Mixed Gender Sibling Roommates

When we decided to try for #2, we had to talk out the would-be sleeping arrangements. Roy has a pretty small room, with space enough for his crib, a changing table/dresser, a rocking chair and not much else. And there’s really not another kid room to be had without making some fairly major changes. We’re certainly in no position to move anytime soon. Nor do we want to.

We decided the best option was to move the changing table into the laundry room/hallway right outside of Roy’s room. It will actually fit perfectly in front of a little window there. In further preparation, we installed a dimmer on the overhead hallway light, and Clint built some cabinets above the window, for extra storage. Once we actually move the changing table there and cute it up a bit I’ll snap a photo for you. It feels like a pretty creative, yet logical solution.

So. There will be room enough for two beds/cribs. Maybe a slim dresser or two. As the kids get older, surely Clint will build them the coolest bunk bed ever. We will make the most of every square inch. It kind of feels good. Like composting or re-purposing leftovers. We’re being thrifty with space.

Of course, there are times when I think that the kids need their own space. Deserve it, even. That a boy and a girl, especially, need the privacy of separate rooms.

Then I think about the third-world countries I’ve been to. Multiple kids of mixed ages and genders sharing the same room—the same bed, even. Or people living in more expensive cities, where the kid’s room is a closet. Literally. And then there’s the fact that the family who lived here before us raised four children under this very roof. And we’re worried about squeezing in two?

I love when other parents share their own boy-girl room-sharing situations. Even better are the stories from grown adults about how they grew up sharing a room with their sibling—of the opposite sex, even—and how close it made them. Just this weekend, a woman I met at a party, upon learning I was pregnant with a girl and had a boy at home already, asked, “You have rooms for each?” When I dove into a defense description of our setup, she told me she happily shared a room with her younger brother until the age of 15. “It was a little strange getting our own rooms,” she said. “He spent a lot of time hanging out in mine.”

So I’m homing in on the pros, as related by those who’ve lived this situation. Things like late-night whisperfests and never feeling alone in the middle-of-the-night darkness. We will make the most of what we have and hope that sibling bonds do grow stronger with maximum together-time in small, shared spaces—regardless of gender.

Image: Love illustration via Shutterstock

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  1. by Amanda barker

    On December 5, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    i have a boy and girl in the same room. He just turned four last month she will be three next month. They have always been together and have a strong bond. He is also very protective of her. I love the thought of seperate rooms but like in her case i dont have the room or money to make another room. so til something changes they will be together of course there are fights but all siblings no matter the gender do that :)

  2. by Aimee

    On December 5, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    I am 3 years older than my brother, we shared a room until i was 13. I grew up scared of the dark and he always had trouble sleeping at night,so we made up fairytales to tell each other. we were each others coping mechanism. were in our 20′s now and were still very close. i think sharing a room taught us to get along and share better.

  3. by anti jen

    On December 5, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Sam and Zadie shared a room in Croatia. They’ve called each other best friends since about that time, and I think part of that is the close quarters. They still share a room on the weekends — it’s their special treat when it doesn’t matter if they’re up late talking. Pretty cool stuff, that family stew you’re brewing.

  4. by eve

    On December 6, 2011 at 9:18 am

    My sister has one girl and three boys. They boys rotate sharing a room with her. They all love it! No matter what we have next round, they will share a room with Milo.

  5. by Barb @ A Life in Balance

    On December 6, 2011 at 9:29 am

    I have one girl, ds5, and 4 boys. The oldest, ds15, has his own room because he was an only child for 7 years. The next 2 down are sharing a room, and my daughter shares a room with her younger 3 year old brother. I do have some concerns about privacy, though there’s always the bathroom. So far, the kids are happy, and I think my daughter would miss her roommate if we moved him out.

  6. by Shannon P

    On December 6, 2011 at 9:33 am

    We live in a two bedroom house with three kids so yes our kids will all share a room. We have two boys and a girl. I dislike that the kids can’t have their own rooms, especially when I see friends cute boy/girl rooms. But we can’t afford to move or add on so this is how it is. We live near the Indian Reservation and they have 5-10 people living in single trailers so I at least know my kids will go to school with other kids in the same situation.
    I also have a cousin who lives with his sister and their respective spouses and children. Three bedroom apartment smaller than my house. Total count there? 4 adults and 6 children!

  7. by Meghan

    On December 6, 2011 at 10:39 am

    If you ever get worried about them not having their own space, you could try the options below:

    1. You could try a room divider – one of those folding panel screens. It’s a fancy way of giving them their privacy with an easy way to open the room if desired.
    2. Decorating is easy – there are multiple walls in a room. Each kid can have their own wall or corner to decorate.

  8. by Berit Thorkelson

    On December 6, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Good suggestions, Meghan. Would you believe our kid room’s too small for a divider? But a little personal wallspace is certainly doable.

  9. by Jennifer

    On December 6, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    My boy #1 and my girlie shared a room until he was 7 and she was 5. Now we’ve switched it up so the two boys share, but honestly I think it may have worked better with the boy/girl sharing. They were true best friends in a way they would not have been with separate rooms.

    As they got older they started each wanting some privacy for changing clothes, but they would just ask for privacy and the other would allow for it. Not a problem. Each had their own side of the dresser and their own shelf on the wall to make their own but I really loved decorating a room in not traditional “boy” or “girl” colors and styles.

    Good for you and Clint – you are such good parents, so good at teaching what is really important.

  10. by Jenni

    On December 8, 2011 at 8:09 am

    I have three kids and two kids rooms. I had a boy and a girl in seperate rooms when number 3 came along. So they went in together to stop them being disturbed by the baby. Baby is now 20 months, son 6 and daughter 4. I’ve mentioned moving the girls in together but my son doesn’t want to be on his own! I wouldn’t have thought to put them together if it wasn’t for necessicity, but they love it!

  11. by Devon

    On February 7, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    I know this was posted 2 months ago, but….

    Our house is technically a 3 BR, but only 2 are normal sized, and the 3rd was pretty small BEFORE we added a closet large enough to hold the washing machine. So my daughter (4) and son (almost 3) share the “big” room. Baby #3 is newly on its way. Now this one will be in our room for at least a few months, then in the tiny room, then the plan is to split the older two and put the two same-gender kids in the big room and the “odd man out” in the small room. Except…I’m not sure I can separate these two. Isaac doesn’t remember not having Avery in the same room as him. Avery eats up being the “big kid” and adores having her little brother. So, maybe we won’t split them up for a while? Heck, I expect to be in this house at least another ten years and maybe a 4th baby longer. Why split up a great thing until I have to?
    Anyway, congrats on your new little girl and may your two grow to be the best of friends. ;-)