I have three boys and when my youngest turned two and transitioned from a crib to a bed, we moved him out of the nursery and into a bedroom with his two other brothers, then aged four and six. My husband was convinced this was a good idea, but I, who never had to share a room with my older brother, wasn't so sure. How would they ever go to sleep? What about their desire for personal space and alone time? Turns out most of my fears were unwarranted. My boys have now been sharing for a room for the last two years and it's had lots of benefits. Sometimes sharing a room is a necessity, but even if you have the space the spare, here are four reasons you may want to consider keeping your kids combined.
They're closer than ever before. It's no surprise that time together build bonds. Especially as my kids have gotten older and their days are filled with different school schedules and activities, I see the value of the small moments in the morning, late afternoon, and evening for little conversations, giggles, and making memories. These wouldn't happen if the boys all went to their separate rooms at night.
Each child has become more responsible. We have a saying in our house — "Brothers look after brothers" — and sharing a room has helped to put this phrase into practice. When my youngest wakes up with a bad dream, he often crawls over to my oldest son's bed for comfort. When my middle son woke up sick in the middle of the night, my youngest came to tell me. Sharing a room has helped them feel more responsible for each other, and because of their proximity, they take more responsibility for each other.
We've been able to consolidate the kid stuff. Let's get practical: Having my three boys in one room means I have one laundry bin to pick up and one place to drop off clean clothes. When one son outgrows a pair of shorts, I can easily move them two feet over in the closet to the next son's pile. I'm a big fan of anything that simplifies the day-to-day activities of mothering.
They've learned to live well with others. I'm sure you all have heard (or lived) stories of college roommates who were not good at the idea of communal living. My first roommate blared her music while I was trying to study, left old food out, and had misconceptions about what half the closet meant. Sharing a bedroom teaches the importance of private space and common areas. My boys have shared areas in their room for things like books, but they each have a private drawer or bin where they can keep personal things. It also helps kids understand that sometimes you have to compromise or sacrifice what you want for the good of the room; for example, my oldest likes to stay up reading, but the light keeps his little brothers awake. These are lessons I'm glad my sons are learning now instead of when they are 18.
Do your kids share a room?