You never know when an extra child is going to come along. For instance, you might get pregnant expecting one child only to discover later that two or three are on the way. Other times, you can decide to have a second baby on a whim (or not even realize that you’re pregnant), necessitating quick changes to your existing bedroom setup.
Often, you can’t just up sticks and move. It’s too expensive and impractical. So the only solution you have is to combine bedrooms by finding ways to accommodate multiple children in each.
This setup might sound like a recipe for disaster, but there are actually quite a few benefits. The first is the fact that you’ll save money on utilities. Putting children in one room means that you only need to fund one set of lights and radiators. It also means that you save on floor space, meaning that you don’t have to pay such a large mortgage or monthly rental fee.
Remember, it is a very modern idea that siblings have separate sleep spaces that only emerged in the last fifty years or so when houses got large enough to provide an upstairs bedroom for each family member. Before then, siblings and even entire families would sleep in the same room.
Okay – that sounds great in theory, but how do you actually make it happen? What does it take to turn a bedroom into a space that multiple siblings can occupy? Check out the following ideas:
Give Kids Their Own Private Space Within The Room
Even though kids have been sleeping in the same room since time immemorial, they still need their own private space to individuate themselves from their siblings.
For most parents, this means splitting the room down the middle. On one side, you have one child’s bed, and on the other, you have the other child’s bed. It’s also a good idea to give them both separate storage facilities. Options here include cabinets, chests of drawers, beds with drawers under the mattress, and bookshelves for their school work.
You can also do other things to help with personalization, including giving kids their own cork boards for pinning things that interest them or giving them their own artwork. It might sound expensive, but remember it is a heck of a lot cheaper than moving house.
Save Space With Your Bedding
Depending on the relationship between the siblings, you might want to experiment with bunk beds. The benefit here is that you can use more vertical space in their bedrooms, freeing up floor space for other things, like desks, for doing homework.
Often, you’ll need to get creative with bed placement if space is a severely limiting constraint. Putting the bed at 90 degrees to the door, for instance, can help open up a room and provide additional window space.
Another idea is to hang up curtains at the front of each bunk. This allows kids to create a separate space from everyone else when they want to go to sleep.
Don’t forget to use storage space under the bed too. Here you can place all sorts of trinkets, like toys, books, and magazines.
Create A Decluttering Schedule
Decluttering is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face when dealing with lots of extra (and somewhat unexpected) kids. The more children you have, the more mess they will make.
We suggest creating a decluttering schedule that provides details about how you’re going to deal with the mess and prevent things from getting out of control.
The first step is to put in place strategies that assist with keeping things tidy. Don’t just rely on the boxes kids’ toys came in, for instance. They’re rarely up to the challenge. Instead, think about how you might use easy-access boxes to contain different types of toys, making them easy to clean up when playtime is over.
Also, consider laundry. You don’t want a situation where your children are just dumping their clothes on the floor after wearing them. Having a basket system can help tremendously. The best solution here is laundry racks where you can place clothes in different containers. Black items go in one, whites in another, and then colors in the third and so on.
You can also reduce mess by adopting a strictly minimalist approach to your laundry. Your kids do not need twenty outfits each, especially since they will likely grow out of them shortly. Instead, pretend you’re packing a suitcase for an overnight stay at a hotel. Only keep the clothes you absolutely need and pass on the rest. Most children don’t need a diversified wardrobe until their teenage years.
Make A Sleeping Plan
While putting all the kids in a single room might seem like a good option, you still need to make a sleeping plan. Remember, kids are people too, so they won’t just fall into line and do exactly what you tell them to do. Eventually, there will be tensions.
The main challenges come when you have children of very different ages. For instance, toddlers and newborns don’t always get on well when they share the same room. Often, they need to nap at different times. And the toddler isn’t always old enough to realize that they need to look after the baby and take special care of it.
Other issues occur when you have a rowdy toddler paired with a child in fifth or sixth grade. Here again, you can run into trouble. The younger child might keep the older one away at night, making them feel groggy the next day at school.
Nap times can also be an issue. Most kids need their own space if they sleep during the day. That doesn’t always work when you have a lot of children running around screaming, disturbing regular sleeping patterns. For instance, how will you keep kids separate during the day so that they can all sleep at the same time? It’s not always clear what you should do in this situation.