Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Making Space For Children In A Large Family

Having lots of kids means many sacrifices large and small.
One thing we sacrifice most is space.
We live in a standard 3 bedroom home like many other families. Our boys, (4 of them), sleep in bunks in one room and my eldest daughter has her own room. When Celeste is old enough for a bed, she too will bunk in with her big Sis.
It was the same for me when I was growing up. 
I have met many parents over the years however, who were unwilling to have further children because it would mean their child or children would no longer have a room of their own.
I always found this a rather strange way of family planning. Quite materialistic even.
My kids do enjoy their own time and space but they also love their together time. Sharing a room means they always have each other to play with and talk to. I really enjoy hearing their conversations and spying on the games they create. Often it's when they don't know I am present that I have gathered some of my greatest memories of their childhoods. (Probably because they are not abandoning the game in favour of asking me for something, which is never fun)!

 
One of my favourite games the kids invented was a game my eldest two made up when they used to share a room together. They called it 'chinkabunga!' Basically it involved a loose blanket on each of their beds which they would toss in the air and then dive beneath. It kept them entertained for ages!
Recently all 5 kids have been enjoying murder in the dark together. Then there's Nerf wars and Nintendo DS group gaming sessions. Even better, is when they all read quietly alone or together.

When the younger ones are afraid of little kid fears, like darkness and night time noises, it's the reassurance that the older children's presence provides, that comforts them.

 
When one of the kids has a friend over, the bedroom temporarily becomes their own room. This gives them their valuable free time, space and the privacy they crave to enjoy with their friend. It works well for them. More often than not, all the kids will choose to hang out with the friend. Usually the guest is very curious about what it's like to have so many siblings and is equally happy with their addition to the play!


Keeping the house tidy is easier too, if they are confined to one room. They are all responsible for the tidiness of their space. This has become more important since the size of our family has grown. I cannot keep up with the mess anymore.

 
It's far from perfect though. The kids do fight. The age differences can be problematic at times. Particularly if a younger child cries in the night and keeps others awake. Thankfully, all of my kids are great sleepers and always have been. Kids learn fast to behave around each other and know what triggers a tanty in a sibling! They have learned to respect each other's space. It's a what goes around, comes around situation which they learn the meaning of very quickly.
I would have to say tantrums and bickering happen far more frequently outside their shared bedroom than within it.

Do your kids share a room?
How have you found the arrangement you have in place?

 
 
 

21 comments:

  1. Kids always fight ;) I bet none of them would sacrifice any of their siblings just for the sake of more space! Having each other brings so much more than space would!

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  2. I only have one child so this is not an issue for us. But I remember sharing a room with both my sisters in a couple of different places we lived, and when we moved into a house that let us all have our own room we were all ecstatic! I think it's fine when they're younger to share rooms, but it's nice when you're older to have your own space, and place to escape the crazy. -Aroha (#teamIBOT)

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    1. Astoundingly, even when we have travelled and there's more than enough rooms, they will start out in separate rooms and within hours, bundle into one or two again to be with one another! I shared throughout my childhood and into my teens. We ended up dividing our room with furnishings to create our spaces. More often than not, as kids grow, they spend less time at home and more out in the world. Our bedroom became a place to crash for sleep only and not the playroom / recreation room it currently is for younger kids.

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  3. There are five of us in a two bed room town house. It is cosy but like you said it teaches everyone about respecting theirs, and others, things. Plus less space is less to clean up.

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  4. Yes! And I am really big on teaching the kids to respect the differences in each other and their possessions. :D

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  5. I've always actually loved how on American tv shows the kids share those gorgeous bedrooms.
    I only have the two kids and as much as they fight they also love each so very much, they do have a small bedroom each but actually sometimes sleep together by choice!

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  6. Oh wow I am so nostalgic now for my childhood and I REAllY hope I'm able to have a couple more kids, so that my daughter isn't an only child - we had so much fun as a big family too! I remember when I first got my own room (as the only girl for a long time, I got my own room first too) - I would often sneak back into my brothers' room and jump into one of their beds for the company!

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    1. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you!

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  7. Great post! The twinlets share a room and I have a feeling it'll always be that way. We only have a 2 bedroom place but it's plenty big and it suits us just fine. Children find a way to make space. Love the games your children play. Sounds like a tight knit bumch there :) x

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    1. Twins are such a blessing. They will always want to be together! You are SO blessed!

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  8. I love the idea of kids sharing a room. My two are in separate rooms at the moment, mainly because the baby still wakes a few (or many) times a night. But I'm hoping to move them in together in another year or so and convert the other room into a play room or study. It seems like a waste of space (to me) to have a room per person, and it also seems lonelier somehow. But I'll see how we go...

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    1. That's a great idea. The play room can get really messy and the bedroom will always be tidy! I wish I had space for a playroom. I need a laundry room too so that I no longer have to bother putting all the clothing away!

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  9. I'm a big advocate of kids sharing rooms; I think it can teach them so much about learning to respect each others space, plus all the positives you have. In an ideal home, when my kids are older, I would have a huge room for the three girls and then BJ on his own, though I think he will probably hate that. He has sleep overs with his two other sisters when my eldest is on school camp or at a friends :)

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  10. I think my comment got gobbled up! BOO. But I'm finding it hard with my boys nearly 2 and 3.5 they wake each other all the time. Also makes day sleeps hard so baby is in our bed! But then he wants in there at night, sometimes I regret making them share so young :(

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    1. Yes I remember that too. We used to sleep the baby in our lounge room at night so that we'd all get some sleep until they were old enough! They will get better though.
      Good luck with that!

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  11. My three have their own rooms. Thinking about it I wonder if it's because I'm an introvert (get my energy from being alone) so I give that space to them - regardless of whether they actually want it or not. I love the idea of room sharing. I shared with my sister for 15 years.

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  12. Mine all share, and I also eaves drop on their conversations- just gorgeous x

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  13. I can so relate, except mine are terrible sleepers! We have our three middle girls in together in two sets of bunks, then our oldest and youngest each have their own rooms as there's a bigger age gap either side (ours are 10, 6, 6, 5 and 1). I totally agree about sharing a room being one of the special joys of a bigger family, I often find my middle 3 all snuggled up together in one bed, not because they have to, but because they can.

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  14. We have a large 4 bedroom house and consider ourselves very fortunate to have so much space. We only have 2 boys aged 5.5 and 3.5 and funnily enough they chose to share a bedroom and have bunk beds!!! They have a playroom, but more often than not they can both be found playing lego on their bedroom floor. I am so happy that they are great mates and brothers. My best friend lives in a much smaller 2.5 bedroom house and has 5 children under 7yrs. Her eldest daughter has a small sleepout style bedroom, her middle three boys share a large bedroom and the baby's cot is in the parents room. They are all happy with the sharing. The kids love being together and playing together :) Louisa

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