I had to open my big mouth. There we were, in the middle of summer sibling squabbling, and in a moment of needing peace, I said, “You two are going to share a room if you don’t learn to get along.” Immediately, one daughter was in tears at the thought of having to share her space. “Good!” I thought naively. “That got through!”
My husband, Daniel, and I began to discuss the reality of our kids sharing rooms, and how we would arrange the furniture. We decided to head upstairs with the tape measure, which produced alligator-size tears again from one of our girls. Honestly, in the back of my mind, I didn’t think we would go through with the big, drastic change. “This will just show them we’re serious about their attitudes changing, “ I thought.
Daniel and I went downstairs and looked at each other as if to say, “Are we really going to do this?” Just as we laughed and said, “Nah,” there was a knock on the door.
Our daughter who had cried the most was standing at our door now with a smile. “We’ve decided we want to share rooms and we’ve started moving things,” she said. My eyes grew and my heart stopped. I thought, “What happened? What changed?” She left to go upstairs and reluctantly, Daniel and I agreed we would give this a try.
So there we were, in the middle of another project. I kept thinking, “I don’t have time for this.” Thoughts and things were everywhere. I didn’t speak it but I kept thinking, “This escalated quickly. How did we get here?”
The girls were giddy and happily moving most of the items themselves. The tricky part… one daughter has all-white furniture, the other dark cherry wood. It’s a perfectionist’s nightmare. Much like Elsa, I just had to let it go. Over the next few days, we combined the rooms to make one bedroom and one “study” as our girls call the extra room. The furniture is all mismatched, but they love all of it: the time together, not sleeping apart, and sharing everything. So far, the joy has lasted 30 days without complaint. (Check on me in another 30 days…I imagine I’ll have a new report!)
Most people I know have their children share rooms at a young age. Here we were at ages 10 and seven starting the process of our kids sharing rooms. At this point, I believe it can be done and done well when you have a game plan. If you’re considering combining kids’ rooms, here are some guidelines that Daniel and I came up with to ensure the boundaries of our kids sharing rooms. In other words, to not just move all the furniture for fun!
Tips on Kids Sharing Rooms
1. Have a verbal agreement with the kids on the length of time. We made the girls agree we wouldn’t move the furniture back for at least one year.
2. Decide what to do when they each need their space. We are realists and know they will get upset, have disagreements, and may need alone time now and then.
3. Focus on the intangible benefits. The main goal was to help our girls learn to share and get along better.
4. Be okay with it looking crazy for a while. I had to let go of the fact the furniture doesn’t match in two rooms now.
Do your kids share a room? What has worked for you? I’d love to hear your stories about kids sharing rooms!