Sharing a Room

Emily at Wheels on the Bus had an excellent post today on children’s sharing rooms. Since I had a 2-bedroom apartment, a 3-bedroom apartment, and then a 3-bedroom house, my 4 daughters always shared rooms until the older ones went to college and shared rooms with absolute strangers.

Growing up, I was the only girl with 5 younger brothers; from the time I was 7, I had my own room. Before that, I shared a bedroom with my 2 younger brothers. I always wanted a sister, and I would have been happy to share a room with her. I always had roommates in college and in my first Manhattan apartments before I got married. My husband came from a family of 5 kids, and he always shared a room with his brother.

We took it for granted that our kids would share bedrooms. Originally we planned to stay in a New York City apartment, and only millionaires have a big enough apartment to give each of 4 children their own room. In no way did we ever feel we were depriving our kids because they didn’t have their own rooms. In our 3-bedroom Manhattan apartment, 3 of them decided to sleep in the same bedroom, so they could use the extra bedroom as a playroom.

Getting the baby out of our bedroom was much easier because she looked forward to sharing a room with her sisters. Sharing bedrooms made bedtime easier all through early childhood.
I suspect my girls are closer because of their enforced togetherness. Sure there were conflicts, especially over cleaning rooms. I do recall my second child putting a strip of duct tape down the center of the room to establish cleaning responsibilities. Possibly they played more outside their bedrooms since they had less room.

Sharing rooms is excellent preparation for college. My kids always had roommates in college in dorm rooms much smaller than the usual bedroom. At Yale, one year, they had to share bunkbeds. In major US cities, most people share apartments for economic reasons.

I am 62. I only had my own room for 16 years–11 years of my childhood and 5 years between marriages. I have never felt deprived:)

About maryjograves

Children are my passion. I have 4 daughters, 5 grandkids under 5 with another on the way, 5 younger brothers, 11 nieces and nephews, 8 great nieces and nephews. I advocate a revolution for a child friendly US. I have been an editor, public librarian, social worker, and internet educator. Tweet @RedstockingGran @ChildrensWings
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8 Responses to Sharing a Room

  1. Emily R says:

    Well, that certainly is a full response! Thanks for the input!

  2. Kyla says:

    I had my own room for 17 years…up until I got married. And I have to say, I'm quite fond of my roommate. 🙂

  3. odd facts says:

    Divide the room with duct tape? Why didn't I think of that?

  4. I always wanted a sister close to my age with whom I could share a room. It wouldn't have worked to share a room with my brother, though, LOL!

  5. odd facts,Diving the room wasn't the only use for duct tape. When my oldest was obsessed with gymnastics, she used duct tape on our living room rug to create an imaginary balance beam.slouching mom,I admit when my youngest brother was born when I was 13, I had mixed feelings about sharing my room with a baby.Fortunately, all my daughters shared an amazing tolerance for mess, so there weren't too many conflicts about housekeeping standards. Slobs vs. neatniks seems the most intractable roommate conflict Totally different sleeping schedules are another flashpoint. During my first year at college, I went to bed around 2 am, which was when my roommate was getting up, having gone to bed at 8 pm.

  6. Janet says:

    I think sharing a room builds character. I shared with my sister for years and, yes, we fought, but it was comforting to hear someone breathing in the bed beside me if I woke up scared in the middle of the night.

  7. Janet, I do think sharing a room builds character and is excellent preparation for marriage. I have noticed that my daughters seem to share rooms with their husbands more harmoniously than they did with their sisters.

  8. kit says:

    I see the value of sharing a room (which I myself never had to do until college) so clearly with my boys, who are 2 1/2 and 6. I think it requires families to really work out expectations of tolerance — which otherwise might remain more abstract. And then there's the closeness, which develops in many other ways too, of course, but physical proximity has a power all its own. When the little one first moved out of our room and into his brother's, their futons were positioned under separate windows. But the second night, my then-4 year old insisted that his bed be moved right next to his brother's, and since then they have slept most nights in a little pile, each more comfortable entangled in the other's limbs than alone.

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