Reader Laine asks, “My daughter is five and my son is three. If we were to find a three bedroom home for rent (like we live in now), what are your thoughts on putting the children together in one room and having the other room as a playroom/schoolroom. Have you ever tried anything like this? At first it sounds like a good idea, but then I think they need their own space and privacy.”

An excellent question, Laine, and I’m sure one all of us with at least one boy and one girl have debated. Is it okay for them to share a room?  If so, when is it too old? And if you plan on having a small home long-term, like us, it’s an issue not likely to fade away anytime soon in your family.

Right now, our kids, one girl and one boy, are sharing a room. Actually, you could say they’re sharing two rooms, because we’ve got a “sleeping room” and a “play room,” and they equally share both.  But – they are almost 4-years-old and 9-months-old.  They’re young.

For us, sharing rooms was not really an issue of space-saving, because if we put their beds and toys in separate rooms, we’d still have about the same amount of available square-footage.

Here are some reasons we like them sharing a room.

I want them to bond.

Yes, I know they can bond in separate rooms, but there’s something special – almost magical – about fading to sleep in the same room.  They actually seem to sleep a bit better when they’re in there together, and as our son grows into a toddler, I can see his big sister being a comfort to him.  Even as a baby, he likes it when he can see big sis in her bed.

They want to share rooms.

Right now, they’re crazy about each other.  I’d be crazy not to take advantage of that. We really hyped up the idea of moving little brother’s crib in to our daughter’s room.  She thought it was such a special treat.

We have very few personal toys.

My daughter has a few dolls that are her own, and my son obviously has his baby toys.  But other than that, it’s a high priority for our family that toys are seen as the family’s toys.  All the blocks, the train set, the stuffed animals, the art supplies, the books, the puzzles – everyone shares them.  So when they’re in the play room, they’re not seen as “my” toys.  We’ll definitely make a point to keep a few toys special, especially as they grow older.

It’s good to learn to share at a young age.

I want to dilute the idea of I‘m more important, I deserve more than I have, I demand more solitude than I’m allotted, I, I, I.  Yes, we all need our personal space, and of course, I want my children to nurture themselves with good-quality alone time when they need it.  But far too often, kids are given too much at a young age, and then it’s hard to “reel them back in,” relationally-speaking, when they’re older.  I like the idea of my children feeling secure as a significant part of our family, a bit more than feeling like an independent person who can do anything she wants.  Especially at this young age.

When will they separate to their own rooms?

I honestly don’t know.  They’re very young, and I don’t have much experience with older children, so others can certainly chime in with their opinion.  But for now, this set-up really works for our family, and we’re all happy with it.  We’ll take it a day at a time.

What’s your opinion?  Do your kids of opposite genders share?  Did you share a room growing up? I’d love to hear a variety of takes on this issue.  What if you had all the space you needed for separate rooms for everyone – would you still do it?

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