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Sharing a Bedroom

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 14 May 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Sharing A Bedroom Sibling Roommates Bunk

Many adults remember sharing a room with one or more siblings in their childhood home. For some, the close proximity served as an opportunity for bonding, while others don't recall the experience with such fondness. In any case, kids doubling up in bedrooms is a common practice, sometimes because their parents hope to encourage a tightly knit family and sometimes out of necessity.

Pros of Bedroom Sharing

There is a definite upside to having your children share a bedroom. Kids may fight, but they will also learn to work out their differences and often develop especially strong bonds with one another. Additionally, kids who learn early on to share, respect another person's space and belongings, and find ways to live cooperatively with a sibling are building the groundwork to becoming flexible, accepting adults.

Challenges Associated with Bedroom Sharing

While the big picture shows definite advantages to bedroom sharing, the practice is not without its difficulties. Just because they are siblings doesn't mean that they will have the same taste in room decor or music, and it is not uncommon for some pretty intense disagreements to occur.

Sometimes, all that is needed to keep the peace are individual headphones so that each child can enjoy their own music without disturbing their roommate. Living in such close proximity with no space for privacy can be a bit unnerving at times, and bickering is commonplace. In addition to the headphones, mum and dad may want to purchase earplugs for themselves!

Decorating Woes

If it is decided that siblings will be sharing a room, there are some things that parents can do to minimise the difficulties and maximise harmony. Since room decor tends to be a major issue for many sibling roommates, parents may choose to allow each child to display the things that appeal to them on their own side of the room.

If the siblings are in agreement, a uniform theme or colour scheme can be used, but if they have very different tastes, it may be easiest to give each child a bit of freedom in decorating to suit themselves. If space is tight, bunk beds can be helpful, but it is a good idea for each child to have their own dresser, desk, and shelving unit so that they can easily express their individuality.

Issues like closet space and shared possessions should be discussed upfront, and respect for the other sibling should always be emphasised. While it is best to allow the children to work out the inevitable disagreements on their own, there may be times where mum and dad have to step in.

Respectful Roommates

One of the biggest factors determining whether the sharing of bedroom space will result in happy memories or sibling alienation will be the manner in which each child interacts with the other. It is important that the kids are expected to respect each other and treat each other with kindness. Setting a few ground rules is wise, so that everyone involved is aware of what it required. Some ideas for room rules might include:

  • Ask permission before using something that doesn't belong to you
  • When borrowing something, be sure to return it promptly and in good condition
  • Try to give each other a little privacy
  • Knock before entering if the door is closed
  • Keep your personal items in your own space
  • Maintain a level of tidiness acceptable to both parties
  • Respect each other's differences
  • Treat your sibling in a manner that you would like to be treated
With a little planning and consistent enforcement of household and room rules, sharing a bedroom can be a positive experience.

Read our Q&A on whether children of the opposite sex should share a room.

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[Add a Comment]
genie - Your Question:
I'm annoyed my ex won't swap weekends.We have a 4 year old daughter and a 7 year old son.My exs new partner has an 11 year boy.All 3 share the same bedroom.On the alternative weekends when it's my weekend, my ex and his gf are kid free.He refusing to swap, he said he'd separate the kids but actually lied as my kids tell me their still in the same room.I've been threatened by the boys dad as he thinks I'm saying his sons a pedo.it's got completely out of hand.What can I do

Our Response:
If you cannot agree a solution between you, in the first instance you should consider trying to solve these issues via mediation, and as a last resort court.
SafeKids - 15-May-17 @ 1:51 PM
I'm annoyed my ex won't swap weekends. We have a 4 year old daughter and a 7 year old son. My exs new partner has an 11 year boy. All 3 share the same bedroom. On the alternative weekends when it's my weekend, my ex and his gf are kid free. He refusing to swap, he said he'd separate the kids but actually lied as my kids tell me their still in the same room. I've been threatened by the boys dad as he thinks I'm saying his sons a pedo....it's got completely out of hand. What can I do
genie - 14-May-17 @ 6:58 PM
Nicky - Your Question:
HiI'm currently in the process of making a complaint regarding multiple maladministration issues by my local council in regards to their duty of care to provide adequate housing for my son and I ( Who are both classed as vulnerable, with severe disabilities) - I won't go into the details; it is long and complex ( spanning over 22 years!).I'm trying to find out the legalities regarding one of the temporary accommodations in which we were both placed;I've been searching the Internet, but all I can find that's remotely related to this issue are regarding opposite sex CHILDREN sharing a ROOM - however; What I need to know, are what the laws were at the time regarding children sharing a bed with opposite sex adults (please don't ban me - I'm not a pervert!).But this is what my son and I were expected to do • my son was aged 10½ • it was in June 2005 • there was no other room/bed that I could sleep in (it was a tiny room with a double bed and a kitchenette and bathroom/toilet) The reason I'm writing this up from the past is because this has contributed towards my son's emotional/behavioural difficulties, and the subsequent serious mental health problems that he now has;During the time that we were expected to live there, I had to leave my son and the care of other people while I stay there myself - I did this is partly because the place was unsafe (I was regularly attacked, abused and harassed by people in the area); but also because I found it unacceptable to share a bed with a pubescent 10 -year-old boy - Furthermore, I had to keep this secret from social services; if they found out they would've definitely put him in care (I'd recently been accused of sexual abuse to him - simply because him and three friends did Google image searches of things such as "b*m" and "t*ts" - using the school's computer).

Our Response:
I'm afraid this is beyond our remit to advise - you would have to seek professional legal guidance regarding this matter. You may wish to try the Coram link here.
SafeKids - 28-Apr-17 @ 11:53 AM
Hi I'm currently in the process of making a complaintregarding multiple maladministration issues by my local councilin regards to their duty of careto provide adequate housing for my son and I ( Who are both classed as vulnerable, with severe disabilities) -I won't go into the details; it is long and complex ( spanning over 22 years!). I'm trying to find out the legalitiesregarding one of the temporaryaccommodations in which we were both placed; I've been searching the Internet, but all I can find that's remotely related to this issueare regarding opposite sex CHILDREN sharing a ROOM -however; What I need to know, are what the laws were at the time regarding children sharing a bed with opposite sex adults (please don't ban me -I'm not a pervert!)... But this is what my son and I were expected to do •my son was aged 10½ •it was in June 2005 •there was no other room/bed that I could sleep in (it was a tiny room with a double bed and a kitchenette and bathroom/toilet) The reason I'm writing this up from the past is because this has contributed towards my son'semotional/behavioural difficulties,and the subsequent serious mental health problems that he now has; During the time thatwe were expected to live there, I had to leave my sonand the care of other people while I stay there myself - I did this is partly because the place was unsafe (I was regularly attacked, abused and harassedby people in the area); but also because I found it unacceptable to share a bed with a pubescent 10 -year-old boy - Furthermore, I had to keep this secret from social services; if they found out they would've definitely put him in care (I'd recently been accused of sexual abuse to him -simply because him and three friendsdid Google image searches of things such as "b*m" and "t*ts" -using the school'scomputer).
Nicky - 27-Apr-17 @ 6:51 PM
I have 1house with 2 bedrooms and i have my daughter with 6 years old and i want to bring my son to England he is 12 years old .Can my daughater share the bedroomwith her brother?
Niki - 28-Jan-17 @ 4:45 PM
Blondie - Your Question:
My partner has an 11 year old son and a 13 year old daughter who we have to stay every other weekend and one night in the week. It it considered okay for them to share a bedroom as this isn't their primary home? We own our three bedroomed house but we also have a three month old daughter who will need her own nursery in the near future, as this is her only home.

Our Response:
While there isn't any specific legislation in the United Kingdom on bedroom sharing - the general rule advised by the Housing Act 1985 is that once children have reached the age of 10, they should be given their own rooms if they are of the opposite sex. This should be viewed as regardless of whether it is their permanent home or not.
SafeKids - 17-Jan-17 @ 11:33 AM
My partner has an 11 year old son and a 13 year old daughter who we have to stay every other weekend and one night in the week. It it considered okay for them to share a bedroom as this isn't their primary home? We own our three bedroomed house but we also have a three month old daughter who will need her own nursery in the near future, as this is her only home.
Blondie - 16-Jan-17 @ 12:29 PM
daisy - Your Question:
Is there any law regarding a 4 year old son sharing a bedroom with his mum in a private house. He would be in his own bed but his bed would be in the same room. If this isnt illegal now what is the legal cut off age that he should be moved into his own room

Our Response:
There is no law against a parent sharing a room with their child. It is up to the parent's discretion as to when the parent thinks the child needs a room of his own.
SafeKids - 9-Nov-16 @ 2:37 PM
Is there any law regarding a 4 year old son sharing a bedroom with his mum in a private house. He would be in his own bed but his bed would be in the same room. If this isnt illegal now what is the legal cut off age that he should be moved into his own room
daisy - 9-Nov-16 @ 8:51 AM
@kate - I think it is generally assumed through the council that two children aged 0-9 can share a bedroom whatever their sex, two boys or two girls aged under 16 are allowed share a bedroom and then a boy and a girl aged 10-15 should have separate bedrooms. You may have to wait until she is 10 - it's is hard, I know!
Abi - 6-Mar-15 @ 2:00 PM
Hi I'm having a bit of a problem with my council.last year my son turned 10 he shares a room with his sister who is 5 because we live in a 2 bedroom flat but the council are still saying that I do not go up in the bands and I have to stay in band 4 which is no need to move.they said to just keep bidding but what's the point.they are saying that they only have to move me up the list if I need 2 extra rooms which is never going to happen.can anybody help me.
kate - 5-Mar-15 @ 2:28 PM
@cookie - While there’s no law in existence which governs children of different sexes sharing rooms in privately owned homes. If the house is rented and owned by a housing association, sometimes they do have rules and regulations in place concerned with how many children, and which sex of children, can sleep in any one bedroom. For example, they may state that after the age of 10, different sexes of siblings shouldn’t share a room. You can find more information on our partner page Should Children of the Opposite Sex Share a Bedroom? link here. I hope this helps.
SafeKids - 17-Dec-14 @ 2:39 PM
My 11 year old (12 years in March) daughter has hit puberty and started her periods.She is spending 2 nights over Christmas with her father and his partner.She is expected to share a bedroom with him and his partner, is this legal?Normally when she stays there she sleeps in the bedroom with her dad's partners son who is 9, also I would like to know if this is legal please?
Cookie - 17-Dec-14 @ 11:18 AM
I am soon to be seperating from my wife. We have three children aged 5,7 and 12. The youngest is a girl and the other two are boys. The 7 year old is registered disabled and sometimes needs to have oxygen in the night. We will both be needing accomodation as the children will spend approx half the time with each. My wife is saying its against the law for the children to share and she must have a 4 bedroom house. Are there any laws which state this is the case? The new property for her will be a private purchase. Thanks
Mike - 30-Aug-12 @ 9:14 AM
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