I spent time with some friends the other night. One of them discussed how she and her husband were in the process of making their son’s room ready to share with the new baby. How were they going to tell him? How should they divide the room? Was it even fair to force their son to share his room? I would like to answer these questions and give some suggestions if you are in the process of combining rooms or planning on this transition in the future.
- Communicate with all children involved. If you are bringing home a new baby, talk to your older child early in the planning process.
- Make it exciting for them to share their room. If they are old enough to help, invite them to pick paint colors, decorations, and setup of the room.
- Make your child feel like a part of this decision. If they feel like they are a part of the process they will more easily share with their new roommate. “It will be really exciting for you to show the new baby your room!”
- For older kids who are sharing a room, have them decide how things should go. Give them time to talk it out and determine how they want to organize the room, without your involvement. Things will go much more smoothly if they are in charge of how the space is split up and whether they want two sides of the room or bunk-beds. If choosing all the details is not realistic, give them choices where possible.
- Seek help by talking to others who have kids that share a room as well as look online for pictures and do-it-yourself tutorials about how to decorate a shared room.
- Hold your kids to the plan. Have written reminders for a while to help them stick to what they agreed upon. Have consequences for breaking the agreement. Discuss respecting others’ possessions, space, and preferences before creating a shared room scenario.
- Be patient with your kids as they work out sharing a space. It is easy to get frustrated with someone when you share a confined space. Older kids get tired of sharing a space and their belongings with younger siblings. Help them by listening to their frustrations and mediating between siblings. Give them the power to work out their issues in a responsible and mature way.
I believe that you can solve most issues surrounding sharing a room by planning the presentation of this topic. Whether it be sharing a room with a new baby or with an older sibling, getting your kids involved in the process from the beginning will help things go smoothly.
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