A number of months ago, I mentioned online that our three kids share a bedroom. A lot of people were shocked, surprised, or even bothered by our decision to have all three of our kids in the same bedroom.
I personally was surprised at how many people said the picture made them feel so much better. Many people wrote in and told me that they had no idea that our house wasn’t huge and spacious and perfect. They said that seeing that picture helped them to realize that just because we do have a really spacious kitchen and living area, that doesn’t mean that our entire house is huge and perfect!
Let me be clear: We do have a great rental house — it does have a great kitchen, it has a wonderful backyard, it’s in a really convenient location, and our rent is very low for this area.
Compared to many places we’ve lived, this is a really nice house. But it pales in comparison to our previous house. The floor plan is not set up well for our family, it doesn’t have a basement, it’s not conducive for hosting big groups, and we’ve had leaks and termites and A/C problems and ear wigs and a host of other issues while living here.
We rented this house sight unseen because we were living in Kansas when it was available and there was no way we could make it to TN to check it out with Jesse’s work schedule. Plus, it just didn’t feel like a wise use of time or money to drive or fly out to check out a house before we signed a contract on it.
So we asked some of our TN friends if they’d go look at it for us and make sure they felt it was okay to rent. They graciously agreed to do a walk-through and sent us a video tour of it and said they thought it would be good to rent.
We talked to the landlords at length, did as much research and investigation as we could from afar, and both felt this was the house we should go with. So we signed a two-year lease on it, because that was what the landlords were offering.
It was a little crazy to pull up to the house the day we moved and see the area and neighborhood and house for the very first time knowing that we’d signed a contract to live here for two years!
Many people have suggested that we should have purchase a house here when we moved instead of renting. We only briefly considered that option, but we knew that it wasn’t a good option for us for a few different reasons.
1) Housing prices are MUCH higher here — so there was no way we could afford to pay cash for a house at the time.
2) We didn’t want to mess with having to try to sell our house + find a new house + pack up everything and move our family across the country all at the time same.
3) We didn’t know if we were even going to stay in TN long-term.
So we decided renting was our best option — and it’s been a great option for us, despite the drawbacks of the current home we’re in.
One of the biggest drawbacks is that, due to the limited bedroom space, all three kids are in one bedroom. Some people would say we are terrible parents for living in a house where they all have to share a room and don’t have a lot of their “own space”.
Honestly, even though they are 11, 9, and 7, we see so many blessings and benefits for the three of them sharing a bedroom. Here are 3 of those blessings and benefits:
1. It Helps Them Learn to Get Along With Each Other
I grew up in a family of 9 and I remember my mom always telling me that if we can learn to get along with our siblings, we could probably get along with just about anyone. We like to remind our kids that sharing a bedroom with two other people who are very different than you is a valuable life skill!
You get to learn how to be gracious when other people are “in your space”, you get to learn how to keep your area more clean, you get to learn to work together to keep the room clean, and you learn to share your space well with others.
(And honestly, most of the time, they really love being together. Last night, they were all in their room talking and laughing together for at least 30-45 minutes before they fell asleep. It’s not always like that and there is plenty of arguing that goes on, too, but I think they actually do really enjoy the closeness that sharing a room provides!)
2. It Teaches Them Contentment
When Jesse and I were first married, we lived in a basement apartment. Our budget was very tight and we did everything we could to stay out of debt. Those sacrifices are — in big part — what has allowed us to be where we are today.
But here’s the truth: Our kids were little when we made a lot of financial and personal sacrifices to get to the place where we are now. They don’t remember those days.
We want our kids to have the same opportunity we had to learn that happiness is not based upon where you live, the car you drive, or the room you have. You can be content no matter what because contentment isn’t based upon your circumstances, it’s a state of your heart.
3. It Helps to Prevent an Entitlement Mentality
We now have a lot more wiggle room in our budget than we had 10 years ago when the kids were little (or not even born yet!) They get to enjoy things we never imagined we’d be able to afford for them — like swim team and figure skating and even an international trip to South Africa. However, we don’t want them to grow up thinking that everything will be handed to them. We want them to experience short-term sacrifices for long-term benefits.
One simple way we’re teaching them this is through having them share a room right now. We don’t want them to grow up thinking that they can just get whatever they want without having to work for it, save for it, and/or make sacrifices for it.
So we’ve chosen to continue to rent a house that has less than ideal sleeping arrangements (along with a long list of other “less than ideal” things) because it is not only teaching us all good lessons, but it’s allowing us to be able to save more aggressively and give more generously.
By the end of this year, our goal is to have saved enough to pay cash for a house here in TN and we would like to buy a house that has enough space for them to each have their own room (especially since they are getting older), but in the mean time, we’re learning contentment in the house that we’re in and are choosing to be grateful for the many things about it that we love — like the wonderful neighbors, a beautiful kitchen, and a great backyard.
Our hope is that these lessons in contentment will be something our kids will carry with them for the rest of their lives — no matter where they live.
Please note: Do what is best for your family and please be careful if you are putting boys and girls in the same room. This is something we have seriously considered and it is the reason we are planning to move in the next year. We know that these types of sleeping arrangements will not work long-term — especially as our children reach pre-teen age.
However, we have strict modesty rules at our house (Such as: Never change in front of another person. Bathrooms are for changing in, not bedrooms. Always knock on a closed door. Always leave the door open when you are in the room playing with another child. Etc.) and our children have always been very respectful of each other’s privacy and respectful of our modesty rules. I think it’s important to have these types of rules and precautions in place no matter what the sleeping arrangements are at your house.
Ultimately, when it comes to sleeping arrangements, you know your own children and what would best best in your own family. As I always say, it’s so important to do what is best for your own family and your own children!
I have four kids and we live in two houses (lengthy explanation but the short of it is we stay in a house where they have their own rooms for about 5 months and a house where three girls share a room and my boy has his own small space for the rest of the year). When we go into the small house there is a always an adjustment period…a purging of selfishness! BUT within a few days they are laughing and playing and chatting together so much more! The oldest talks more to the younger kids and they are just closer! Frequently my son hangs with his sisters and even sleeps in the same room as them when I let him. I would prefer things differently, but I am, just like my kids, learning contentment!
Thanks so much for sharing your experience! -Jordan, MSM Team
Thank you SO SO much for writing this! My three kids all share a room, similar dynamics and ages to yours – two girls and a boy. We actually have a 3 bedroom house,but the layout is extremely weird so it means my daughter, the oldest, would have her room at the absolute other end of the house and she has been too scared to sleep there on her own, which i don’t blame her – it feels like a completely separate house! So we put her in with my boys, hung up a curtain to divide the room and give her a little privacy, and it has worked fine! But some people’s reactions have been silly, and when my daughter tells someone she shares a room with her brothers they give her a hard time about it too. I was able to show her this post and she said to me, “that makes me feel better!”
When she is a little older she will move to the other room, but for now, this is what works. My kids all read together before bed in their room and are good friends. The door is always open. No one changes in there, they change in the bathroom. Really, it comes down to the fact that they really are only sleeping in there. When they are playing they are out in the other rooms.
Desiree Childs says
My kids are 16&17 now and have their own rooms, but they are only a year apart and are incredibly close and bonded. When they were younger, even when we got a house big enough for them to have their own room, they would end up in each other’s rooms at night because up until recently, one always had a bunk bed anyway. At times they have had to share a room out of necessity for various reasons, and I have learned that people always have something negative to say no matter what. But at the end of the day you just gotta do what you think is best for your family!
I may be naive, I had no idea this was even thought to be an issue. We have 3 bedrooms upstairs, and 3 girls….they insist on sharing a room, they love it!!
Kaycee Fisher says
Your 3 are the same gender. Not an issue at all. Mixed genders based 5 /6 is a big issue, to MOST people.
I think you are teaching your children wonderful things. They will grow up to be caring adults and not entitled.
Also! My husband works for dave ramsey! Paying cash for a house is what it’s all about! Great goals!
Hi!! I just moved to tenneseee myself with my husband and two kiddos. We are in Spring Hill. Where are you? I have followed you for 6-7 years!
Our three kids, Carson he’s 8, Landon he’s 6 and Addison she’s 5 choose to share a room. The boys have been inseparable since we brought Landon home from the hospital and Addison feels most safe and comfortable knowing she has her two older brothers close by.
They have a bond that will never be broken.
Our youngest three also shared a room (it looked the same with the trundle) for many years. They were ages 13,12, and 9- older two boys and youngest a girl when circumstances changed and they each now have their own room. I see nothing wrong with it. Many, many children through the years shared bedrooms. It was a necessity with families before the years of giant homes and a limited number of children. My children were happy to get their own room, but also have missed sharing a room. It was a great time of shared conversation and laughs that they still talk about and I believe they are closer because of it.
I think it is sad that we live in an era that you would feel the need to defend your children’s sleeping arrangements. This country is so privileged that we have forgotten the days when most families lived in one room houses and shared a family bed for warmth. We have a three bedroom home and my sons happen to share the smallest room while their older sister has the most spacious room all to herself. It’s what works for our family. I like following you but I get sad to see negative feedback on your newsfeed.
I agree, Kimberly. You should not have to defend your family decisions. Sharing bedrooms is something that should not even be an issue. They are siblings. Our family is very close…even though we have enough bedrooms for all our children, there have been times when some have shared. Two because of circumstance, the others all but choice. I always laugh when people say, you fit all those people in that house (we have 7 children). I respond with, “oh, easily. We could have half the space and still have plenty of room. We are usually in the same room all the time anyway!”
We moved from a tiny house to a home where all of our kids have their own room…yet, by choice, they are still all sleeping in the same room even almost 2 yrs after moving here. They have didn’t realize the comfort they had from sleeping in the same room until it was a choice. I think it’s so sweet they still want to be together at night!
As of this moment 2 of mine share a room, we are getting ready to put number 3 in with them as he just turned 2. I think it’s fine for them to share. They know to go to the restroom for privacy and they do very well with sharing and our income has not allowed for a bigger home at the moment. I love your points and I’m thankful to have come across them.
Also, I shared a bedroom with two of my siblings at different points growing up, and I have ONLY good memories from those times. I shared with my 11-years-older sister from the time I left my parent’s room until I was six, and then with my 6-years-older brother for a while (I don’t remember how long). It was never a problem. He DID insist I keep all my junk cleaned up, so that wasn’t cool, since I was a hoarder who liked to have piles everywhere, lol. But even though I was old enough to remember sharing a room, I don’t ever remember modesty being a problem or anything like that. It was exactly the same for me as sharing with my sister, except cleaner 😉
I think it’s great that you were willing to take the time to calmly explain your thought process behind your decisions. It’s obvious that you and your husband are careful to think things through and move in what you can know (wouldn’t it be great if we could know the future?!) to be the best direction for your kids through each stage of life.
We also have our kids share rooms, although at this point they are separated by gender. I know for a fact our one boy sometimes feels left out, since the three girls share, but he copes well, and the arrangement is working out. Sharing has really helped our middle girl (3), who has been dealing with major separation anxiety issues for the last nine months. Knowing her older sister is in bed right above her has been a lifeline for her. We have the option of separating some of the girls if needed in the future, but I honestly foresee that room staying just what it is now – space for everyone to chill and hang out together. We will see 🙂 Before we moved to this house we were planning to split them evenly and have two girls in one room and the boy and another girl in the other bedroom, because both rooms were the same size, at least until they were older, when we would evaluate again. Here one room is considerably bigger, so we took advantage of it 🙂
We had all 3 kids in one bedroom for two years, though the youngest was in a cot. We needed to make another bedroom available for an extended family member to live with us for a while. It never felt like an issue!! The majority of the world do not try to put children in rooms on their own.
Deanna Piercy says
I don’t see an issue with it under the circumstances you describe. Our two, a boy and a girl, shared a room in our two bedroom mobile home while I attended nursing school. After I graduated we bought a three bedroom house. They were 5 and 8.5 at the time. Even though they had their own rooms they preferred to sleep in the same room. We put our king size bed in our son’s room and bought ourselves a queen. A year later we bought two twins for his room instead. Our daughter is the younger and she didn’t like sleeping by herself. Our son graciously allowed his little sister to sleep in his room. As soon as he requested that she sleep in her own room we honored that although she often ended up in a sleeping bag outside his door. He occasionally took pity on her and let her sleep in the other bed. We moved to our current home when they were 10 and 13. For some reason the change of houses meant the end of our daughter not wanting to sleep alone. Their rooms were across from each other so maybe that was good enough.
We had the same modesty standards as you describe and truly it was never an issue. Today my son turned 33 and our daughter is 29. He is in a serious relationship and she is married. They consider one another best friends and are very close. I think all those years of talking together before falling asleep plus the fact we homeschooled from 4th/7th grades until graduation contributed to their close relationship.
Modesty standards, careful attention by parents, and a little common sense can definitely make room sharing just fine.
Hi! This is a great post, and it sounds like you have it all taken care of. It helps that there are three, so there is more accountability there, also. You know your children, so I think some of the comments indicating that you are wrong are a little out of place. As you said, it is temporary. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all have huge homes with every convenience?!
I shared a room with my sister for forever, it seemed like. But it was a good thing. It taught me so much about sharing. When I went off to college, I knew how to be a respectful, quiet roommate. It is awesome life prep! Hey, we share rooms with our spouses, don’t we? While that is different, I think the entitlement to own space is a little out of control these days.
We just put our boys together, ages 3 and 1. I held off on putting my baby with his big brother, because our baby (Silas!), always woke up very early (VERY!), and we didn’t want him to wake up big brother. But my husband and I had enough of sleeping out in the living room, so we just transitioned them together and it has gone better than I even thought. Our 3 year old is learning to be quiet and respectful of his brother… it is awesome to see!
This was a GREAT post! It sounds like you’ve done a great job! Oh, the modestly rules are great, too.
I love this!! I live in a 1900 square foot home my husband and I built. We have 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. We also have 12 children, ranging in age of 1 year to 21. Our oldest is renting a room with some friends and the rest live at home.
It’s nice to see we aren’t the only ones that see the benefits of living in close quarters. Due to the numbers in each room my children have learned to share, get along (better, at least), and to not expect life to be handed to them. Now, I’m not saying that just because a child has the room to themselves that they will be this way. I’m just saying that I can see the benefits of shared rooms.
My husband and I have thought about a room addition but for right now we like it better this way. 🙂
Wow! I think what impressed me most was the lack of stuff! Where is all of your kids’ STUFF? Is that seriously all they have in their closet? If that is all, clean-up would be not problem.
I hadn’t realized, but the last 4 places we have lived in, we have either not seen before we pulled up in the moving truck, or have been in once or twice. It is an adventure–but an exciting one!
This is such an interesting topic. We live in a 4-bedroom home, but plan to have our two daughters share a bedroom as soon as our third child is born because we frequently have family visit and would like to retain a guest room. I often get comments from others along the lines of, “You’re not really planning to do that, are you?” Or, “Well that won’t last long!” My husband shared a room with one of his brothers until college and he credits that arrangement with keeping the two of them close despite having very different personalities, hobbies, and groups of friends. Also, something I saw on House Hunters of all places really struck a chord with me. A family was looking at a home in which two of the children would need to share a room. One of the daughters balked at the idea, and the mother turned to her and said, “Well your father and I share a room so why shouldn’t you do the same?” It was so eye opening! The parents, who run and pay for the home, share a space, yet people seem to find it so odd for children to. How might we feel if all the kids shared a room and each parent got their own space?!
I think you stated your case very well. I admire you for trying to live within your means and not fall into debt. The world would be a far different place if everyone had that philosophy! I admit that when I first saw your post, I immediately was concerned about the different genders in the same room. Again, I gained an understanding as I read on and I think your modesty rules are well thought out. In actuality, if guidelines aren’t in place, this could be an issue regardless of whether all the children are in one room or each in separate rooms. As I get older, I realize that we need to always obey the rules that God has established, but it is good not to automatically conform to the rules of society. I think people as a whole too many times try to make each individual and each family fit into one style box. Ultimately, rule making may be generated from an attempt to be gods and tell others what to do. Obey God, but think through the non-Biblical issues. Great article!
My 2 sons shared a bedroom even though we had plenty of space (5 bedrooms). I wanted them to bond. They did have a separate playroom. I think my oldest was almost 15 when we he got his own bedroom.
This generation has gotten soft. In the 1600- early 1900’s sharing living and sleeping spaces was a reality for a huge percentage of the population and is the reality for a huge amount of the world today. My Grandpa was born in 1923, he was one of five kids. They lived in a one room house. He has nothing but wonderful memories. I have five kids in one room at the moment. It isn’t ideal but they are happy. Contentment can be had in small spaces. 🙂
Crystal Paine says
I’m SO sorry you had to go through that! I agree that it is SO important to be talking to our children, really paying attention to signs that something is off… because unfortunately, I personally know a number of cases where abuse has happened — and it was in families you would never expect. 🙁
Charissa | thenotsobusymom says
We are a family of 5 living in a 3 bedroom home. Just recently, we moved all 3 kids (2 girls and 1 boy) into the same room when our son started becoming quite anxious at night. One room is now the sleeping room, and one is the play room. We know it won’t be like this forever, but we needed to do what worked for our family for this season.
Crystal, I think you said it all, “Ultimately, when it comes to sleeping arrangements, “you know your own children and what would be best in your own family.”
I grew up in a 2 bedroom house and shared a room with 2 brothers till I left for college. My folks began an addition to the home after I left when finances allowed. I came home from college one day to “my own room”! We had strict modesty rules at our house also.
We currently live in a 1500sq ft house where we raised two children (they both had their own room). We aspired to move to a larger house…but never happened. Now as we near retirement, it’s just my husband and me-perfect size!
We are looking at a rental now as we consider a move to another location. I have no qualms of renting as it will be part of a financial plan.
I think your children are watching closely as your plan unfolds. I think that’s what’s important. You and Jessie working towards a goal-that’s what will make an impression. Blessings!
Aimee @ Whispers of Worth says
We also live in a small-ish house: 1600 sq ft ranch with two bedrooms and one bathroom for a family of seven. The three boys (9, 11, 13) share the larger room and the two girls and I share the smaller room. My husband, a floor sleeper, has been the floater for several years, sleeping on the bedroom and living room floors (he currently occupies a small room in the basement where he built a hard, platform bed for himself).
For our children, sharing is perfectly fine; they have more than enough room to sleep and store their clothes and personal items. The girls are crazy messy (I think I know who they get it from), and our space is more cramped with my queen size bed in there. We are getting ready to remodel the basement, adding at least one bedroom and a bathroom (thank the Lord!), which will finally give us adults our own space in the house!
I love that you are honoring your commitments and modeling wise money management for your readers, as you save to pay cash for a home. I also appreciate you sharing your house rules to ensure modesty and respect. This is a valuable post for many, as the comments seem to show.
This post was so great to read! Thanks so much for writing it! Our kids 12, 10 and eight have always shared a room up until this year. We lived in a two bedroom townhouse and for so long they would read to each other, giggle at night, and enjoy each other’s company. This year my 12-year-old really wanted her own space and so we gave it to her. This won’t be a forever thing, but we see each stage as changing and at times needing them their own space and other times really needing each other !
We bought our house sight unseen as well. It was strange moving there without ever having seen it. I was about 38 weeks pregnant when we closed (and we were moving 3 weeks after my due date) so there was just no practical way for us to travel to see it. Some people did a video tour for us. It turned out great, though. We really like the house, and it actually seems better in person than it did in photos.
Crystal Paine says
Yay! I’m so glad your sight-unseen house turned out to be a great house for you!!
melissa lohrey says
I just simply feel like renting is throwing money away unless it is dirt cheap in oh people now pay more for rent than what a house payment would be. Like double maybe it’s different there
Oh I am so thankful to see this! We have five boys and are planning for at least one more (hopefully this year and really would like a girl lol). We are about to close on a 4 BR house. As of right now, our oldest will have his own room and then the middle two will share and the littles will share. We have talked about how we kind of feel bad that they won’t all have their own rooms. I feel like it’s a great thing for them to share, but the modesty thing is definitely a big concern for us. I hope you post more about your policy with modestly, so maybe I can borrow some ideas.
I think they’ll look back on it with fond memories just as I do! I am one of 5 kids who was raised in a 1050 sq ft house with one bathroom, 2 bedrooms & a loft. The upstairs had the loft/1 bedroom next to each other so we all could be together (we all shared one closet!) and I remember many nights of us all laying in bed talking & laughing.
I, personally, appreciate the skills it taught me (patience, working together, compromise, communication & appreciating what you have).
That special bonding you grow with siblings when sharing a room is kind of a lost “art” if you want to call it that ?
I think this is great! We live in a very ample 3700 sq. ft. house in VA and I choose to have my 5 yr old girl, 4 yr old boy, and 2 yr old girl in the same bedroom. We also have 3 other older kids too. The younger ones love sharing a room, and it makes it so much easier for me. Thanks for sharing these pics and details. It is such a great help and encouragement to others. Thank you!
I guess I seem to be in the minority here, but i don’t really understand why people are so-not to sound judgmental but I can’t think of a better word-uptight? about opposite gendered children sharing a bedroom. My almost 5 year old son and just turned 7 daughter still get baths together and share a bedroom and even choose to sleep in the same bed sometimes. They don’t have an issue changing in front of each other. I guess we don’t equate nudity with sexuality in our household so maybe that is the difference. We try to have the attitude that your body is just that, a body and nothing to feel ashamed of. My kids were taught all the proper medical terms for their body parts and have been taught what is inappropriate as far as being touched or touching another person etc. They have never done anything inappropriate toward one another. I encourage them to express their feelings and if sharing made them uncomfortable I would never force them to. I realize as they hit puberty they will probably want their own private spaces, but I don’t really feel that it is a problem at this point in time.
I COMPLETELY agree! Nudity and sexuality are NOT the same thing. If someone has inappropriate urges to do things of a sexual nature with a family member, then that person has a severe issue that needs to be dealt with appropriately and immediately. Keeping people in separate bedrooms will not prevent a sick individual from preying on others.
Agree that nudity is nothing to be ashamed of. God made us in His image. Nothing wrong with that.
Ashley P says
My kid brother and I shared a room until I was 11 and he was 8.
The reason we got separate rooms at last?
We kept arguing over who made the bigger mess.
Turns out…it was both of us. 😉
My grandmother moved her sewing room to the garage and my brother the old space.
Your kids will grow up happy and loving and that’s what matters. Go with your heart, gut and mostly what you “hear” from prayers.
I think you were smart to put all the kids together and I think you are being smart in giving your son his own room in the next house. Great job saving up to pay cash for the next place and renting in a new area is just a good idea.
Ashley P says
Thanks for this! Your situation sounds much like ours. We moved from FL to NC this past summer and when the house we wanted to buy sold out from under us, we had to scramble to find a rental. My brother-in-law found the place where we’re staying now and did a walkthrough for us.
I like the neighborhood ok and there’s a playground within walking distance so I take the boys there often.
It’s a “3 bedroom” but one of the rooms is so small, hubby can only use it as his work from home office. I don’t even think you could fit a bed in here. The boys share the other bedroom, and we have the master. There’s only 1 bathroom, but with 2 adults and a potty training toddler, we’ll definitely need a second one eventually. The water heater isn’t nearly large enough. I have to stop 2 or 3 times whenever I do a load of dishes to let the later warm up again. we have plumbing problems. and mice. Also there’s no washer or dryer so we make biweekly trips to the laundromat.
But I’m thankful that the rent is low. That’s allowing us to rebuild our savings after paying off a mountain of debt and start saving for a home. It’s also very close to our new church!
We’re going to rent for a few more years, but not here. I want to live across the border in VA for a couple of years because we plan on having another child, and home birth is illegal here in NC but perfectly legal in VA and I SO want another home birth. Besides, the taxes are lower there which will allow us to save even more for our home.
When we do buy a place, I guess we’ll have to see where the Lord leads. Land is cheaper in VA, but I don’t want to get too far away from our church that we can’t actively minister there.
But it’s so nice to know that I’m not alone! 🙂
We have friends whose boys take turns having their own room each year. (They only have 1 girl, who has her own room) So it started with the oldest-he got the spare room to himself for a year, then when his year was up, he moved back to the shared room and the next kid in line got the single room for a year and so on. When they’ve gone down the line, they just start over. I always thought that was an interesting way to do it.
I’m glad you’ve shared this. We’re currently adding on to our house so that it will double in size. My husband is a contractor and we’re doing this out of pocket after purchasing a smaller house we knew we could afford. We have to turn one of the small bedrooms into a stairwell, and all three of the boys will have to share a room. It’s going to get tight, but by the end we’ll have space for everyone.
My older two sons ages 13 and 11 share a room. They have a much closer relationship as a result. When their 7 year old brother stays up later, he will move into the room. It is the sweetest to hear them talking after I tuck them in.
I grew up sharing a room, first with a female cousin, later my brother, and I have no regrets.
I used to share a room with my mom as a child, and until I was probably 10, we also shared a bed. We really only had each other and as we were/are both insomniacs, it worked out really well. We played cards late into the night or watched tv in the twilight hours when we would both awaken. We are very close now and despite moving and my marriage, we still live close. Not sure I could ever move very far from her. Space is an individual requirement. If they need to have the room, that is the point where another space is necessary. I did quite well until we moved when I was 16 into a house with a smaller kitchen and living room, and that was when I finally got my own room.
Beth Bricker says
I have 3 boys (5, 8, and 12) and live in a small 3 bedroom home. They all have shared a room by choice and love it! I love that they want to be together and am thankful for the bond that it fosters between them, as well as for all of the redeeming benefits that you have listed above.
We may soon be moving to a 5 bedroom home, and I am guessing that they will still end up in the same room by choice:).
As you have said, each family is different and parents can make the call as to what works best for their situation, but personally, I applaud your decision to give your kiddos the opportunity to be roomies for a while;)
we have 3 boys…. 2 of our boys currently share a bedroom… and part of that was simply for accountability purposes… the youngest and oldest share. Our youngest gets scared at night (so big brother is “there” for him)…and, little brother is more than happy to report on big brother if he is not being a good example.
ideally, we would have had all 3 share a bedroom, but our middle son has significant asthma issues, so the middle of the night can frequently involve breathing treatments/getting up/ etc to help him through a bad coughing/wheezing spell. He can sleep through ANYTHING! unfortunately, the rest of of us couldn’t- which is how he got his own bedroom 🙂
Kelly @ New Leaf Wellness says
Awesome! Thanks so much for explaining, Crystal. This sounds like the perfect arrangement for your family right now and how exciting that you’re saving to buy a house with CASH. You’re amazing!!
I just thought I’d share that we live in a 1,224 square foot home in Northern California, with 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. My husband works from home, so we have a Master Bedroom, Office, and Kids Bedroom. My 4 kids share 1 bedroom. They are 7, 6, 3, and 10 months old. My son just turned 6, and the rest are girls.
We are renters, with no plans of moving anytime soon. Like you, we are thinking ahead to the day when we will move my son into his own room. We’re already beginning the process of cleaning out the office in order to make room for a bed in there. I think my son will probably be a little disappointed when we have to separate him from his sisters. They love each other, and often talk to one another after lights out.
Anyhow, I just wanted to encourage you, and let you know that you are not the only one getting creative with your living arrangements! Thank you for your honesty and transparency in teaching others how to live within their means!
PS–Here is a peek at our kids’ bedroom (prior to our newest addition!) if you’d like to see how we do it!
My boys shared a room Until the older one was 12. There is 5 years between them and I didn’t have patience for the arguments any more. We have a 3 bedroom house but I was using the smaller room and it is small for craft room. It was nice in the beginning. My older one would let us know if my younger one had a migraine or was sick. I would check on them and find the younger one in bed with older one. It helped both kids when they went to college and had to negotiate roommates
Heart and Haven says
Crystal, I’ve also been enjoying watching Little House on The Prairie (hubby bought me the DVD series for Christmas). To see how simply they lived with such basic amenities… yet their family was content & grateful in all circumstances. This past week of watching the episodes, it’s made me feel like my house is the size of a mansion! Funny how comparison to what others have/don’t have can change our perspective of our own situation and what we think we need.
I have a passion for real estate, as I own 4 rental properties in Portland, OR in addition to the house we own in S. Cali…so I really enjoy the posts you share about “home” 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing your adventure of finding the perfect house for your family!
Crystal, I love to see how you graciously have shown how, regardless of how much or little one has, we can teach our families to be grateful. It’s so easy to look at the size of someone’s home and make judgments without knowing their heart. I appreciate your perspective.
When I was growing up I shared a bedroom with my triplet sisters. We had 3/4 bunk beds that my dad, a carpenter, built himself. They faced in reverse ways and had a built-in storage area at the head part of each peg with a peg board that we stored stuff in. I felt so special that my dad built it. We 4 shared 1 small closet and one 4 drawer dresser. We were also a family of 9 including my grandfather. When he passed when I was in 6th grade I actually sat with him as he took his last breath. My mom was still cooking pancakes for dinner for the rest of the family. When he passed it freed up a bedroom and my sisters and I then slept 2 to a room. Didn’t seem quite so cozy. Oh, and my parents slept in a made-over dining room into a bedroom.
We had 1 bathroom for all of it. I never felt we were poor or living a differently from others; just felt loved. They are very happy memories. I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Renting when moving to a new area was absolutely that smart thing to do and it does not matter how many bedrooms you have in a rental that you know is going to be relatively short-term (2 years). I think renting out a less expensive place for the two years was a very smart decision for you and your family from an economical perspective and from a well-being perspective (making sure it was the right area for you and your family prior to purchasing a home).
Hi! We have a rather large house that we purchased when I was pregnant with our third child. We got a great price on the house and we didnt know how many kids we would be blessed with, so it was a good decision for us. That being said, our house is 3750 Sq ft, and we had our three boys sharing a room for quite a few years. We had one bedroom for the baby and one for our daughter which only left a guest bedroom downstairs and we didn’t feel comfortable with one child downstairs alone. They had fun and fought and enjoyed being together. It wasn’t until my oldest was 12 that we added a bedroom in the loft living room for him to have his own room. 2 of our boys still share the room and they are 12 and 9. I love having them share and not feel entitled to everything. I honestly think it’s good for kiddos.
I think that’s great! It makes me think about what is a “want,” a “need,” and what is appropriate for safety.
Most homes in the area where I grew up were built in the 1940s and only have 2 bedrooms. Families always had to get creative with living arrangements. My best friend’s parents slept on the pull-out couch in the living room so she could have her own room! Another family put their two sons out in the enclosed porch with the washer/dryer. We all somehow managed to survive!
Thanks for sharing! May God bless your family.
Good grief that people have a problem with young children sharing a room. I use to sleep on a loft in a hut in the mountains in Asia, with a bunch of people. It made me the person I am today. I completely agree that its different with older children, especially mixing boys and girls, but all my years learning to share made me a better person. We are so wealthy in the U.S. that we think large houses is normal. As one who lived overseas, its not normal in much of the world.
Heart and Haven says
I have my kids share a room, for many of the reasons you’ve listed above, but mostly I think it provides a better opportunity for “togetherness”.
I have 5 kids (22, 9, 8, 4, & 2); 4 boys and 1 girl (the 8 yr old). I have a 1450 sq ft. 3 bd + loft. I have even turned one of the bedrooms into their playroom (which is downstairs, off the kitchen). All their toys & games are in the playroom, so the only time upstairs is for quiet time (reading & sleeping). My 9 yr & 4 yr boys share a room (and 2 yr old will go there once he’s transitioned out of the crib in our room), my daughter has her own room since she is the only girl. (TBH, my daughter hates having her own room as she had shared a room with her older brother until 2 years ago when we built the loft space for the “boys room”.) My 22 yr old has recently come back home from being in the Air Force and has his own (temporary) space in the garage, and my husband has a desk in the garage for days he works from home.
I have lived in bigger spaces (huge 2400 sq ft. 5 bd + bonus), smaller spaces (900 2 bd. townhouse – obviously when we had less kids ;-)), and have found this modest size house to be the “goldilocks” home for us 🙂 I have come to realize that for the short time my kids are home with me, I want us to be close together…but don’t want such a large house that feels “empty” once they are all out on their own.
Amen! You go girl! We all only answer for ourselves, so you definitely need to do what’s best for your family and your situation!!
I grew up sharing a room with my severely handicapped sister. It was a tiny, 10 foot by 10 foot room. Her twin bed was on the floor (box spring and mattress) because the wall was angled. I had a regular twin bed on a frame. I had one dresser and one tiny bookshelf. There was a 2′ path between the beds and about 2′ of space between the ends of the beds and the dresser and book shelf. Our house was 100 years old, poorly insulated and had just two closets in the house.
Sharing a room was terrible. My sister is deaf and blind and has profound mental retardation. She doesn’t sleep on a set schedule (as is common in people who are blind from birth: no circadian rhythm). She makes loud, strange noises and does repetitive behaviors like tapping that are noisy. My parents did not do a good job of looking at the house before they bought it. Just getting my sister up the old, steep curved flight of stairs every night was a harrowing experience for them.
They finally remodeled after I left for college. They turned their tiny downstairs bedroom into a room for her and added a master suite addition above the kitchen/bathroom/hallway.
I have three kids and we live in a four bedroom house. We bought our house in an affordable neighborhood of our city specifically so we could have enough space for everybody to have some privacy. We value quiet, private time as much as we value family time. It also helps when someone is sick, which is a lot of the time when you have kids ages 4, 6 and 10! When someone is sick, they stay in their own room as much as possible to avoid the spread of the germs. My son has asthma, so his room must be free of stuffies, etc…
Crystal Paine says
I’m so sorry you had such a difficult experience with sharing a room growing up. 🙁
My sister’s kids shared a room for a while (5 kids) and they all survived. Now that they have a bigger home and the option of their own room or a shared room, all 3 boys chose to be in one room & the girls in another. That gave them an extra room as a playroom.
This is making me want to combine my girls’ rooms. Maybe they will keep all their stuff picked up better and fight less! Haha!
I just want to say that I shared a room with my sister and my brother, and although we did have conflicts, there were many benefits. Sure it is possible that bad things can happen as some of your readers have said, but you know your kids, and the odds of those bad things happening are low. I had no problem sharing with a mixed gender room as a teenager.
I understand the need to share small spaces. Our four boys share one bedroom (three boys + 1 college brother who comes for his visits) and our two daughters are the same. But I would strongly encourage you not to ask different gendered children to share a bedroom. It’s not just about having contentment or avoiding an entitlement mentality. Modesty within families is very important, and children over the age of six should not share sleeping quarters with the opposite gender–whether at sleepovers or within families. Especially as children approach the age of puberty, privacy is very valuable. An eleven-year-old is too old to share a bedroom with a brother. I don’t want to come across as harsh, but I do hope you will take to heart the concerns of those who are posting here about this aspect of shared spaces. Foster parents in most states are not allowed to put opposite gendered children into the same sleeping quarters.
Crystal Paine says
Thank you for your concern. This is something we have seriously considered and it is the reason we are saving hard so that we can move in the next year because we know that these types of sleeping arrangements will not work long-term as our children get older. However, we have strict modesty rules at our house (bathrooms are for changing in, not bedrooms, etc. That’s how it always was for our family growing up since we shared bedrooms.) and our children have always been very respectful of each other’s privacy and respectful of our modesty rules.
I think it’s important that you know your own children and what would best best in your own family. For us, we feel this is what is best for our kids right now but as I always say, it’s so important to do what is best for your own family and your own children!
Actually, we were foster parents in the state of Pennsylvania and the rule was that children over the age of 5 were not allowed to share a bedroom with the opposite gender. I thought that was generally a good guideline. But personally, we believed that a child new to our family should never share a room with another person until we got to know them and their background better. Obviously, we were only that strict because of the unique situation of foster care.
We now have three biological boys, and they will all share even though we have a 4-bedroom house! I love hearing them chatter and bond every evening and morning 🙂
Opposite genders sharing a room is important to consider for custody arrangements as well. I am a single mom of a 5 year old boy and a 9 year old girl. I recently moved and when I was looking for houses, it was difficult to find a 3 bedroom home in the area I wanted to live that was affordable. So I was considering having the kids share, since I had to move due to work. But then I found out that over the age of 5, of my ex husband took me to court, I could lose full custody of the kids to him if I didn’t have separate bedrooms. Luckily, I was able to find a house with 3 bedrooms, but the custody arrangement was something I didn’t know before and definitely not something I was willing to risk. I agree that everyone needs to do what works for their family, but I encourage anyone in a situation like mine to be aware of the laws regarding this issue.
Some cities or states have ordinances about this too – we’ve lived in two cities now that have laws about having school age children of opposite gender sharing a bedroom – it’s currently illegal in both cities.
Something to check on for sure!
I am shocked to hear this! What if someone cannot afford a sizable enough home to accommodate this law? My brother and I shared a room and certainly learned mutual respect, modesty, and privacy. It was a non issue.
It definitely can be an issue – especially with rentals! And it makes three bedroom apartments very, very hard to find in both areas and in one case people are spending roughly $2000/mo to rent one. Many entities don’t try to enforce the law unless there’s a known issue (the number of square feet per person is more widely enforced) but people trying to get/keep primary custody of their children or do foster care or adopt can have huge problems with it.
I understand at a certain level why they have these laws but I personally think it causes more problems than it solves!
Have a wonderful weekend,
I’m shocked to hear this too. What cities are they? Seems like government overreach!
Actually, many states/cities have laws like this especially with rental units and foster care. Laws like this usually have been on the books for a very long time (over 100 years). As I said above, they often aren’t enforced but it can complicate securing housing.
Thanks for asking!
I know our state has very particular rules about housing for foster care, and I’ve heard of square footage rules for rentals so those don’t surprise me. But I’ve never heard of a law dictating how parents assign rooms for their children. Still seems crazy to me, and I’d definitely want to steer clear of those cities!
Carrie Stelm says
Geezz I don’t know what the fuzz is all about, I was born in the states but lived in Mexico for years, my siblings and I – girls and boys (7 total) we all shared ONE bedroom, ranging from teenagers to toddlers and my parents slept there also, NONE of us were scared by this arrangements, came back to the states and we all shared 2 rooms, the mentality of parents sometimes amazes me, I see in HGTV (the house shows) all these parents saying the they need separate rooms for their kids plus extra rooms so kids can have their own chill out room, wow so crazy to me. Crystal you do what is best for your family and your present situation. I have one boy 10 yrs and girl 8 yrs both sharing a room and I am sure they won’t be scared for life for this. Come on parents come down to earth!
M. A says
Foster homes aren’t allowed to sleep opposite sexes together because of some of the issues that some of the children have and some of the abuse that they have endured. I know this because I am a foster parent (don’t currently have foster children in-home though). I know families who had both sexes of children and they had their own rooms and things happened between the children. I agree with Crystal that each family knows their own children and needs to do what’s best for them and their situation.
S. C. says
The demonstration of our committed love for our foster children should be the same as it is for our biological children. However, the rules that are made for foster care are based on a background of trauma, which definitely should not be the case for our biological children. Certainly those rules are needful in some circumstances, but it should not be an issue for most families. Parents should be very aware of what happens in their homes, and make decisions based on the children they have been blessed with.
We have 3 girls ages 1, 5 and 9 and two boys ages 3 and 7. We only have a 3 bedroom house. Our 1 year old is still in our bedroom but the other kids share rooms. None of them have ever asked for their own room and most of the time the all end up sleeping in one room anyway. I’m sure that will change as they get older but right now they really enjoy it. We are planning to move within the next year and are going to be looking for another 3 bedroom house. We live in a somewhat expensive area that we don’t want to leave. I have 4 siblings and we all shared rooms growing up also. It was fun most of the time – even when I was 18 sharing a room with a 10 year old.
This made me laugh. I live in California with my husband and 8 kids, ages 19-1. We own a three bedroom home, and of course, all the kids share. We have 4 boys in one room and three girls in the other, and we share our room with the baby. Our bedrooms are big enough for two sets of bunk beds but not much else, as the whole house is 1500 square feet. This is actually how my husband and I both grew up, and for all your points above and more it works out very well for our family. We simply have to own less and be smart about storage. It’s disturbing to me that our culture feels so entitled to more than most other nations, and even more than most of our grandparents had.
I agree! When I was growing up the only kids I knew who had their own rooms were only children or wealthy. I think in our culture expectations and feelings of entitlement are way too high. When looking at other countries around the world and seeing how they live, I look around my home and think I cannot complain in any way. We have a 1150 sq ft home for 4 people and I feel it is plenty big enough:) my children do not share a room since we only have a boy and girl at home now, however my daughters room is only 8×7 in size! I don’t feel any family has to justify to others why they have the space arrangements they have. It is a totally personal decision! In some countries whole families live and sleep in one room.
Its great to hear that others in Cali live this way! We’re also in So Cal and our 7 share 3 rooms. 3 boys in one room, and 2 girls & 2 girls. In families the size of ours, kids spend their entire growing up life sharing a room. That’s life!! And I don’t think they can imagine it any other way. 🙂
Heart and Haven says
I live in S. Cali too! 5 kids, 1450 sq ft 3 bd. + loft room. It’s not common having larger families in S. Cali!
Crystal, having their own room at this age is not a prerequisite and I guarantee you years from now they will tell you this. My sons do have separate rooms, but shared until they were that age. They are now both in high school and it’s not uncommon to find them together in one room laughing like kids. They rarely fight and I think it’s because they are so close. (When they do, the first one to say “I love you” wins – and that was something they established). You and Jesse know your kids, so the opinions from the outside, mine included, are just a speck of dust.
Davonne @ The Tidy Mom says
I love this! I’m going to make my kids (7 & 11) read this because they share a room and sometimes wish they didn’t 😉
Thank you for explaining — it is a great insight.
Do you think you will stick with this set up as Silas gets older? We have both boys and girls and are struggling with a similar house layout. But as our son gets older, we are debating how soon to move him to his own space.
Crystal Paine says
This is something we have seriously considered and it is the reason we are planning to move in the next year because we know that these types of sleeping arrangements will not work long-term as our children get older. We have strict modesty rules at our house (bathrooms are for changing in, not bedrooms, etc. That’s how it always was for our family growing up since we shared bedrooms.) and our children have always been very respectful of each other’s privacy and respectful of our modesty rules.
I think it’s important that you know your own children and what would best best in your own family. For us, we feel this is what is best for our kids right now but as I always say, it’s so important to do what is best for your own family and your own children!
I appreciate hearing about your modesty rules! Is that something you could post more on with one of your new blogs?
Marguerite Kelly says
I grew up with 14 siblings in a 1200 square foot house. The 5 older sisters shared a room. The 4 younger sisters shared a room. The 4 older boys shared a room and mom and dad shared with the 2 youngest boys. We never new what it was like to want like kids today. I wouldn’t change it for the world!
Amazing! My husband and I are blessed to have built a very spacious home. While we were building, everyone wanted to know how many bedrooms we were going to have for our five kids. My husband and I discussed it thoroughly and he agreed that he and his five siblings are closer for having shared rooms growing up, so we built a four-bedroom house. We have a master bedroom, a playroom and two kids’ rooms. They are by no means cramped in their rooms, but they also can’t just go in and close out the world. Our oldest looks forward to the day when she gets to take over the playroom as her bedroom, but for now it has been a perfect solution. They also share one bathroom. They learn time and space and CONFLICT management. Those are all probably much easier lessons to learn when you’re 1, 4, 6, 8 and 10 than they would be for twenty-year-old.
By the way, I love your blog. Good luck with your new ones!