Small space living is a legit concern these days—and with that comes room sharing.
Growing up, I was always sharing a room with a sibling. And as the youngest of four kids, I didn’t have much say on what room—and which sibling (haha)—I get. Initially there were only two rooms available for sharing and as the two youngest, my brother and I shared a bedroom. When a spare closets and utility room was converted into a third bedroom, my kuya, the only boy, got that. Our eldest, Ate Ayen, got her own room and I had to share a room with my other ate, Jenny, until she got married and moved out.
I’ve always enjoyed decorating—there is nothing more therapeutic for me—and even at a young age, I had very specific ideas on what my room should look like. So, it wasn’t always easy having to share a room with a much older sibling when what I really wanted was a room like Punky Brewster’s.
But if splitting a room between two (or more) kids is the only option for your home right now, it shouldn’t be a major setback. There is a way to decorate a shared bedroom and pleasing even the most discriminating dwellers.
It has to be very clear to your kids which areas are communal and which are exclusive to them. This teaches them to share and at the same time respect each other’s privacy.
One kid will like blue, the other green. Your daughter will most likely gravitate toward pinks and sparkles, but your little man will have none of those. The bones (wall paint, major furniture, etc.) of the bedroom should, therefore, stay safe and neutral to these many preferences.
However, DO encourage your kids to inject their assigned spaces with things they love. They can decorate their beds with their beloved stuffed toys or put up personal artworks and posters.
One of the benefits of room sharing is the opportunity for your kids to truly bond—and playing is the best way for kids to establish rapport. No matter how tight the space is, always allot for an area for these bonding moments to happen.
Chances are, they will fight over who gets the top bed, but the older child will and should get that spot for safety reason—he or she is bigger and likely more acclimatized to the “big bed” and solo sleeping.
A simple desk for each child will do. This is where they can do schoolwork, read books, or do arts and crafts.
Unless you want to spend the whole day picking up after the kids, have storage for every possible item in your kids’ room. Mark each box, bin, drawer and make sure that each kid is tasked to CLAYGO (Clean As You Go).
There will be times when one kid will want absolute peace and quiet, while the other will want to play or watch TV. It would be wise to set “study” and “play” times in a day and have the kids stick to these schedules.
Other rules—like respecting each other’s property, sharing/borrowing things, etc.—should also be in place if only to avoid having to referee day-to-day squabbles.
Do you have other tips for room sharing? Sound off in the Comments!