While this is mainly a matter of preference and available space, there are certain long term benefits of shared bedrooms that should be considered.
Every parent’s dream is that their children will grow up to be lifelong best friends. While this may not be a realistic expectation, the foundation laid and the roots sowed at an early age will likely play a large part in this outcome. Children who are taught to sleep independently and covet their personal space early on will likely continue this expectation throughout their lifetime. Frequently, kids who are each given their own rooms are less accustomed to sharing their things, covet their time alone, and learn to more adequately self-soothe than others.
On the flip side, children who either choose to share a room or do so out of necessity don’t always have the luxury of alone time or much personal space, but learn to be more empathic toward others and develop a stronger bond. These children frequently take on parental roles when it comes to younger siblings (or at least comforting roles to one another) and are better equipped to share dorm rooms, office space, or marital bedrooms in the future.
5 benefits of siblings sharing a bedroom include:
- Children establish deeper connections and develop stronger bonds with one another. Those late night chats about silly things when they are little may just turn into big decisions and serious talks when they become teens. Having the comfort and security of a sibling when they are young may protect against monsters and the scary darkness, but when they’re older it may improve self-esteem and protect against bullies or peer-pressure, creating a safe and secure space to talk through their problems with one another.
- Children learn to rely on one another. When children share a bedroom there is less time spent in mom and dad’s room as siblings frequently seek out each other as an additional source of comfort. Part and parcel to co-sleeping, shared bedrooms give little ones a sense of security, safety and reassurance because they aren’t alone. Kids are often more able to fall asleep when someone else is in the room simply to take away the fear of the dark or the monsters under the bed. An added bonus is that mom and dad are more likely to get some additional alone time and even sleep that all parents know can be beneficial to their own well-being.
- Role Modeling is demonstrated daily. Being the older (or even younger sibling) in a shared bedroom gives one the opportunity to take the high road (or sometimes not). Children will have a large influence over one another, and truthfully they will learn from each other. Teaching children that the other is always watching may lead to improved behaviors with a desire to impress both the parents and one another.
- Children learn respect for people’s personal space, property, and time. Sharing a bedroom does not mean that two people become one; each is still an individual who needs personal time and space on occasion. Further, not all belongings are to be shared. While children who share a bedroom may generally become more accustomed to and better at sharing with their siblings, there is sure to be certain items that won’t fall into that category. When kids learn to respect one another’s time, space, and property at a young age this leads to them becoming more patient, understanding, empathetic adults in the future.
- Sharing a bedroom teaches problem solving and negotiation skills. Yes, children who share a bedroom are bound to fight. Sibling squabbles are unavoidable and when you can’t simply send each bickering child to their own room because they share it sometimes seems impossible. However, children who share a room will learn to negotiate and problem solve quicker and at a higher level than those who can simply deflect or avoid certain problems and situations. Further, as a parent, rather than constantly inserting yourself in these disagreements let your children work it out themselves. Sharing a bedroom builds character; there will be arguments and not everything will always go your way which means this is a great time for children to learn how to compromise.
Read More: Nurturing a Bond between Siblings
Designing an adequate bedroom space is an essential component of having children share a room. Whether the children sharing the space are the same or different genders, or similar (or not) ages, the key to a peaceful environment is one that everyone can enjoy. From a practical standpoint, it should also be one that is feasible both financially and long-term for the entire family’s sake.
Furnishing and decorating the room with long-lasting, high-quality essentials is a must. Considering the fact multiple children will be utilizing the space, efficiency is also necessary. Finally, each child should have some portion or space in the room to call their own such as a special shelf, nightstand, or other space for possessions they simply don’t want to share (or in the case of sharing with a younger sibling have destroyed!).
Consider your space. When it comes to furnishing a bedroom for children you want as much available floor space as possible. From wrestling on the rug to building elaborate block fortresses, children like to spread out and play. While matching beds are always a great option for large rooms, giving excellent support and also giving each child his or her own space, frequently bunkbeds are the best option in smaller rooms.
Make sure you choose a durable, quality bunkbed that will hold up to the wear and tear of kids both big and small. When the kids are younger mom or dad may want to be able to snuggle up for a bedtime story, and once the kids are older they will need all the sleep space available to spread out.
Another suggestion is to purchase a high quality dresser or chest with plenty of drawers. Tall chests are dangerous with small children in the house, and smaller dressers usually don’t have adequate space for sharing. Dressers with at least 10 drawers provide enough space to share and are less able to be pulled over by a curious, climbing tot.
Finally, rather than furnishing the room with the more traditional nightstands consider a 4 cube organizer and bins next to the bed. With enough top surface space for a lamp or small belongings, the cubes can then be used to store your child’s toys, books, or even socks and underwear.
Choose solid or neutral bedding, quilts, and pillow shams. Forget the Disney characters, ninja turtles, or unicorns and stick with solid, neutral, or more versatile bedding options. When it comes to a comforter or quilt and shams, select a high-quality material and style that will last for years (and through all seasons) as this is the most economical and space-saving option for all families. Additionally, gender neutral bedding designed for adults is usually of better quality, higher thread count, and simply more comfortable than children’s bedding choices.
For older children or kids sleeping in bunkbeds, Beddy’s is a creative, innovative sleep solution everyone will love. Forget the constant nagging that ensues when trying to convince your children to make the bed and allow them to do so with ease. Beddy’s sleep sets provide zipper access on both sides of the bedding, along with expanding comfort panels, to make sleep and making the bed simple and easy. Thanks to the zippers on both sides and the expanding interior panels, your kids will feel like they’re sleeping with a regular sheet and comforter without the hassle of having those sheets all balled up at the bottom of the bed by morning. Finally, all moms will love that the top zips completely off to make washing in a standard machine easy.
Checked Out – Minky
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For a more traditional look and feel, or for younger children just heading off to their own rooms, soft and cozy matching bed sets are a must. While comforters may seem cute and trendy, quilts are a better choice for kids (trust this veteran mama of 4). Large, bulky comforters frequently get too hot for kids, do not hold up to wear and tear, and are usually too big to fit into a washing machine. Here to meet all your bedding needs, from twins to kings, kids rooms to guest rooms, is the new Grayson Jersey-Knit Quilt and Sham from Garnett Hill. This t-shirt soft, jersey knit set is cozy and inviting, making for a serene and peaceful night’s sleep. With a trendy yet elegant style, this set provides all-season comfort with a classic and timeless appeal.
Paired with the cool and casual Windowpane Jersey-Knit Bedding, this set is gender neutral and ideal for all ages. Featuring a premium jersey knit, this super soft and supple bedding will keep comfortable even the most sensitive little one’s skin, keep kids cool all night long, and hold up wash after wash making them the perfect choice for your young child’s bedding.
Grayson Jersey Knit Quilt & Sham in Heather Gray | Windowpane Jersey-Knit Bedding
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Allow your child to add their ‘personal touches’. Whether it is a throw pillow, blanket, poster, rug or knick-knack, let each child select these items based on their personal taste and style to make the space their own. These items are usually less expensive in the long run and can be easy swapped out based on the style or the season.
Start from the floor up. Rugs are a fabulous touch for warming up or personalizing a room. Many homes these days have wood or tile floors, even in the bedrooms, making getting up in the morning a cold and uninviting experience. When it comes to kids, both large and small, hanging out on the floor – coloring, reading, building with blocks or wrestling around – is a frequent, even daily occurrence. The perfect rug adds to both the decor and functionality of a room. In children’s rooms, quality rugs needs to stand up to spills and be cushy enough for comfort. They can also add that desired pop of color to pull the room together or even keep it looking trendy enough for mom to be proud.
Safavieh’s children’s collection features rugs that are stylish, fun and functional. With a large selection of patterns and colors there is something to please kids and parents alike. From cute and comfy rugs perfect for the nursery to more sophisticated styles ideal for a shared bedroom, Safavieh’s rugs provide excellent quality, durability and timeless style to any room’s decor. Their hand tufted, contemporary styles are perfect for holding up to the constant traffic of a child’s room while also providing a modern day look and feel that will last through the years. We love the pile and thickness, along with the beautiful, rich colors, of both the Chatham Collection Red and Ivory Chevron Striped rug and the Dip Dye Collection Ivory and Gold Chevron Striped rug.
Space saving seating solutions are a plus in the decor department. Every bedroom needs somewhere to sit. Whether for playtime, story time, or simply putting on one’s shoes, adding a set of chairs to your child’s room is a bonus if you have the space. Providing a seating solution that is ‘just my size’ gives kids the true benefit of a place that is exclusively theirs.
An ideal use for this space, with long term academic benefits, is to create a reading nook or spot for quiet time with books. Simply placing a basket of books near your child’s chair will encourage him or her to take time when needed to simply retreat and quietly entertain oneself.
Read More: Early Literacy and the Importance of Reading to Young Children
If a select few books (which can be regularly rotated out) are placed into a basket near the child’s chair, the child can see and choose what he or she wants to look at rather than simply pulling every book off of the shelves of a more traditional bookcase. We love the Tiny Tycoon Club Chair with padded armrests and a comfy base perfect for little bodies snuggling up with a good book.
Dip Dye Collection – Ivory/Gold | Chatham Collection – Red/Ivory | Tiny Tycoon Club Chair
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Ideas for Sharing a Bedroom
Children grow up fast, spread their wings, and leave the nest sooner than we ever imagine. Let them be little as long as you can. Let them share late night giggles, shadow puppets in the dark, and pillow forts of their own creation. Sharing a bedroom with one’s siblings is a powerful bonding experience that teaches lessons in humility, compassion, and love. Use these ideas for designing a shared bedroom space to create a comfy, cozy environment of love, laughter, and family togetherness that your children will always remember.
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