Most brothers and sisters benefit from sharing a room, but these helpful tips from our friends at Houzz will help keep the inevitable territorial disputes to a minimum.
Sharing a bedroom helps children to bond and to quickly learn to compromise. Siblings are bound to squabble, but if you put some thought into how you design their bedroom, you should reduce the tantrums. Here are 10 points to consider if you want to make family life in a compact home a little calmer.
Involve your kids in the design. If you include your children in the design of their room right from the start, you’re more likely to avoid complaints later.
Even young children can help pick out wall art and duvets, but if you want the room to look stylish and grow with them, steer them away from the section of the store or website where the sports and character bed linen is on display.
Let the children display their individual personalities. Give each child a section of the room to decorate. Each one could get a wall to cover with art, an area by the bed for a rug or a corner of the room to dress with scatter cushions. Try to make sure that everything one child selects complements the other’s choices by giving them an edited selection from which to pick.
Give each child a personal area. No matter how small the room is, try to ensure that each child has some private space. You can accomplish this with individual desks with compartments for special things, as seen in this room, or with separate bookshelves or toy boxes.
Set a few rules. There will be arguments, but to keep them to a minimum, establish ground rules. To help your kids learn to respect each other’s possessions, for example, teach them to ask before using anything that doesn’t belong to them.
To teach them that each has a right to privacy sometimes, ask them to always knock before entering if the door is closed. If you get the kids involved in creating the laws of the room, they may be more likely to adhere to them.
Allow even very young children to share. Parents who live in small homes often keep their youngest child in their bedroom far longer than they need to for fear of disrupting the older child’s routine.
In most cases, older children adapt quickly and are delighted to share with their little brother or sister. And if one wakes up crying in the night, the other is likely to sleep through the noise. Anyone doubting this should ask friends who’ve already doubled up their children; they’ll probably reassure you that this is normally the case.
Keep the younger child out of mischief. Allow the older child a place to keep special toys where the pesky younger sibling can’t reach them. A few high shelves or wall-hung storage buckets are all that’s required.
Create a great escape. Everyone needs time on their own every now and then. It doesn’t have to be a custom hideaway like this — it could be a playhouse or tepee or even a homemade fort created from bed sheets. It just needs to be somewhere your little ones can enjoy their own company from time to time and chill out.
Free up floor space. If your eldest child is older than 6 — the youngest recommended age for a top bunk — consider bunk beds. This will provide more floor space for playing, plus most kids are thrilled at the prospect of having bunk beds.
If you’re planning to move or extend the house in the near future to give them each a room, look for bunks that can later be separated into two single beds.
Have a place for everything. Children are messy creatures, and when you have two or more in the same room playing different games, you quickly end up with stuff everywhere. It’s much easier to condition children to be tidy if they know everything has its place, even those annoying little favors they bring home from birthday parties.
In this room, there are shelves for books and games, bins for larger toys and dress-up clothes, and baskets for all those itty-bitty toys, such as Legos.
Be creative with the space you have. To get the perfect configuration, it may well be worth employing a custom-furniture designer to make the most of every square inch.
~Anna Tobin, Houzz
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