Space Issue

Jennifer - posted on 04/04/2010 ( 37 moms have responded )

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My little girls, 11 and 5 both have to share a bedroom; how do I create space for my oldest girl?

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Carla - posted on 04/16/2010

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Back in the days of the dinosaurs, we had 4 kids (2 boys, 2 girls) in the same room. We had bunk beds. Since there was such a vast age difference (12, 9, 2 and 1) having your own space was impossible. I agree with the ones who have advised that this is a lesson in sharing, cooperation and learning to help others. If we wanted privacy, we had to go outside! Alone time? I shared a bed with my sister, 10 years my junior until I left to get married!

I feel it's very important to have community in families. My brother and I, the elders, helped the little ones dress, make beds, clean up their toys, etc. It was kind of like the Waltons, and we were the better for it.

Private space and privacy, to me, are over-rated. We are not always going to be afforded such luxuries (like when you become a mom and they pick the lock on the bathroom door to get into you!), and sometimes I think we do a disservice to our children in making such a big deal over private space. We are all in this world to help, to encourage and build up each other, and you might as well learn that early!

Love to you, darlings!

[deleted account]

Is the door in the middle of the wall? When I was a kid, my mom put our furniture back to back against each other in the middle of the room. So when you walked in, if you went to the right, you were in my sister's "room" and to the left was mine. The space was clearly divided, which I appreciated, since I was 8 years older and definitely needed my own defined space. It also made it easier for my little sister to see the dividing line - rather than asking a four year old to remember the imaginary line in the middle of the floor.

Kathryn - posted on 04/15/2010

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i have two 3 1/2 year old twins and a 1yr old. they all share a small room. i agree with some of these comments but, not all. i think the different color walls is a great idea! they can hang up their own posters or pictures and make their own sides unique. but i really think they should learn to share their sides for fun time or if they share a closet, they kind of NEED to cross over. i don't think asking for permission is necessary. however, if they want to use or play with each others things, it can be a good lesson on being polite if they ask the other first. of course before you do anything, see if they like it just the way it is. if so, no worries:) hope this helps!

Deirdre - posted on 04/15/2010

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I would use a loft bed. Let the 5 year old have the loft (my 4 year old climbs up to her loft) and the 11 year old can have her bed under the loft with a desk and even a bean bag chair (or other cool seating). Ikea has a lot of cool furniture and they have loft beds that are higher than the average so that the 11 year old would be able to fit underneath and sit at her desk etc. That maximizes the space so that then the 5 year old could have a corner for herself as well. I don't like the dividing up of the room. They're sisters and they should learn how to cohabitate. My sister and I (though only 2 years apart) grew up sharing a room and it made us closer and taught us how to negotiate and compromise (though we didn't know that that was what we were doing then). It's a good learning experience.

Jessica - posted on 04/15/2010

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My boys are 2.5 and 7. They have bunk beds. My oldest has two shelves that run the length of his bed for all his big kid toys. Whenever he wants to get away he can climb up there and play by himself with his leggos or something and know that his lil bro can't bother him. We have another bedroom and could separate them but we'd rather use the extra room for a play room. That way if they don't have time to pick up their toys we don't have to trip over them in the morning.

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Jennifer - posted on 05/17/2011

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This is a little funny; just the other day I was sitting in my daughters bedroom (6 & 12) thinking the same thing, but you know they seemed to have worked it out themselves. I'm not sure if bunk beds are an option, but they work great to create space. My girls kind of just took over opposite sides of the room. Autumn has all her dolly's & kitchen area on one side the room, & Angela took over the other side with her desk, and shelf. I guess it works for them because the older one doesn't have a lot of stuff, just particular things, like hair straightener.... It's nice when you walk in because you can feel and see the different living area in such a small room.

Tara - posted on 04/22/2010

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my 6 year old son and 8 year old daughter share a room and we divided the room in half with a large dowel rod. they each got to pick out the color paint for their half of the room and then they decided on curtains together to hang on the rod. then when they need space, they can just close the curtains and when they feel like hanging out, we push them back. it has worked out very nicely.

Beth - posted on 04/16/2010

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The more expensive option would be to get tri-fold separators, like those made of lattice. A less expensive option would be to get refrigerator boxes from an appliance store. Let each girl decorate her divider any way she wishes. Let that be her office. If you do it for the 11 year old, the 5 year old will want one, too. It won't be a lot of room but when one of the girls is in her office, there is no trespassing by the sister. It's a matter of learning to respect one another's needs and space. Beth Brown

Catherine - posted on 04/16/2010

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One thing I did when my kids were sharing a room is this: they had bunk beds and I installed curtains around the beds (hanging of the ceiling for the oldest on top, hanging from the top bed for the youngest under). It was very simple, cheap, they go to choose the fabric. I put a tall piece of furniture (could be a shelf) next to the bed so the oldest had a space to put his books, his lamp, a glass of water, etc. and I screwed shelves on the wall. Basically, it turned their bed space into a private little living room. You just need to buy wood poles at a hardware store and a few sets of hooks. The kids were thrilled and they both had a private area. They loved closing the curtains at night ("it's like a tent!"). We painted the walls with a horizontal separation: lowest part was chosen by the youngest, highest by the oldest.

Emma - posted on 04/16/2010

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you could section a bit of the room off, by having a screen and some of her things around it or if you have a dining room or spare room let her us it as her own space. i hope this helps, my two girls share but a bit different as mine are nearly 6 and nearly 3, they have bunk beds for more space and the older one sometimes plays puzzles in our kitchen or our bedroom.

Bianca - posted on 04/15/2010

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I have 2 boys that share rooms. I have a 6 yr old and a 2 yr old, they have bunk beds so i give the liberty to my oldest to decorate the ceiling and the top to the wall by his top bunk. my oldest also has his homework desk that he can organize and deck out the way he wants, and the rule for the youngest is he gets the floor and the one of the room walls. So far it's worked, I will just have to see when they get older.

Judith - posted on 04/15/2010

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I used a wall divider, each could paint or decorate it to match there taste. I worked great was removable when we moved.

Tiffany - posted on 04/15/2010

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Well you could do what i was planning on doing with mine and my hubbys bedroom. (but didnt) Take two colors that they both choose. Paint a line down the middle of the room in both colors. Pain one side with each color that they choose and paint the trim window seals or any details in the color that the oppisite chooses on the oppisite color walls. If it makes since. For Example : One choses pink one choses purple. Paint one half of the room pink with purple trim paint the other half purple with pink trim. Put each of their stuff on the side of the room that has the base color they chose. And to make it fun, you could always hang beads down the center of the room from the celing to make like a fun devider. I think it would be cute, I have always wanted to paint a room like that but we have 2 kids and live in a 4 br house so both kids get their own room.

Shannon - posted on 04/15/2010

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I had the same issue. I put a wooden loft bed over a queen bed. Made it special under there with a small wood bookcase and lamp. They were both happy.

Megan - posted on 04/15/2010

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my boys are still too little to worry. but i shared a room most of my childhood and we didn't have our 'own' space other than our bed but we spent alot of time outside and i do remember having my own special places in the yard where i loved to sit and read.i think sharing space is a great lesson for children, there's so much to learn about tolerance, co-operation, sharing and so much more. i was the older sister by 7 years and i remember that we'd get creative sometimes and improvise our own barriers!

Theresa - posted on 04/15/2010

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do you have a backyard area?? let her help "build" a girls' fort. She'd love it I'm sure!

Beth - posted on 04/15/2010

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Bunk beds, Tv in the middle of the room, closet space was split and dressers split, they had the biggest dresser int he house because of less room. I have two boys 9 and 11 who shared since birth of my youngest boy. I have a daughter now which means they will most likely continue to share a room for awhile.

Sarah - posted on 04/15/2010

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when I was young my sister and I shared a room and we each had a loft bed with a desk under it, that was our space the other was not aloud in without asking or being invited.

Melissa - posted on 04/15/2010

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i don`t see anything wrong with kids sharing a room- It was one of my fondest memories listening to the big boys chatting at night or the girls giggling-

Vanessa - posted on 04/15/2010

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I just wanted to say thanks to all the ladies, I have a 6 and 2 year old girls who will soon be sharing a room, because I'm preggers with number 3 and this has been on my mind alot. I found your suggestions helpful. And thanks Jennifer for asking the question.

April - posted on 04/15/2010

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My girls share a room, and we've tried EVERYTHING. Some of the things that have worked best, is putting the bunk bed in the middle of the room, with each of them getting a side of the room, and their half of the closest. We've done loft beds, as well as single twin beds on each side of the room. The biggest issue we've had is the littlest one getting in to the oldest things'. So for Christmas she got a locker that fits in the closet. Now, when she gets mad at her sister for "ruining" something, she can be held accountable because she has a locked space to keep her things away from sister.

[deleted account]

My girls are closer in age (7 1/2 & 10) but they have shared a room on and off since the beginning. I would get bunkbeds and make a rule that they have to be invited to be on each other's beds. Elsewhere in the house, it would help to give each child a specific place that is just their own for eating and homework, such as a specific place at the table and a desk in a particular corner of the room. That way, they don't feel like they're constantly on top of one another.

Angie - posted on 04/15/2010

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I have a 14 year old daughter,& a 17 year daughter that r sharing a room.they both like differant things.How to I give them there space & privicey.like when there friends come over or If they just want to be by them selfs for awhile.

Ann - posted on 04/15/2010

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We used a bunk bed system for our girls who are 6 years apart. For sleeping privacy the younger on had a tent on the top and the older had a curtain across the rail on the bottom. We added lights inside their little spaces so they really felt a sense of atonomy.

Jessica - posted on 04/15/2010

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My boys share a room and we built loft beds. This creates a lot more space in the room, and they can each have their own desk underneath their bed, giving them each their own defined space.

Berni - posted on 04/15/2010

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I like this idea because you could use a tie back on the wall to bring the curtain up when they don't want, or need the room divided.

Angie - posted on 04/15/2010

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My kids shared a room and still do. Bunk beds for the boys but the girls prefer a full sized bed! Different color hangers for each child in the closet to identify clothing easily and bins to match hangers. Girls are hot pink and green and boys are red and black! Curtians match....beds are their colors and their rooms look fabulous on a shoe ... See Morestring budget! Use hanging coat racks for things, book cases with bins and tops of dressers for tv and such! Toys can be stored under bed in bins, or in closet with larger bins! With each child having their own color it makes responsible for their own things! Also.....we went a step farther and each child has his or her own towels (color coded as well!) Look into a coat tree and have hook hung lower for younger child and high for oler child to hang stuff as well! Decorate with things that coordinate with their colors such as posters or mirros!

Jennifer - posted on 04/15/2010

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My fiance and I have 4 daughters between us and one baby incoming....We did bunkbeds for the little ones and personalized storage tubs for each. All girls know that you don't touch a container that doesn't belong to you. Their drawers are assigned in the dressers...and we have a spacer in each closet...2 girls per room. As far as decorations go...they can put up their preferred decorations on whichever wall is considered theirs. Older and younger girls are hard cuz before he and i got together I was in a smaller house and the same boat as you...11 and 5 for my lil ones as well...unfortunately even with all these little methods, lil ones don't always listen so well and there were issues now and then. Sometimes having something as simple as a combination lock on their own box for storing precious things can help. The house I'm in now allows the oldest 2 girls to have single beds so it's easier for them.

Brianna - posted on 04/15/2010

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Bunkbeds are always a GREAT option! Or, for girls, a daybed with trundle! Lots of shelves and bins for books, toys, etc. My boys shared a 10x10 room for 4 years and now that they have their own rooms my youngest sneeks into my oldest sons room to sleep on the floor next to him....EVERY night!!! All those years of sharing a small space REALLY bonded them!! Good luck!

Amber - posted on 04/15/2010

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We have 5 kids and 2 bedrooms lol. Our 3 little ones ages 4,6 and 7 share a room and my oldest girls 10 and 14 share one. My husband built loft beds for each of them. They each have their own space under the bed for their things. You can use curtains for privacy. Hope this helps:)

Kerry - posted on 04/15/2010

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Our girls (age 14 & 10, sharing since ages 8 & 4) room is so tiny the best we could do for them was bunkbeds. lol Currently looking for a new house!

Kerry - posted on 04/15/2010

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1st i'd have to ask if they liked and enjoyed sharing a room? if so there are shelving units that can be used as room dividers and painted any way you want.

Sierra - posted on 04/15/2010

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do a partition. make it a partition because they'll want to spend some time together. but with the partition she can have her "own space" without making another room. and if i were her i wouldn't want something that's just see through or fabric, i'd want something that "sets" a real boundary; such as the wooden hinged partitions you can get. i've heard their cheap and a lot of schools with growing classes use them to split a classroom, so that way the older has her own space, and the five year old doesn't permanently lose that bond with her big sister, just sometimes! hope that helps. =]

Stephanie - posted on 04/15/2010

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I really like the idea of letting the girls paint their side of the room their fave color. Some bead curtains is a really cute idea too. They have bright multicolored ones that would look adorable. And make sure that they both know they have to ask to come on eachothers side of the room.

Vicki - posted on 04/04/2010

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Hi, thats tricky depends on the size of the room etc.

There are nice beaded curtains or sheer material could be hung to seperate the physical area, say to the younger one that they are not allowed in that area as it is for her sister. If you want a more private area a cupboard or bookcase could be used as a solid divider. With either look you could get both children to help set up the room so it is a look that you like and they can live with.

Lacey - posted on 04/04/2010

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what my parents did when i was a child was divided the room with desks colors on the walls like pink and green or their fav colors its a sense of having boundries in a combined room talk to her ask her what she wants

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