Family Life · Homemaking

The Benefits of Sharing Rooms with Siblings

I remember very clearly the day we brought our fifth born child home from the hospital.  Although our babies room with my husband and I for at least one year (and usually 2-3 years), I was distraught that we did not have a nursery set up for my son.  We simply did not have room.  At the time, I was sure that he was being deprived of a space that all children deserved.

The Lord has surely changed my heart on this matter during the past 3+ years!  It is amazing how He works, isn’t it?  I was the only girl in my family growing up, and I had a bedroom to myself.  If I was angry, I was able to sulk in peace.  I was able to completely distance myself from the rest of my family for hours at a time if I wanted.  Then when I was married, everything changed.  I was expected to share a room, a closet, basically everything with someone else.  What in the world?  It was a rather difficult adjustment.

I would love to share a few reasons why I believe that room sharing isn’t just preferred, but is needful among siblings.  We currently have a boys room and a girls room for our children.  We also have a playroom, an office, a separate dining room, and a finished basement.  We could technically have more bedrooms, but do not.

caabShannon-Four-BedsImage Credit

What a fun bunk room!  I would love a set up like this for my four daughters one day.

Here is our #1 reason:  Sharing rooms is a tool to keep our children from developing selfish behavior.

In our independent society, most people look out for themselves above all else.  Our hope is that by sharing space in our household, our children will be more empathetic towards others.  They will be reminded daily that the world does not revolve around themselves.  They will learn that we were created to fellowship and help others continuously.  They will hopefully grow very close bonds with their siblings that will reach into adulthood.  When married, they will be able to quickly make the adjustment to sharing a space with their significant other, and think of their spouses needs above their own.

Of course sharing a room isn’t the cure all to sibling relationships.  But I do see sisterly and brotherly bonds growing.  I would encourage you to consider bunking your children together, even if you have more space in your home.  These extra spaces can become lovely common areas enjoyed by all.  My prayer is that room sharing will help my little ones better develop a servant’s heart right from the start.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 2:3-5

Be blessed!

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26 thoughts on “The Benefits of Sharing Rooms with Siblings

  1. In our house, it’s all kids piled into the same room! And we’re expecting #4 in our 2 bedroom house very soon. Granted they’re all under 10 and that will need to change soon, but it has made our house with the finished basement much more livable because we have more shared spaces!

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  2. When I was a kid, I shared a room with my two sisters and my two brothers shared a room. The five of us are best friends now as adults. It probably helped that we were homeschooled too, for the most part.

    I have four children so far (hopefully more to come) and right now, my two boys share a room, they are best friends, usually. My girls have their own rooms for now because my youngest is only 5 months old, and whenever I have another baby, the girls will be sharing a bedroom too.

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  3. I love this post!! we have 4 children with one on the way and we have a girls and a boys room. my children are really looking forward to finding out if the new baby is a boy or a girl because they really want to share their room with the new little one. I was raised as an only child and had the same difficult time adjusting to marriage “sharing”.

    We get so many questions from people about when we are going to make other rooms in the house bedrooms for our “many” children. People seem horrified that children (seriously my oldest is 5) would have to share their space or not have space of their own.

    Thank you for this post. I was encouraged!!!

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  4. We are a family of ten in a two bedroom house. I would love to have another room but so far it is working out well, older four in one room and the little ones both boys and girls are still with us. It is great to overhear the oldest reading aloud to the younger ones at night.

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  5. We just welcomed out 7th baby last fall…our first daughter. Our house is a very small 100+ year old farmhouse with one downstairs bedroom (ours and the baby’s) and a sleeping loft upstairs (currently for all the boys). During one family trip to my parent’s house, I pointed out the two bedrooms as belonging to myself and my one sister, and one of my boys gasped, “What did you DO that was so bad that you had to have a room all to yourself?!” I love that they consider it a punishment to have to sleep alone in the dark. Much better to have that happy upstairs-loft fraternity. Thanks for such a great article!

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  6. I never thought of it this way…. I love this! I was an only child but my husband and I have 5 children and they share. I too felt guilty but now I see the positive in the arrangements.

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    1. i highly doubt it’s separate rooms, separate beds, most definitely. but i know many large families who have adopted. separate rooms are impossible for them.

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    2. In Colorado you only have to provide a certain amount of square feet per child, not separate rooms (for adoption). I believe that at a certain age they want girls and boys separated though. Maybe ask specifics if it presents a problem for you.

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  7. I was an only child and struggled adjusting to college with a roommate and, in the early days, sharing a space with my husband. We now have 4 children. Our two oldest are boys and they share a room. It has been great for them. My third child is a girl and she has always had a room of her own because she is the only girl. She hates it. She wants a sister so bad to share that room and have the same fellowship that her two older brothers have. But child number four is a toddler boy. He is still in the nursery alone. What would you do? There is 6 years difference in their ages.

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    1. My sons only recently began sharing a room when my youngest boy turned 3. My oldest son is 10, and he enjoys sharing with his brother. I think your arrangement sounds great! Once your youngest boy matures a bit possibly he can move in with your older two. 🙂

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    2. I am 4 years junior to my sister and 2 years senior to my brother(I have 4 brothers and 2 sisters)and shared a double bed with my sister until I was 4 or 5 and started to note the differences. After that I shared the bed with my younger brother. As the older boys left home we spread out a little more.

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  8. My husband and I were discussing this very thing the other day and came to the same conclusion!!! We live in a 750 sq ft trailer with three bedrooms and are expecting #3 on Thanksgiving. I just thank Heaven it is a third boy so that the logistics are a little better. We are going to have to at least build on a bigger bedroom for the boys because there is already a bunk bed in there and another bed won’t fit, but they will always share a room!!!! We have a couple of years to get it worked out though since baby will room in with us for a couple of years!

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  9. Our children room together as well (after a few years in our room first) – a boy and a girl. So far they love it and I cannot imagine separating them (altho I know there will come an age where they will not care to be together in the same room eventually). Great idea. Just as an aside: There is no “He” floating up in the sky. Your heart changed because you allowed it to be so.

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  10. I grew up sharing my room with my brother. At the building where I lived, all the apartments where two bedrooms, what means one for parents and one for children.
    Most of my friends ,that were girls, had brothers and they always share the same room.
    Thinking about your post, I guess we learned a lot!
    Never had a pink bedroom and learned that could not be all about my taste.
    Sure this help me now that I am marriage.

    Cintia
    Blogger, A Saving Love…that will change a Child’s Life!
    Cintia@ASavingLove.com | http://www.asavinglove.com

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  11. A couple thoughts for you…I am the eldest of 12 all grown up. There are still 3 living at home. This didn’t seem to work in our family. We were still selfish sinners, and some of us have good relationships and some of us have moderate relationships. Im just not sure that room sharing or not is what makes the difference. For me especially as the eldest w/ lots of responsibilities , It was such a relief when I got my own room. (I thought of it as my own personal blessing from God). We bought a house that had a room that had built in cupboards/dresser/desk/shelves etc. And only room for a single bed. so it was all mine, and it was a refuge. What about kids who are introverted and NEED time alone to recharge? Not everyone has the same personality, or needs, and forcing them into a one size fits all standard of living can actually do a great disservice to some of your children….please consider as your children grow, and develop personalities that some things may need to change for some of them in order for them to develop healthy and whole.

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  12. My dad was one of 16 in a 3 bedroom, 1200 sq ft house – 10 boys in one room, 6 girls in the other – they are all still close and they range in age from 65 to 84. My kids share also ;[)

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  13. We have our three boys in one big bedroom with three loft beds. They are 16, 13, and 5. They all love it. I thought with the oldest going off to college soon, it was the only chance they would have. Since re-purposing the schoolroom into a bedroom, we re-purposed the bedrooms into a library and a craft room. I just made a lot of sense.

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  14. It’s cool reading about people’s experiences with this. And of course the original post was very good too! 😉

    I am almost 21 yrs old, 2nd oldest of 10 (almost 11). I have always shared a room… first it was my sister and I and then more and more girls got added in as time went on. 🙂 We now have 7 girls in one room and 3 boys in the other. Babies start out in our parents’ room and then move to the boys room (because the crib fits in there). And then when baby girls get bigger, they move to the girls’ room. Baby boys stay in the boys’ room. 🙂 The girls switched rooms with our parents eventually and now we have the master bedroom/bathroom. It’s very convenient having a bathroom right off the girls room (so there are 2 available bathrooms, instead of the “parents bathroom” and “kids bathroom”), and since we’re also in such a small house (about 1500 sq. ft.) the girls room kinda doubles as a family room/play room… sort of. 😛 There are lots of beds around to sit on. 😉

    While I agree, sharing rooms does not eliminate sinfulness and selfishness, it naturally FORCES us to pay attention to people other than ourselves. For the introverts (I’d say I’m an introvert at least to some degree)… if you really really need time and space to yourself, there are ways to get it. 🙂 As one of the “big kids”, I can walk outside whenever I want without asking so if I need time alone, that’s definitely an option. For the younger children, quite often you can find one of my siblings playing somewhere by themselves. Sometimes one of the bedrooms will be ‘taken over’ by a couple/few kids and turned into a ‘quiet room’ so to speak, for those who want to do homework in quiet. That sort of thing works nicely. 🙂

    A lot of times though, time alone could also be an outlet for someone who is just being selfish and doesn’t want to have to deal with their siblings in which case they really don’t “need” as much alone space as they think they need. In any case, I definitely think that the benefits outweigh the negatives, and besides that, practicality often gets involved too. 🙂

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    1. Oh I also thought of a couple other things (sorry if I’m saying too much!).

      For older children (like my older sister and I), using cell phones as alarms works great. I just set the volume down low so it doesn’t disrupt everyone’s sleep, but I still hear it (probably because I’m listening for it in my sleep or something 😛 ). I don’t use my alarm clock to wake me up because it’s so loud, but if I use my cell phone I can get away with getting up early for work or whatever without waking up all 6 sisters. 😉

      Also, I thought of something pertaining to the alone time/alone space. In our family when I was younger, every afternoon we had a “quiet time”. Basically, baby goes down for a nap and everybody is sitting quietly for one hour. They can read (or whatever boundaries you choose) but they have to do it alone and they can’t get up and fool around. So no talking either. If this is implemented for everyone in the house, then those who really thrive on alone time will get this every day as a matter of course. It is also helpful for keeping people quiet so they don’t wake up the baby/toddlers.

      You can always get plastic boxes so each kid can have a stash of stuff that they don’t want anyone else getting into. 🙂 Sometimes using dresser drawers works too. (Esp. if you do it discretely enough to where people don’t realize you have things in your drawers other than clothes. 😉 )

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