Bedrooms Set Up – Mixing It Up

Recently we made changes to the set up of the kids’ bedrooms.  We have a three bedroom house plus large home office, which is where I blog and undertake all my other work.  With five kids and a gender composition of four boys and one girl, we are finding this a little tricky.

In most cases I don’t believe kids need to have their own rooms.  I think sharing a room teaches kids important life skills like negotiation, respect and consideration for others.  I have great memories of sharing with my sisters.   I also remember many squabbles, fights and times when lines were drawn in the middle of the room!

We decided to mix up the bedroom set up for the kids, as the bickering and the continuing mess in one of the rooms was driving me crazy.  I suggested one Sunday morning to the kids I thought we needed to make a change and I would like them to think about what combination might work better.  Within less than an hour, bedding was being moved and kids were enthusiastically changing the sleeping arrangements of the house.

We went from one bedroom containing the 9 (daughter), 7 and 4 year old and the other containing the 14 and 12 year old, to one room having the 12 and 9 year old and the other having the 14, 7 and 4 year old.

My husband was a little skeptical on whether this would in fact be any improvement and to be honest I wasn’t sure if it would work.  The 14 year old goes to bed much later and then likes to read when he is in bed and I thought this could be quite disruptive for the younger ones.  He has a study area outside of the room, so room to study was not an issue though.

I think it has worked (so far!) because:

  • The 14 year old has less space to make a mess with.
  • The 14 year old using a bed lamp for night time reading is not disturbing the other kids.
  • While the 14 year old and 12 year old enjoy each others company, they needed space from each other at this point of their development.
  • The 9 year old is happier and not so snappy at the younger kids.  She really was the one undertaking most of the tidying duties in the room and the frustration of this was carrying on outside of just the room tidy up.
  • The 7 and 4 year old are tidying up after themselves more.  Unlike their sister, their 14 year old brother won’t tidy their stuff in the room.  He will however tell them what they need to do while lying on his bed and continue to remind them that they need to do it themselves.
  • The 4 year old is sleeping in more as the very early rising (before 6.30am usually) 9 year old is no longer in his room.  The 4 year old has a busy life so sleeping until around 7am is better for him.
  • On weekends the 14 and 7 year old both like to sleep in.  The 4 year old wakes and leaves the room quietly and they are not disturbed.  Well at least not until I get them up for sport.
  • The 12 and 9 year old both like order.  I think the 12 year old is keeping things more orderly now as his sister does too.  The room is consistently so much tidier.

Long term though, we are going to have start thinking about where the kids will sleep.  Our daughter will need to have her room of her own, as she gets older, for privacy reasons.  But at the moment mixing it up is working!  How long for you can never really tell, but making this change did remind me of a quote, whose author is unknown, but it is often attributed to Albert Einstein:

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” 

I love routine and consistency, but when things aren’t working you need to make changes.  When it comes to family, we have the greatest success with change the more we involve the kids – seeing them as part of the solution not just the problem.

How do you manage the bedroom set up in your house?