That's the big question at my house this month. Reasons for room sharing are vast, but most center largely on two factors, (a) necessity, there just aren't enough rooms in the house and (b) the parents want siblings co-exist in the same room to build better relationships. Which is better? Well, it depends. Here are some pros and cons to consider.
THE UP SIDE
The most obvious benefit is that kids learn to live with someone else. They learn to negotiate decorating a room together and cleaning when one child is messier than the other (ehem, good practice for marriage, perhaps). Good behavior can also rub off on the other child, like seeing a sibling reading, or drawing, or investigating sciency-stuff in their room. And finally, parents of room-sharing kids often say that the biggest plus is that at night time, when dark shadows and overactive imaginations bring out worry in some kids and they don't like to be alone, having another sibling close by quells some of the night time fear.
On the other hand, I shared a room with my sister growing up, and I can attest that with regards to room maintenance, bad behavior rubbed off more than good. You would think that one of us would be cleaner than the other, but we seemed to augment each other's hurricane of clothes, books, toys, and trinkets on the floor until seeing the carpet was nigh near impossible. My dad would have to threaten to throw all our stuff in the dumpster to jump start our bi-monthly room cleaning extravaganza.
Other parents complain of children waking and keeping each other up during the night. Some kids spur competition, ("I want a drink." "Me too!" "I need to go potty." "ME TOO!") making bed time practically impossible. This not-so-good bed time behavior is clearly not constructive or helpful in relieving bed time headaches.
As kids get older, the biggest drawback may be privacy. If y'all remember growing up, having an ALONE space to go to was sometimes very necessary.
SO, WHAT TO DO
None of the downsides have to keep your kids from sharing a room. If space is limited...well, there's not much logical reasoning that can do anything about that. Room sharing will have to happen, but bringing all the variables into the decision may change subtle nuiances of how you go about doing it.. Experts do advise though with older children, if room-sharing and single rooms are both an option, to bring the kids in on the decision making process. Kids know best whether or not their sibling friendship can stand the test of sharing a room. You might want to try a weekend sleepover to see if it works!
MY REAL-LIFE SITUATION
My kids are NOT in the rational, "older" kids category to have a discussion with. My boy is two. My baby's 3 months. We don't have room for them NOT to share a room, and I want my baby out of my room. Neither of us is getting good sleep with things as they are. My kids will have to share a room.
I'm just not sure how to get things rolling.
So, what are your thoughts? What do you remember (pros and cons) of sharing a room with your sibling? For those of you with kids, what kept you from putting them in the same room? At the same time, for parents who have kids sharing a room, how did you do it? I need help. I don't see how it'll work. My toddler will SO wake my baby up any chance he gets. Not good. I really appreciate your comments. Thanks much!