Recently, increasing numbers of families are choosing to live in smaller homes so they can live closer to work and/or downtown. This leads to the question of siblings sharing bedrooms. The question is of particular interest when the children are not the same gender. So, at what age does it become inappropriate for siblings of opposite sex to share a room?
They will let you know when the arrangement is no longer working for them. Many brothers and sisters with separate bedrooms in fact wind up together in one room because they’re lonely, cold or frightened. As long as the arrangement works for them don’t worry about it.
Generally as children approach 8 to 10 years old they start to want more privacy. When you notice your son locking the bathroom door or wanting no one to look when he’s changing his clothes, it’s time for separation. At that time, get creative with room dividers. You simply give them some privacy with bookshelves or other bedroom furniture.
There may be a problem once a slightly older child starts bringing friends home from school. It may be difficult for him to entertain when his little sister is right there.
It’s not okay for your son and his friends to be rude to your daughter, you can insist on good manners all round. On the other hand, your son will need some space for entertaining away from his sister. And soon she will want to have her friends over to play as well.
You can identify another part of the house for this play or have them play outside in the yard. Meanwhile, when your son has friends over take the opportunity to spend time with his sister. She would love to have time alone with you and help you around the house.
The idea that every child needs her own bedroom is a new concept. Talk to your parents or grandparents and you will likely discover that they have never had their own room. Big houses with many separate spaces is a fairly new phenomenon. Our parents and grandparents often lived in close quarters and survived quite nicely.
Kathy Lynn is a parenting expert and Canada’s leading speaker on parenting issues. She has helped thousands of parents to regain some order in their lives. She can be reached at http://parentingtoday.ca/