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At $50,000 a bedroom, we’ll probably share

July 19, 2011

Do your kids share bedrooms?

For the past year, we’ve been moving toward moving. Joy needs a house with an elevator to accommodate the power wheelchair she’ll use in a few years. Our current house is a 4-level split. To make it accessible, we’d have to install two elevators, a bedroom and an ADA bathroom. Even then, our floor plan would not be wheelchair user-friendly.

That leads us to buying (and likely retrofitting) an existing house, or building a Universal Design home. To help us make that decision, we’re consulting with an accessibility design firm next week.

A year ago, we made a list of what would make a home ideal for our family. Right now we’re in a 4 bedroom house. Joy sleeps in our room. Each of the older girls, for now, has her own room. My husband, who works from home, has an office in the corner of the unfinfished basement.

But we’ve begun revising our ideal to keep the mortgage reasonable. In our area, bedrooms beyond our minimum number (three, if we share two to a room), add at least $50,000 per bedroom to the cost of an existing house. Yes, I know there are some bargains out there in this market and maybe God will surprise us. But the new message afoot in our family this week is: “Be prepared to share.”

If your kids share bedrooms, how do you make it work? I don’t mean the mechanics of two or more beds in room. I’m thinking about family dynamics. Like if they share bedrooms for sleeping, where do they go when they both want or need to be alone?  Do you have philosophies about personal space or house rules that make sharing livable? Or any other advice to share?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 19, 2011 10:53 pm

    We have always had sharing to some degree here with 6 🙂 The only exception was when we adopted a little girl and wanted to give some time for our oldest daughter to get used to the idea of having a sibling in her room 🙂 We now have 4 bedrooms (we had only 3 in our old house and converted our garage to give us another room when we added little man number 5). Each child shares with one other sibling. We have a quiet time each day for 2 hours and everyone has a designated space to be for a while to get away..that has changed a bit as they’ve grown older and they can coexist in a room together and be quiet without a lot of supervision..when they were young they napped, as they get to be around age 5 they read books or play with quiet things, around age 10 they are free to decide something to do during that time. Our kids have room chores that are specific to each child..one will dust, the other vacuums..each make their own beds. They have things that belong to them and things we hold in common. Even our legos were sorted into bins for many years to keep things straight! Sometimes it’s a challenge when you place a “messy” kid with a “neat” one but those are great lessons in valuing each others strengths and helping out 🙂 The kids each have a few toys that are truly their things. Older kids are taught to put high value items like MP3 players up out of reach of little kids. Kids flow in and out of each other’s rooms although our main family and play areas are more common areas of hanging out together. Rooms end up being mostly for sleeping, reading, music practice, study for school rather than playing places (exception is little boys’ room where you can make great hideout tents). As you know we have quite the age span of 16, 14, 12, 6, 5 and 4 1/2 so it’s always a changing dynamic figuring out what works. The biggest (funny) challenge is the 16 yr old and 6 yr old agreeing on decorating the room…but I think we found a compromise in lgt blue and black Asian theme recently 🙂 Hope you are able to find a place that works for your family!
    Heather 🙂

  2. koreamom03 permalink
    July 20, 2011 2:14 pm

    I have been thinking about and researching ideas on this as well for the future. We have 3 bedrooms and a large bath upstairs that the boys use now. Dylan is actually in the largest room which has a great walk in closet and dressing area with sink and door to the hall bath. * I think the builder had the idea that this could be used as a second Master *
    My problem is that no one can share with Evan due to his sleep issues and he can be really loud at night. He also just needs his own space so he is staying in his room. It is the smallest of the three upstairs but he loves it and it is his refuge from his loud siblings. 🙂 Carson’s room will be sisters and he will need to move into the large room with Dylan. While not ideal because of the 6 year age gap I think we can make it work for a few years until we either move or add on. I would love to follow along on ideas on how to make the room work for both of the boys and their ages. I am going to skip bunk beds and instead go with twin beds for them. Dylan will be closing in on four when we need to make the move and prepare for sister so we have time for him to grow older and for Carson to get use to the idea. I plan on making an area inside the walk in closet for Carson to use as a safe zone from the dilly monster – what are you thinking of in way of beds and storage?

  3. July 20, 2011 8:59 pm

    We have 2 girls, 2 boys and a 3 bedroom house. They use to share, but as Akila got older, it became soooo difficult for Imani to share a bedroom with her. Akila was so emotionally and physically abusive to Imani. And at bedtime, when we would be struggling forever with Akila, it would keep Imani up. Eventually, husband and I moved into our sunroom so girls could each have their own room. Now Akila rages all the time thinking she needs to sleep with one of the other kids as she doesn’t like having her own room. But none of them want to be near her!!!

  4. July 21, 2011 8:42 pm

    Ladies, you have given me a lot to think about! Maybe it is extra puzzling because we have not yet made the buy-or-build decision. (Hopefully our consultation next week will help move us off that fence.) It would be very different to have two (or even three) girls share a big bedroom like our current master than if two shared a 10 x 10 room with no closet. I suppose the overall floor plan of the house might also have an impact. Sharing bedrooms might not be as hard if there are other spaces in which to find alone time.

    Barb, you bring up a really good point: what works today may not work next year. So maybe there is no such thing as being able to figure it out ahead of time; we need to stay flexible and now is probably a great time to start practicing.

    Mel, on storage. So far, we keep things where we use them. Like all the girls’ socks are in drawers in my front hallway table (drawer dividers keep them sorted) because we don’t have a mud room so the shoes and shoe bench are also in the front hallway. And I have been repeatedly tempted to put Hope and Mercy together in one bedroom and give them the other bedroom for their dressing room (i.e. all their clothes in there) playroom combined. It isn’t conventional but would suit them. (Like they go to bed and get up on different schedules. Getting dressed might wake the sleeping one if the first one up did it in their bedroom. But not if she did it in their ‘dressing room.’) However, I’ve wimped out on doing it because Mercy is a collecter who feels better being near her special things in their specific spaces while Hope is organizationally a free spirit :). We get by on closet organizers plus stacking Sterlite drawers on the closet floor because I store out-of-season stuff in bins downstairs. Originally this was so the girls could better manage their own clothes and traditional dressers were a safety hazard with our then-climber.

    So far, each girl has put dibs on Joy for her roommate :).

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