In years past, it was almost unheard of for a child to have their own bedroom. Yet the trend in many American neighborhoods is houses that have more bedrooms and bathrooms than individual people. For the families with several kids however, sharing rooms is often the order of the day. While we are in the process of remodeling our 2 family house, into a 1 family, so each child can have their own space; the kids are currently rooming in. We have 3 boys in 1 room and 3 girls in another. It’s a tight fit, but it all works out!
How can you make it work when two, three or even four kids are bunking together? Here are a few ideas.
Make Kid Friendly Spaces
Kids will be happier sharing when the room itself is designed with them in mind. It’s important that their stuff is within reach. Try using toy organizers with open bins. Lower closet rods so that the closet space is essentially doubled (older, taller kids can use the top rod or the parent can utilize it) and easier for kids to manage. Use easy to open drawers, clothes bins and baskets. Use labels that include pictures in the case of younger kids who don’t read well.
Sharing a room isn’t so bad if you feel like you have some space to call your own. Rugs and furniture can be used to separate zones. Stores like IKEA and Target sell bookcases with multiple dividers that large families love for storage as well as to create a sort of room divider. Trunks, cases that lock, and high shelves are great for older kids who want to keep some things away from younger sibling’s sticky fingers.
You can also make use of other furniture to achieve the same end, especially in shared bedrooms where this might be particularly important. For instance, you can buy some hardwood bedroom furniture such as a bedside stand, which can act as a zone buffer between two areas. Those are just some of the ways you can achieve this for the benefit of everyone in the home.
Zones also help keep things more organized, something Mom is thankful for! Some ideas for zones can include art, dress-up, toys, reading nook, and essentials (sleep, clothing). Instead of allowing a particular activity to spill out all over the room or house, it needs to stay in the designated zone.
Create a Routine
It’s a good idea to pick one or two times a day for tidying up. With a larger family, training children to put their PJs away in the morning, place dirty clothing in the hamper, and clean up one activity before starting another is essential if you don’t want chaos to reign supreme! Creating routines makes this easier so Mom isn’t stressed and nagging.
Having several children can mean lots of noise! Many moms find that having a mandatory quiet time for kids too old to nap can lead to more sibling peace. For an hour, children may read, rest, daydream, etc – but not interact or talk with siblings. If the weather is nice, and the older children have been quiet enough to let the younger ones fall asleep, they can go outside, but should stay away from windows that are near the younger children’s rooms, to avoid waking them up while playing outside. This one routine can help reduce the emotional wear and tear of rubbing shoulders with lots of people each day.
Many moms make decluttering kid’s rooms easier by keeping a box or bag in each room for clothing that no longer “works”. Off season, outgrown, to be donated or stored, etc – it gets thrown into the designated spot immediately until Mom has a chance to deal with it and before it gets put back into the rotation. Store away outgrown clothing regularly and create a system for storing “hand me downs” that works for you.
We still have a long way to go until our children will each have their own room, so we have to make do with what we have right now, which is a small space and a lot of people. Bunk beds are a great space saver, or even built in beds on top of dressers. As long as it’s safe, do what you have to in order to create a little extra room for the kiddos.