Three Boys. One Room. On Purpose. :: Why We Chose Room Sharing

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READING TIME: 4 min.

Room Sharing“Mom, when will I have my own room?” 

He asked this question every day for about a year. And in my heart I wondered if we had made the right choice. Maybe it would be too hard on him to share a room with his two younger brothers. Maybe all the friends and family members that were insisting my then-six-year-old would need his own space were right…

But, what if they were wrong?

You see, we have three boys, ages 7, 4 and 3. And, we make them share a bedroom.

Yes, I know. Someone call Child Protective Services. In this decade it’s considered a crime that they don’t each have their own Pottery Barn decorated space to express their personalities and to privately process their lives.

But, they don’t.

It’s not that we don’t have the room. We could have worked it out so not everyone had to share. Yet, we chose not to.

Here are three simple reasons why:

1.  We want them to be close. Sure you can’t force your children to get along with each other. But, there is something about having to sleep within the same 12 by 12 square foot space that makes you “in it together.”

We get the most flak about our rooming situation from people concerned that our introverted oldest son needs his own space. Yet, I truly believe that giving him his own room would allow him to physically and emotionally grow up separated from his younger siblings.

The sharing situation has forced them to become better friends. I understand that they are young still and things change. But, my thinking is that they’ll be more likely to stay friends if they start now. Expecting them to suddenly become buddies when they are older, if they’ve never been close, seems unrealistic to me. They play together. They talk before they go to sleep at night. They even wake up and chat in the morning before getting up. There is no mistaking the fact that they are brothers.

I won’t sugar coat our transition. It has taken some adjustment. When we first moved my youngest into the room with his two older brothers he was only two so he would occasionally cry at night or wake up earlier than they would. But, after a few months, they adjusted to sleeping through noises of every kind and he adjusted to sleeping on his older brother’s schedule.three boys in one room 3

2. Sharing a Room Adds Accountability. Let’s get real: it’s a whole lot easier for kids to get into things they would be better off not getting into when they have a room of their own. Without that “privacy,” our hope is to raise children who better understand that their actions have an impact on others–“no man is an island” as they say. If they leave things a mess, everyone suffers when they step on the Lego pieces in the middle of the floor. If they forget to throw away something that smells bad…again…they all learn the important lesson.

We want to teach our boys to look out for each other’s best interest. We hope that they’ll also learn how to lead and guide each other with the occasional, “Man, you shouldn’t be doing that” or, “Why do you have this?” as they get older.

We do try to find ways for them to each have their own space. We try to emphasize that beds aren’t community property. But, they’ll never have the opportunity to come home, close the door, and do what they want without anyone else knowing what that is.
Three boys in one room 2

3. Having Your Own Room is Not A Real Life Scenario for Most. I grew up with my own room and had quite an adjustment when I got to college and suddenly had to learn how to function in shared space. After school, even though I remained single for the next decade, roommates were a part of my normal life because, frankly, it’s expensive to live alone! Getting married: Yep, one more roommate I had to adjust to.

For most, having your own private space is a luxury that ends after high school graduation. For our boys, it’ll be a luxury they may only know if they move out and earn enough money to live alone. I’m hopeful that someday their college roommates, wives, or roommates will thank us for teaching our boys how to share a space well.

Three boys 1 room 1

Even though they only have one room, I have worked hard to make certain that it’s a room that they all feel comfortable in. Last year, I made the room over in a Lego theme, since that’s what they are all into (You can check out my DIY Lego Room at this link).  And, we moved all of their toys to a community play room to keep our sleep time and our play time a little bit more separate (and to allow my older son the freedom to play while his younger brothers nap in the afternoon.)

The finished room angle 1.
Here’s a picture of their Lego room…all three boys loved it!

What do you think? Would you (do you) have your children share a space?

11 COMMENTS

  1. Wonderful- we absolutely have our boys share a room. I have three boys also (4,2,1) and they will always share a room. I am also a minister to middle school and high school students and in my opinion with all the responsibility that teens and kids have today with technology alone it is wise to have that accountability of sharing a space and not being able to isolate themselves. Great blog. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I have three girls (8, 6, and 2) that all share a room. Partly because we DON’T have the room for them all to have their own spaces, but mostly for many of the same reasons listed here. Another big reason: keeping one kids’ room clean is easier than three! And let me tell you – these sisters are TIGHT. I sometimes even catch them sleeping in one bed all together!

  3. We’ve always had communal bedrooms. The benefits far outweigh any difficulties.

    With seven (aged 18Y to 4M), we have a boy’s room and a girl’s room. My kids have, on occasion, wanted a special place to keep their STUFF, but really haven’t minded sharing sleeping space. We, too, have a playroom.

  4. Preach it! My hubby built a triple bunk for older three boys– 7,5,3 and they love it. It isn’t all roses but most of the things that are right for my kids are hard. And my twin boys (9 months) share a crib. They’ve shared the womb, why separate them now? 🙂

  5. Hi I have a question about how you did this. We have two girls about 14 months apart, they are 2 months and 16 months right now. The plan all along has been for them to share a room. Our 16 month old sleeps great through the night but I don’t want to jeopardize that, so I’m trying to figure out at what point I should try to move our youngest in. Thanks for sharing!

    • Rachael, each time I have a baby, he/she stays in my room until 6-8 months, but after that, moves into the baby crib in the kids’ room. The toddler currently occupying the crib has to move out of the crib and into the full size bed (against the wall) with someone else. No one has ever had a hard time with it. They all just get used to the noises. 🙂
      I also read aloud in the full size bed to the kids who want to listen. The baby in the crib gets used to falling asleep with all the reading and accompanying noises from the kids. Baby is always asleep before I’m done. 🙂

  6. LOVE THIS! I couldn’t agree more. We only have 2 boys (so I understand that a 3rd boy has an exponential effect), and they have shared a room ever since the younger one left the crib. They are now 7 and 5 and closer to each other than I had ever hoped they would be.

  7. I usually don’t reply to blogs… But I thank you so very much for this. My only intentional child was my first boy. I’m pregnant with boy number three. She’s 4, 2 and due in March. I was so worried about this because we don’t have the room.. We keep most of the toys in the living room. I’m so glad this is ok.

  8. Wondering how this is working out? We currently have 3 boys (ages, 2,5, 8) sharing a room and its been working great but I do feel like we are not making the best use out of the space in our home because we are throwing everyone in to one room. I can see snippets where my 8 year old is wanting his personal space (he puts things in places the others can’t reach, he accumulates his “special” toys in specific areas) and I am just wondering if he needs to be in his own room. My 2 year old sleeps in a trundle that pulls out under their bunk bed. At some point he needs a legit bed right? They all 3 have an incredible bond that I absolutely love!

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