Should Kids Sleep in the Same Room?

In New York City, kids almost always share a room. And not because everyone in New York believes in co-sleeping. It’s just that space is at a premium. In our building in Brooklyn, there was a family down the hall with a boy and a girl. They shared a room until they went to college. I’ll admit I was a bit aghast at teenagers of the opposite sex sharing a room. But that’s how life is for a lot of people. Whether it’s villages in Africa where entire families sleep in one room, or places like NYC. Space, money and necessity dictate that reality.

I grew up in the country, outside the small town of State College, Pennsylvania. We had a big farmhouse with 4 bedrooms. There were 4 kids. My two brothers shared a room, as did my sister and I. We had a guest room. When I was 12 though, my sister moved into the spare. I remember how elated I was to have my own space.

We are now living in LA and renting a house with three bedrooms all on the same floor. Fia and Emmett each have their own rooms. Thank god, because it’s been a challenge keeping them from waking each other up in the night. Only in the past couple months has Fia started to sleep through his cries. Which is obviously a point many people will make: kids adapt.

We just recently found a house to buy. It’s beautiful and big at 3100 square feet. However the layout is such that there are two bedrooms on one floor (a master and a second one), then on the bottom floor is a guest bedroom and bath. I really don’t want either kid separated from us at night. I like being on the same floor. Plus, the way I feel about having company, we have to have a guest room at all times. Especially one on a separate level. At least that way we have our own space. We are taking a contractor over today to see if there is a way to create two bedrooms out of one or perhaps turning the laundry room into a small bedroom. But I don’t want to get into a lot of construction. Nor do I really want my laundry room in the garage.

I got to thinking: at this age, as long as Emmett continues to progress on the sleeping front (as in not waking up multiple times), is there a reason for them NOT to share a room? I suspect we’d be in this house about 5 years, so we would be far away from the tween or teen years. Then the plan is to move back to New York, where we’d all probably share a room. With the cat. (Kidding.)

Part of me thinks it seems strange to have a big house and yet have the kids share a room. But then I think, maybe not. Maybe it’s a good thing. I guess I want the option to put them in their own rooms if they end up keeping each other–and us–up at night. What do you guys think?

Now if only I was a co-sleeper, and believed in family bed, this problem would be solved. But something tells me that my strong stance on teaching kids to sleep by themselves– and my feeling that parents need their own bedroom– won’t be swayed.

I await your insight.

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  1. by Anne

    On April 9, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    I totally agree with you. It is perfectly fine to have kids sleep in the same room. 2 beds often crowd the room, but let’s face it: They’re in there to sleep. They play in the living room, they eat in the kitchen, they ride their bikes in the street. Why shouldn’t siblings share a room? We not only share a room with our spouses, but even a bed. And we all sleep, and we usually don’t wake up tired. My son actually complains that he’s an only child because, in his own words, he would love a little brother or sister sleep with him in his room, so he wouldn’t be all alone. How about that way of thinking?

  2. by Jeremy

    On April 9, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Normally I’d say you need a 4th bedroom and you should just build it wherever it makes the most sense. But if you really expect this to be a short-term home then I think your kids could stay in the same room with no problem, especially if the 2nd bedroom is large.

    I’m surprised this house is that large but only 3BR. Maybe you want to build a 4th bedroom if it will make the house easier to sell later.

  3. [...] Should kids sleep in the same room? (Parents.com) [...]

  4. by Jill Cordes

    On April 9, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    I love all the thoughts. As it turns out, we took the contractor over and found a crawl space that we can build out to a small third bedroom. Think this will add value too. But it’s nice to know they like to sleep together. I can understand Anne why your son would want to. Fia always wants me to lie down with her. And I often do…

  5. by Tricia

    On April 9, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    I think it’s more of an age thing. When we moved to FL from WI my kids needed to share a room. They were 3 and 6 at the time. I really think it helped with the transition. They shared a room for a few years and when they were younger it was great. My daughter used to wake up a lot at night, but that stopped when she started sharing a room. I think they both slept better. Now they are 14 and 11 and I really can’t imagine them being in the same room. I think your kids will want their own space when they get closer to the pre-teen years. But until then I think they will probably do better in the same room together. Good luck!

  6. by Jill Cordes

    On April 9, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Jeremy–you’re right…it seems like there should be more than 3 bdrms. We have found this problem consistently in our search. Lots of square footage, but not where you want it. It’s strange. But as I said earlier, we found a crawl space that can be turned into a nice bedroom. I promise Emmett won’t be a troll….

  7. by Gwen

    On April 10, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Amy at Alphamom.com has a great take on the room sharing topic. It must be this weeks hot topic.

    http://alphamom.com/parenting/kids-room-sharing-wont-go-to-sleep/

  8. by Claudia Sánchez

    On April 10, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Works for me, my two girls have been in the same room since the youngest one was 1year old, she is now 6!!!!!

  9. by Nina

    On April 10, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    My two youngest are 7 and 4 1/2, and they have been sharing a room for three years now and they love it. They are super close, very protective of each other and have no issues sharing a room at all. I will keep them in the same room for as long as possible. I feel it creates a sense of oneness, they become closer. They fight way less than other kids their age and share together very well. I love it. :)

  10. by Nina

    On April 10, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    I forgot to add that my 7 year old is a boy and my almost 5 year old is a girl. They don’t think it’s weird at all to share a room and neither do we. I hope they will continue to want to share a room for as long as possible.

  11. by Laura

    On April 10, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    I think part of the problems with children today could be curbed by sharing rooms. Too often children get their own room, toys, clothes, and so on which I think makes them unwilling to share and work well with others. For example, most of the time people meet my son they know he is an only child because he has this mentality that the attention and toys are all his because he usually, in our home, does not have to share much. I always noticed this in most (not all) only children I knew growing up. On a similar note, when my sister and me shared a room as children we fought less and had a relationship, but when my mom let us have our own room we began to fight more and never learned how to co-exist in our family. Maybe I am a little too biast because I do not have more than one kid, but I think teaching your children to share space and co-exist also shows them how to get along, contribute, and work together. I like the first comment too, the bedroom is for sleeping, I think this is important to remember-separate spaces for play, work, and sleep tend to be helpful :)

  12. by Amber

    On April 10, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Because I had to share a bedroom with my sister all of my life, I felt it was important that my kids (especially since the older one is a girl and the younger one is a boy) have their own rooms. When my son was 2 1/2 and his sister was 6, we moved into a house where the kids’ bedrooms were connected by an open arch. It was a nice compromise because they had their own space, but were still very close to each other and could talk to each other. I found it very funny, however, that they seemed to prefer to sleep in the same room. Many times one or the other would bring a blanket into the sibling’s room and sleep on the floor. Now, at 10 and 12 my daughter is VERY protective of her individual space, but that only developed about 2 years ago.

  13. by Nichole

    On April 10, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    We live in a large home, have 4 bedrooms, and our 2 boys share a room. They are now 5 and 6 and have always shared a room. I think it’s a great thing for them to develop a close sibling relationship. One room is their playroom and then we have a guest room. I hope they stay together until middle or high school and then one will move into the playroom.

  14. by Kristine

    On April 10, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Our kids have shared a room since my youngest was born. (They are 23 months apart) I’d say it’s been the best thing. We are currently doing an addition to add on another bedroom. The kids go back and forth on whether or not they want their own. (The older..who is 7 wants it more then the younger brother who is 5 now)
    I’m finding that just now that we are starting to have issues at bedtime of them fooling around but before this. I’d make sure to have the extra room but have them share until they are ready to seperate.

  15. by Kathy

    On April 11, 2013 at 11:13 am

    I think that young children no matter the gender are fine in the same room until it becomes uncomfortable for a child. Different states have different laws though. I live in Massachusetts and opposite gender childern cannot be in the same room after the age of 5. I have a 3yr old daughter and am due in a month with a boy. We had a lot to think about in getting the room ready. We decided to put my daughter in her own room in September, otherwise we would have to do it in a year and a half anyway. Do I agree with this? No, I think that a young age is fine to share a room, especially if the room is a good size. My biggest concern is the placement of the kids. I will have a 3 1/2 yr old on the 2nd floor and an infant on the first. We need to decide if we are going to go to th 2nd or stay on the first. Should a child be on the first floor by themselves? Also, stairs are a concern since we do not use the second floor currently my daughter is not used to going up and down the 13 steps by herslef I am very fearful of her falling.