The Pros and Cons of Siblings Sharing Rooms

We are fortunate to live in the Kansas City Metro area and have a diverse range of homes available to us for our three kid family. But as the housing market has become more and more of a sellers market, and not great for buyers, what do you do if your family has outgrown your home? Or at least your bedrooms?

I’ve talked to veteran moms, to moms right in the toddler stage (as I am) as well as those who grew up sharing a room with a sibling. Here are some of the pros and cons of room sharing.

They Will Never Think Twice

If sharing bedrooms is something that is necessary for your family or even simply a parental choice you’re making, not to worry. Many of the adults I’ve spoken to, who shared rooms with their siblings, never thought twice about it. It was simply just how it was. Chances are, although we live in a generally privileged society, it won’t even be on their radar if it’s something that is normalized within the home. 

It Can Cultivate Empathy and Develop Sharing Skills

Sharing a room requires kids to view their possessions differently. Their space is not their own. They have no option but to share. I’m not saying it will always be easy (wouldn’t that be nice?). However, think of all the teaching moments that will naturally be cultivated due to the shared space. Empathy is also a skill that is best to start teaching early. Sharing a space such as a bedroom provides for a deeper connection and understanding of others experiences and views. What a great natural learning tool for such important skills needed for lifelong success!

A Forever Bond

My husband is a twin and had four older siblings, so there was obviously room sharing. He has said that he never questioned or resented it. In actuality, when we met at 25, he was still sharing an apartment (albeit, a two-bedroom) with his twin, so things hadn’t changed that much. I know they’re twins, and that bond in itself is special, but even non-twin sibling duos can establish a lasting connection if sharing a room. Many moms notice an increase in playtime together when they have a space that is special to them. 

The Age Gap

All three of my children are less than two years apart, which makes for easy sharing, from a logistical perspective. My husband and I have decided to do ourselves a bit of a kindness and do nighttime potty training with both of our older two boys at the same time when they move in together next weekend. If they weren’t close in age and one was nighttime trained and another was not, it could cause some sleep trouble for everyone. Our kids all generally have the same bedtime and wake up time. However, the bigger the age gap, the more difficulties a family might face with bedtime and wake-up times. I remember stories about my twin nieces, who are now about nine, where the “morning person” niece would occasionally/intentionally wake up the niece who is definitely not a “morning person”. Kids will be kids. These are just more teaching moments. The question is how many teaching moments do you want to place on yourself as a parent?

More Fighting

On the subject of teaching moments, they will definitely fight more. More together time naturally means more fighting time. This isn’t necessarily a negative thing, although it may feel that way in this season. Kids fighting (not physically), is their way of learning interpersonal relationships and what is appropriate and not appropriate behavior. If one kiddo is consistently mean or doesn’t share, they’re going to learn pretty quickly that the other sibling isn’t going to want to play with them anymore. This is how they learn how relationships work. 

Bigger Kids Means Bigger Things

We all know, whether we want to think about it or not, that our kids are going to get big. This means bigger furniture, bigger clothes, bigger everything. The rooms themselves may not be able to handle so much stuff. The kids will also gain more and more autonomy as they grow and mature. This means that, especially if there is a wider age gap, the kids will need that space for themselves and that’s completely OK. It’s great to teach children that some alone time can be very healthy for them. 

Regardless of whether you decide to room-share or not, your kids will be OK. They will develop relationship skills and bond with each other in other ways. Sharing a play space, screen time, and outdoor play areas creates plenty of opportunities to cultivate empathy and interpersonal skills. 

There will always be benefits and downsides to the decisions you make regarding space for your children. Some of us have more options than others and that should never be a reason to elicit judgment. We are all doing the best we can with what we have.

Wherever you are in your parenting journey with room sharing and space, I wish you luck and ask that you wish us luck as we begin our own journey. 

We’re ready for this wild ride (I think)!

Hi! My name is Brittany Reinke. I'm a born-and-raised Olathe native. I graduated from Olathe North, received my Undergrad in Vocal Performance from William Jewell College, received my Master's in Mental Health Counseling from Mid-America Nazarene University and have now settled down in Southern Olathe. If you couldn't tell, just from that track record, I am beyond passionate about living, communing and raising my children in this area! I have been married to Keven, the love of my life, since 2013 and we have three beautiful boys together. Ben is 5, Leo is 3 and Miles is 1 and, yes, I'm tired. However, I'm tired in the most glorious and fulfilling ways. I am a huge nerd. I love all things Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Trek... you name it. I absolutely love reading and would love to start my own book club once I master the art of getting through a book at a reasonable rate, something I'm not expecting quite yet at this life-stage. I am a chronic DIY-er. If there's a room in my house that I can renovate, I will figure out a way to put my special touches on it from the subfloor up! I live with Cerebral Palsy which has progressively taken its toll on my body, however, I'm an extremely determined gal and am set on making this journey through motherhood as fun, wild and exciting as it can be!