If given the choice, most kids would probably prefer to have their own bedrooms instead of sharing sleeping space with siblings. Some reasons for a solitary bedroom may be more compelling than other reasons. As you weigh your family’s bedroom configuration, consider some important reasons to give your kids their own bedrooms.
When you attempt to cohabitate little ones, you may run into trouble if one of them has consistent trouble going to sleep or staying asleep. Youngsters who are noisy or disruptive at night, crying and fussing at bedtime or in the middle of the night, can make it tough for a roommate to sleep soundly. Placing a baby and a toddler or preschooler in the same room could also be a safety risk, warns clinical psychologist Patrick J. McGrath, writing for the AboutKidsHealth website. A toddler trying to climb into a crib with a baby or trying to pick the baby up could be reasons to have children sleep in separate bedrooms. Kids sleeping in the same bedroom may be more likely to share illnesses between them, also. On the opposite end of the spectrum, sometimes kids feel more comfortable sharing a bedroom with siblings, especially if they have issues with nightmares or nighttime fear, states the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
As children get older, you may experience issues with fighting for personal space. Kids who share a bedroom may be more likely to clash as they work out property and space issues. Once these problems begin occurring, it may be best to separate them into different bedrooms, according to psychologist Laura Markham, with the Aha! Parenting website. If separate bedrooms aren’t possible, try creating a space for each child in the bedroom by arranging furniture creatively or by drawing or taping a line down the center of the bedroom.
Placing kids of the opposite sex together in a bedroom is typically acceptable for little ones, states McGrath. Eventually, however, your kids will grow to ages where boys and girls will need separate bedrooms to avoid potential sexual issues. While this bedroom reassignment can be different for every family, generally separating boys and girls by age 6 or 7 -- in advance of puberty -- is a good rule of thumb. If you ever have concerns about younger kids having sexual issues, such as sexual aggression, separate the children immediately.
Step- and Half-Siblings
Blended families can create situations where step- and half-siblings may need to share bedrooms. Sometimes children who don’t even know each other well might have to share bedrooms, which can be difficult for youngsters, warns the American Academy of Pediatrics. The AAP recommends that whenever possible, you should avoid having step- and half-siblings share bedrooms to avoid negative fights about possessions and personal space. If you can’t avoid room-sharing, ensure each child has designated personal space in the bedroom with personal items that the kids don’t need to share with each other.