Five years ago we were preparing to move across the country from Iowa to Arizona.
Not only were we moving, but we were also massively downsizing from a house with abundant space to an apartment.
One of the big decisions we faced was: Should our kids share a room? Can they share a room?
My son was 2 1/2 at the time and my daughter merely 6 months old. I truly didn’t believe they could handle sharing a room. I didn’t believe I could handle them sharing either.
But thankfully, my husband brought in a fresh perspective.
He said that the years he shared a room with his younger brother were his favorite memories.
He assured me our kids could handle it, and that it might actually be better in some ways.
When we started apartment hunting in Arizona I quickly realized a three bedroom was not even a consideration. They were far too expensive.
So the journey of our kids sharing a room began. Ready or not.
Five years later, here are the positive things I have witnessed and learned:
1. Kids Adapt Quickly
My son had to listen to my daughter cry A LOT that first 18 months. I was constantly in and out of their room.
But somehow he managed to adapt and continue sleeping well.
Now they both have a synced sleeping schedule.
2. They Don’t get lonely or scared
My son had a brief period where he was scared of the dark, before his roommate was old enough to chat with him.
Now that the two of them can chat, their fears seem lessened. They know someone is always across the room.
3. They learn empathy and negotiation
One person wants a nightlight, one does not.
One person wants the door cracked, one does not.
These are all opportunities for my kids to learn negotiating and empathy.
For example: When my son realized his sister needed the nightlight to fall asleep, he obliged. But as soon as she fell asleep he unplugged it. Problem solved, and I didn’t have to get involved!!
4. Shared bedtime routine
I especially love this. I do not have to repeat our routine twice.
We all read together most nights. Short books, chapter books. No separate trips to different spots. One shared routine.
They each get a snuggle, a prayer, and a song. But I only have to be in one place!
5. Better Daytime play
My kids play well during the day together…most of the time.
Since they share a space, everything feels mutual to them and they cannot retreat from conflict.
They still can have “space” when needed, but they don’t seem to need that much.
6. Strong sibling bond
Now I understand why sharing a room was so important to Kevin.
I see my children playing together in their space and working together to clean and maintain it.
I hear them telling stories in bed about their days, and plotting adventures or ideas.
Their bond is strong. They know they are there for each other. Siblings can definitely achieve this without sharing a room too. But it feels easier.
7. More Flexibility
This benefit is mainly for Kevin and I. Since we can survive with two bedrooms instead of three, we have more flexibility in where we can live.
Our minimum requirements are less.
If you are considering this setup for your kids, or it’s being decided for you because of cost, know that it is okay.
There will be bumps and hard parts. Like when my kids were on totally different bedtimes and nap times.
But in the end you may have the pleasure of seeing flash light beams through the door crack as they look at books on the floor.
Or you may find them both in one bed because someone was scared.
And one day they might realize these shared moments were their favorite.