5 things that help my kids share a room without fighting

5 things that help my kids share a room without fighting

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The secret is to be organized and to give the kids a sense of having their own space so there's less to fight about. Here are five tips to make room sharing easier:

1. Set expectations for behavior

Let kids know what's happening – and what you expect from them – before making the move. Let them know that they will need to respect their sibling. Teaching kids good roommate behavior is a life lesson. Simple things like talking in a quiet voice when the sibling is sleeping may not be obvious to small children. Getting permission before they play with a sibling's special things is another good roommate rule. Before we moved our baby into the shared nursery with our son, we let him know that he was not allowed to wake the baby when she slept. It doesn't always work, but we set the expectations.

2. Define the space

Letting the kids know who belongs where is important. They can be flexible with each other if they choose, but everyone needs a safe space to sleep, keep their things, and relax. In our shared nursery, we have a dresser with an equal number of drawers. Each child knows where their things go. Both of my kids also have a shelf on which they can put treasures, along with monogrammed buckets that hold various items that belong to each kiddo.

3. Give them ownership of their things

While learning to share is important, it's also important that each child has things that belong just to them. That means asking a brother or sister permission before playing with a toy. We ran into some issues with this when we allowed too many toys into the shared space. Removing most of the toys to the playroom, and only having sleeping items in the bedroom, made for fewer squabbles. We do have a shared-space book area on the shelves they share.

4. Organize

This is the trickiest part for parents. At least it is for me. Having two kids in one room means less space to store clothes in their rooms for the next season. That means I have to reorganize for every season. I found a fairly inexpensive closet organizer that gives us two hanging clothes racks plus drawers for the off-season clothes that we will be keeping. I've already packed away all of the summer clothes that will still fit next year.

5. Make it personal

Even with a sibling, the decor can be agreeable to both.In our case, I have a boy and a girl sharing the space, so the main colors are gray and white. My son has a twin bed with an adorable gray-and-white striped Pottery Barn quilt. Underneath that he has the most awesome Spiderman sheets we could find. My daughter is still in a toddler bed, and she has gray, white, and lavender quilt. Each kiddo has an artwork clothesline above their bed (but out of reach) that displays their favorite projects. Everyone has their own handpicked personal touches, and it all looks aesthetically pleasing to me.

We have loved having our two youngest share a room. In fact, we're thinking of making all three of them share a room for a while. They love playing together and coexist with each other in a really special way. I hope our five tips make sharing a room a breeze!

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.

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