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Wednesday, January 13

Keeping the Peace When Kids Share a Room

My youngest daughters share a room.  They are 14 and 8.  While there are many fights, there are also many moments of sisterly love.

Sharing a room can be a wonderful thing for siblings. It is an opportunity to bond, make long-lasting memories together, and it is a good way to learn about working together as a team. Sometimes, of course, it is less of a choice and more of a necessity.  

Whatever the reason for sharing a room, it can be a great experience. It can also be crazy at times. Here are some ideas for keeping the peace when kids share a room, so the experience can be more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Maintain Consistent Routines

Sharing a room can be disruptive without proper planning. When there is more than one child and no one has a consistent daily bedtime, it can lead to confusion and irritation for everyone. For example, if the children get distracted easily and need to be without the others when falling asleep, conflict can arise when bedtimes occasionally overlap.

Keeping a consistent schedule with bedtimes, having a specific bedtime routine, and making a point of everyone knowing how they fit into that schedule is important. These are the things that will help keep everyone from feeling stress and making every night run much more smoothly.

Let Children Enjoy Time Alone in the Room

Although it can be fun to share a room, sometimes children may want time alone. For children with their own room, it is easy to sneak away and have that much-needed time to themselves. When sharing a room, it can be difficult. 

Give each of your children an opportunity to spend time alone in their room. Give them a small amount of time each day or week when they know that the room is for them and no one else. This will give them that necessary time to recharge and enjoy the activities of their choosing, instead of feeling like there is no place to retreat.

Give Each Child Their Own Storage Space

Another downside of sharing a bedroom is that children can start to feel that they have nothing that belongs only to them. When you don’t have your own bedroom to stash your special toys and other items of importance, it feels like nothing really belongs to you. 

If your children are sharing a room, be sure to give each child their very own space to put their special toys and items. It is important to have some kind of area, and if the room is small then even a personal bin or shelf will do. Make this area off-limits to siblings so that a child can feel their belongings are safe from curious hands that may break or remove objects without permission.

Deal with Problems Immediately

When a room is being shared, it can be a nightmare when siblings are not getting along. When conflicts arise, be sure to talk about it with everyone involved. Resolving issues that arise is always important in a family, but especially important when the children are living in close quarters.

Communicate the Rules to Everyone

Have a set of ground rules, and enforce them. Everyone needs to know what is acceptable when sharing a room, and what is not. By making rules ahead of time - before trouble arises - you will have a greater chance of not finding trouble in the first place. 

Whether it's out of necessity or by choice, sharing a room does not have to be a negative experience. Rather it can be an opportunity for camaraderie and personal growth. My girls do not always like sharing a room, but because our house is so small, it is unavoidable. Try these ideas and watch how wonderful sharing a room can be for your children.

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