Multiple children sharing a room, especially being of different ages and sex, can ideally be without any trouble, but let`s not count on that. In a worse case scenario it can turn out to be a nightmare, with the whole family feeling the consequences.
So what can happen? Let`s imagine a model situation. A lively toddler and a school-age child? One is tidy and orderly, and the other one does not care (well… he can’t care yet) and leaves everything everywhere.
So, how can you make everyone happy without loosing mind?
Tolerance in the Room
There is no need to discuss the cause of problems. Your children probably long for privacy more than just for physical living space. But that doesn’t mean they don’t like each other. It is often a hard road to compromise; and it is up to us to teach our children about tolerance.
Divided living spaces
It is always better if children of same sex or age (or perhaps a combination of both) occupy one room. Next, it is important to arrange the room in such a way, that each child has their own space that is furnished relatively the same, so that we avoid jealousy and envy. We can separate the two rooms (living spaces) by wall color of the children’s choosing.
Small rooms should not be very dark, as they could appear smaller. But a rich color doesn’t mean a dark color. Just to be sure, save some of the color…
It’s also important to have as little furniture as possible, but enough for clothes and for the storage of various items. We should remember that buying additional furniture is easy, but it’s not as easy to get rid of furniture we don’t want or need anymore.
Bunk beds in the room – yes or no?
If you’re thinking about getting bunk beds into the room, then do so only if you have absolutely no other choice. The most serious argument about bunk beds is that it is warmer on the upper bed and more difficult to breathe there. Also, we can’t use the upper bed as seating for guests for example.
If there isn’t much room for regular beds, there are other options too. Today, we can find high beds on top of cabinets and shelves, or perhaps with space underneath to play.
The furniture should be practical, easy to maintain and above all – safe! Only adults will appreciate expensive room furniture and design, but children don’t care about how much it costs, or what it’s made of. They only care about if they like it and feel comfortable in it.
Shared Room Privacy
The bigger the age gap is between the children and the older they get, the more we must respect their privacy. Also, we shouldn’t count on the older one watching the younger one in the room.
The younger one will surely get on the older ones nerves, and the older one can watch the small one one even if he isn’t in the same room. We should respect privacy from a certain age, adolescence at best, even of kids of different sex. I don’t think I need to explain why…
If we have one room to work with, we can divide it. There is a number of ways to do that and they depend on the layout of the room. A partition wall made of wood or plasterboard can only be used in a room with two windows. For each of the newly created spaces, we have to respect the minimal space of 2,5 meters, since only then the children will have 100% privacy. We, parents, will learn to knock before entering any of the child’s space whether they are adults of children.
If for some reason, we are unable to divide the room by construction, we can divide the room using a paravent or cabinets. Sound insulation will not be perfect but at least each child will have a space of their own, that his sibling should respect and not interfere with.
If we can afford to give our children their own rooms, we should furnish them as if they were their first apartments. The room should contain everything the child needs, but as always, we shouldn’t overcrowd the room with furniture. An extra bed though is not an unnecessary piece of furniture. It can be used to lie around in during the day (so he wont lay in his clean sheets), and most importantly it can be used for guests.
While picking out furniture and designs, we should give our child the right to choose as much as possible. Don’t forget it`s his/her room, not yours. Remember to secure the windows and outlets in the rooms of younger children.