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As with many of the questions associated with child rearing, there is no set answer for everyone. To decide at what age your siblings should have their own rooms, you need to consider several different aspects of their relationship as well as their ages, personalities, and whether they are of the same or opposite sex.
Some common reasons parents give for children having separate bedrooms are:
Generally speaking, boys and girls should have separate bedrooms when they reach the age where modesty becomes important. Initially, their need for privacy may be met by changing in separate areas or at different times. However, by the time they reach puberty, the need for privacy and space must be respected and provided.
If children are of the same sex, sharing a room as long as both children are comfortable doing so is just fine. If your children are close and feel comfortable sharing their space and possessions, sharing a room can build a bond that will last a lifetime, so a children’s bunk bed may be the perfect option. However, usually one or both of the children will eventually express a desire for their own space. Sharing toys, especially if there is more than a few years difference in age, can cause problems. The older child may not like their younger sibling “messing with their stuff.”
Sometimes siblings resist a move to their own, separate spaces. If this occurs, try one of the following:
Have one or two nights a week – perhaps the entire weekend – be a time for a sibling “sleepover” where they stay in the same room.
If you do not have the room to separate your children, you can create a specific area for each child to keep their clothes and toys. Alternatively, create a “wall” with floor to ceiling bookshelves or a curtain to divide the room into two entirely separate sections. When it is time for your children to have separate rooms:
Whilst it is not illegal, the NSPCC does recommend that girls and boys over the age of 10 have their own bedrooms; even if they are siblings or step-siblings. There is legislation in place which dictates that if children over the age of 10, of the opposite sex, are sharing a room then this could be considered overcrowding and should have their own rooms. Generally, the legislation regarding overcrowding is relating more to rented housing or those owned by a housing association as they have rules in place to prevent too many people living in one house.
Use common sense when deciding if your children should share a room. Observe their behaviour with each other. Talk to them occasionally about how they feel about sharing a room. With loving, open communication and awareness of their sibling relationship you can make a decision with which you and your children will both feel comfortable.