Posted: Feb 19, 2013 9:00 AM
Are you feeling tight on space in your home? Consider re-thinking your bedroom situation and set up some shared bedroom space for your kids. Doubling up the bodies doubles your space for other fun uses — think craft room or playroom. Would it work for your family?

Did you share a bedroom with your siblings? It was more common for kids to double up when homes were smaller and families were larger. Sometimes bedrooms are shared out of necessity, but some families choose to have their kids together in one room — and wouldn't have it any other way.

Benefits of bunking together

Parents usually assume that their children will want their own space, but there are many good reasons why you might consider letting them share a room.

Learning to share^ So many sibling squabbles center around sharing toys, attention, games — or simply space. While everyone needs their alone time now and then, being part of a family means sharing 24/7. When you combine their living spaces into one, toys are more likely to be seen as community property. This works especially well for siblings that are close in age.

Close and comforting^Some kids have a difficult time settling in for the night, or wake frequently. There is an added sense of comfort and security that comes with having someone share your room. Older siblings will often comfort a crying youngster before Mom can even respond. Transitioning your children into sharing a room may put an end to those middle-of-the-night wanderings into mom and dad's bed. Sounds ideal, doesn't it?

Building the bond^Many adults who shared a bedroom with siblings feel that it strengthened the bond that they share. Time spent alone behind closed doors, whispering after the lights go down and sharing secrets is a special way to bond with a sibling of either sex. The sibling relationship is one that needs to develop in large part without mom's interference.

One mom weighs in

Before they fall asleep each night, they whisper and laugh. Plus, we don't have to deal with the 'I'm scared' issue because they have each other.

AllParenting Editor Laura Willard has first-hand knowledge of how wonderful sharing a bedroom can be for siblings. "I never thought this was okay before I had kids," she says. "I didn't share a room and I swore up and down that my kids wouldn't, either. I ate those words! They moved to big kid beds when my son was 3 and just before my daughter turned 2 — in the same room, at their request — and it has been the best thing ever for them. Before they fall asleep each night, they whisper and laugh. Plus, we don't have to deal with the 'I'm scared' issue because they have each other." It's been 2.5 years and she offered to separate them recently, but they refused. "They were horrified at the idea!" she adds.

Things to consider

Not all siblings will be able to share space with each other without causing a lot of grief. Kids who are too far apart in age will have a harder time, and light sleepers may have difficulty adjusting to someone else in the room. When opposite sex siblings share bedroom space, make provisions for changing clothes in private. Once puberty hits most tweens would prefer their own space, if they have a choice.

Sharing a bedroom with a brother or sister can be one of the best experiences from childhood. See if it might work for your family.

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