Peas in a Pod: Should Kids Share a Room? (page 2)

Peas in a Pod: Should Kids Share a Room?

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Updated on Jul 27, 2012

Advice: If Your Kids Share a Room

If you decide to put two kids in some room, you’ll encounter several difficulties that you’ll have to deal with. Here are some pieces of advice from Schafer on how to ease the transition:

  • Establish boundaries. Give each child a bit of “marked territory” in the room. That may mean two dressers, shelves, or bulletin boards, one for each kid. Alternatively, it may mean actually dividing the room with a bookcase or curtain, with one bed on each side.
  • Hands-off approach. If one child disturbs a sleeping sibling, refrain from going in to try to quiet them, or from taking them out of the room. According to Schafer, doing so would teach children the lesson “If I fuss, I get to dawdle and stay up later!” Instead, allow the now-awake child to deal with the sibling who woke her up. After all, dealing with an irate brother or sister is the natural consequence of making too much noise in a shared room. Although it may take several days or weeks, this should eventually teach one child to move quietly in the room when another is asleep.
  • Stay neutral. Don't take sides in sibling disagreements. “The more parents stay out of sibling fights (day and night) the better siblings learn that they are the care takers of their own relationship, and that it is more advantageous and enjoyable to get along and cooperate than it is to fight,” explains Schafer.

Advice: If Your Kids Don't Share a Room

If you’ve chosen to put your children in separate rooms, how can you give them the opportunities for closeness that siblings in the same room seem to have? Try creating these opportunities as much as possible:

  • Allow your kids to occasionally sleep over in each other’s rooms.
  • Organize weekend nights that your children can "camp out" in the basement together: No parents allowed!
  • Take your little ones on camping trips where they share the same tent.
  • Give your children the chance to be away together without mom and dad, such as at a relative’s house or in summer camp.

Sibling scuffles are a pain, but they're an inevitable part of growing up in a big family. If you're considering bunking your kids together, weigh the pros and cons outlined above to find out if a shared room will mean creating best friends that are as thick as thieves—or the outbreak of WWIII.

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