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May 17, 2011

How We Do Things Series: Rooms to Share

Often when people find out how many people live in our house they say something like , "Wow, you must have a huge house!" I think they are really computing....11 children, a bedroom for each one....wow, you must have a big house!!! While, in fact, we only have 4 bedrooms. A master (with a nursery), a spare room, one boys room and one girls room.

Here are the reasons we have chosen to have one room for the boys and one room for the girls:

1. We believe that when you focus on giving each child their own "space" it can cultivate an attitude of
me-ism. A need for 'my space' to function, think, play. A desire to be alone. These are not the attitudes we want to encourage in our children.

2. There is accountability in numbers. It is hard to get away with doing naughty things when your siblings are keeping you accountable.

3. Our children, for the most part, only use their rooms to sleep and dress in. Therefore they don't need a lot of space. Their rooms are not huge. Basically enough space for their beds, a closet and a small space to move around! And that's ok, because they don't spend their days in them. They spend it together with the whole family.

Here are the benefits we have seen of rooming this way.

1. It's like a slumber party every night with the most important people....family! I just love listening to our kids giggle and chatter as they get settled down for bed. It often makes me wish that I had this opportunity when growing up. It looks like a lot of fun :) We always tell our kids that they are each other's best friends. And when they are grown, most likely what will be left is each other. Think about it, how many close friendships do you still have that you had when growing up? For most people it is not very many. So why do we spend so much time and energy focusing so much on our kids friendships outside the family, rather than cultivating the ones that will be there forever....family? We purpose to make sure our children have a strong bond with each other and rooming together is one tool that encourages exactly that. 

2. It builds character. As many good times as the kids have together, there are also times that test and grow their character. And we don't see this as a bad thing, it is a good thing! Issues come up when you are in close quarters!!!!

3. If you are scared or lonely and need someone to cuddle with, you can just crawl in the bed next to you :) How cool is that!!!!

Now just in case you are wondering if our kids really dislike rooming together and wish they had their own rooms, here is what happened in our home a couple of days ago.

Josiah has been in the girls room ever since I was pregnant with Jaden. We move the babies to the girls room, which has worked out the last few years to be little baby girls, but this time the baby was a boy. When Joshua was the 'older, responsible' brother, rooming with the boys, we would put the boy babies in the boys room. But since we had a younger, rambunctious bunch in the boys room this time around, we thought it would be best for everyone's sleep and sanity that we would put Josiah in the girls room for a while.

The other day we decided that it was time to move Joey into the boys room. They have been asking for this arrangement for some time, and we felt now would be a good time. As soon as I told the boys, they ran down to their room and started getting everything "ready" for Joey to join them. They were so excited and bedtime could not come soon enough!!! It was so neat to see the excitement as they added one more to their room. No attitudes of selfishness, greed or apprehension. Just pure joy and excitement!!! It was so refreshing to watch!

So bedtime came and then something happened that I had not at all planned for. In fact I was shocked at what happened next! Somehow during the day Brooke had missed out on the news that Josiah would be moving on to the boys room. And when she found out that evening, she was absolutely heartbroken. I will never, ever forget her sweet little voice and quivering lips when she said to me, "You mean Joey isn't going to be in our room anymore?" I tell you, my heart sank for her. I hadn't even thought to prepare her for this. But of course.....this was one of her rooming buddies for a few months now, and naturally she was going to miss him. Let me just say there were many, many tears from a sad little girl that night. She didn't know how she was going to make it through a night without her little Joey.

And this is when I realized again how valuable this arrangement of one boys and one girls room is. They don't dislike it at all, they love it! And they are growing in character, love for each other and cultivating life long friendships. All just from rooming together!!!


Kathy Lindsay said...

that is such a neat idea....we sort of do that, our upstairs is 2 bedrooms and it has our 3 boys, and tha main bedroom is our daughter and baby sharing a room, seems to wirk out, but eventually our daughter will have to have her own room.....I wish I could get our older boys to become friends, they bicker and fight over everything.....makes it hard to put them together.....
Thanks for sharing....

Mrs. Stam said...

Love this post, so refreshing!!!!

Hollinger Family said...

Completely agree with sharing rooms. Our only daughter breaks up the room sharing, but the older boys & younger boys share, and they wouldn't have it any other way. =)

mommyx12 said...

Great post. I can relate to each word!!! Our 5 youngest girls share a room and they love it. So far!!

jeremy and/or laura said...

Here in Vietnam they go a step further, they have their kids in the parents room... and all share a bed. once the kids are ten or eleven they move out to a hammock or the floor in the living room / garage / kitchen. Now those families are tight!! They think we don't love Isaiah because we make him sleep on his own... Amazing how your circumstances affect your view points.

Débora said...

Juste love to hear to you have the same idea!
I love the fact that I'm not the only one and that it is a choice not because of lack of money!
Here in france most house have 4 very very tiny bedrooms so it's quite hard to do it but for the moment we've managed! We hope to be able to buy our own et I look forward to have 2 'big' nice rooms for the children!
Just a question how does the older manage? when they get to their 15/16's?
Thank you
Débora (hope you remember me! (-;)