Does she need her own room? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-07-2012, 01:04 AM - Thread Starter
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dd wants to have her own room. she is five now, starting school next summer. ds, 3, is pestering her, sometimes, but they pay together beautifully and sleep in a bunkbed together. She wants to play with her tiny toys without somebody destroying or taking away what belongs to her or kind of coloring on her sheets and stuff.


They are both spirited, at least, and going to be evaluated for ADHD this year. (DD at least - DS might still be a bit young). There are some sensory issues as well. 


I tried to give her her "own" corner in the room, where she can color and have her doll stuff, but it not possible to keep ds out of it (does not have doors)


She is crying sometimes and begging for her own space. Their playroom is massive, like 45 square meters and it would not be difficult to make two not to tiny bedrooms out of it, but it´s so nice for them to have such a big room to play and run and climb. I don´t know if that would still be possible with the two smaller bedrooms. I don´t really want them to have their own room, because I think it's so beautiful to play together and learn together and to get along together. 


What do you think? It would be possible to get her her own room, both financially and practically (it´s basically just another wall, not difficult, not expensive) 


What do you think? 

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Old 01-07-2012, 04:01 AM
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I would give her her own room. They will still play together. My brother and I stopped sharing a room at about your DD and DS's ages and we still played together. They might even play better if they are able to have a bit of space from each other. Otherwise I can see your DD getting more and more resentful of her brother messing up her stuff and wanting to play with him less.

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Old 01-07-2012, 08:47 AM
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I would give her her own space... What if you tried something like a collapsible wall? Then you could often push it back & they'd have a big space again, but she could close it for privacy. Or is there another room in the house that can be re purposed into an extra bedroom? Even a large closet?

I don't think there's anything wrong with sharing rooms and when we have 2+ kids ourselves they will pretty much have to share a room because we have a small house & won't likely have the resources to expand it or move. But I already have a few ideas in mind if we end up needing separate spaces... like utilizing the finished part of the basement, or putting up a temporary wall or curtain or moveable wall in the larger bedroom. Many kids do great sharing everything, but I think it can be really hard on some kids not to have their own space to retreat to (could be indoors our outdoors though, and doesn't necessarily need to be a bedroom...) Her crying & begging would signal to me that she does need this space (unless she tends to cry/beg all day long for everything, that is!)

There are lots of ways you could keep most of the space in your playroom and continue sharing rooms but still provide her a separate space:

-a playhouse outside (or in the playroom), with a lock & key
-a closet where she can keep a few toys and some comfy pillows to lounge on
-separate just a small part of the playroom: maybe build the wall a bit higher & put a small door or gate on it
-create a little nook like this: (doesn't even need to have a bed in it if you want them to sleep together, it could just be a play space)
-you could even just install doors around her current bunk so she can close it off...
-a play loft with a gate or retractable ladder (or you could close off the bottom area instead)

None of these ideas would take much space but all would give her the feeling of having a space that's her own... Even just 3-4 square feet would probably be enough. I would also consider whether your 3yo will feel jealous and want his own space too... in which case I'd try to do something like 2 separate play houses, neither allowed in the other... or the loft, the top could be your DD's & the bottom your DS's... etc.

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Old 01-07-2012, 09:31 AM
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I firmly believe that everyone over toddler age needs a little territory of their own--I walled off a couple square meters of our living room just so I could have a space of my own.  I like the idea above of a little lockable playhouse, only one or two square meters, in the playroom.



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Old 01-07-2012, 09:52 AM
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I agree see if you can give her a space without giving her a whole room. Maybe get someone to build a loft into the playroom and give dd the up space and curtain off the down space for ds's own space?

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Old 01-08-2012, 07:43 AM
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I would also try to accommodate her need for her own space, although I don't think that 3 y.o. is too young to start learning to respect another person's belongings or work product. 


The idea of creating a safe space for her, like a little playhouse or loft area, is a good one, if that's appealing to you. However, it's very likely that in 3 or 4 years, she wouldn't want to share a bedroom with her little brother. If you were planning a modest renovation at that time to create separate bedrooms, then the simplest solution may be to do it now. 



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Old 01-08-2012, 07:55 AM
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I would work on the 3yr old to give her her space and time alone.  My brother and I were just like that.  Wanting our own space so we got our own bedrooms I was the youngest and still wouldn't stay out of my brothers room.  It was always more interesting in his space.  I think you'll still have a fight on your hands either way. 

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Old 01-08-2012, 02:11 PM
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How does your daughter recharge? As a family full of mild introverts, I can tell you that we all need our own space. It's not a question of my kids playing together or not, it's a question of recharging by being in their own spaces. Our kids shared a bedroom happily before our dd turned 5, but I noticed their relationship leveled out after we moved them to their own spaces. Thinking long term, what are you going to do when your dd has homework in a couple of years? What are you going to do when she hits puberty in 5-6 years?


You say that your dd is "She is crying sometimes and begging for her own space." That's a pretty powerful indication of her need for some private space. Reading between the lines, it sounds like  your idea that "it's so beautiful [for them] to play together and learn together and to get along together" trumps her need for some space her brother can't invade. I know you don't intend that, but it's how it's coming across. Yes, it's beautiful that they play together. But if she can never do her own thing, how long will it be before she begins to resent and dislike her brother? Her own space doesn't need to be bedroom, but it does need to be someplace where she can keep stuff private and safe.


I also agree that her brother is old enough to begin to learn to respect her stuff and her space, just like she should be encouraged to respect him in the same way. I realize that if you've got kids with ADHD, impulse control is going to be learned later. But that shouldn't mean that he gets off the hook. That means you are all going to have to work harder on impulse control and respecting space and others. Impulse control is so important for success at just about anything, no matter how you define it.


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Old 01-09-2012, 05:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the replies!


@crunchy_mommy, I really like all your suggestions, they sound really beautifull, at the moment she has a little area which looks a bit like the first pinterest picture, only a tiny bit more chaotic and less "designed" - I am so not an interiour designer ;)


But, as some of you said, and it really got me thinking, and this is the good thing about this forum, isn´t it, you really get opinions from others that get you thinking. It melts down to that I want them to have a shared room, because I like the idea so much, but DD really needs her own space. And I think it´s different if you just physically don´t have room for this, but we do, and than it´s slightly hypocretic (is this a word?) to not let her have it because I love the idea of something,


I will plan a redo of the room. Maybe they still want to sleep in one bed, we will see.


I´ll let you know!


@Lynn, do you actually have ideas how to teach impulse control?

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Old 01-14-2012, 03:33 PM
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My 5 and 7 year old girls share a large room together.  Occasionally the older one, in the past, would mention having her own space, but it never really was a big request -- and she's quite clear about what she wants.  I too like that they are together and have to work through their differences.  


But in your situation, because your elder child is begging -- I would start to consider it.  What I would do first is a half measure.  I would separate the bunk beds and put the beds across the room in the large play room with a screen across it.  See how that goes.  In our family, I know my elder daughter actually gets a lot of comfort from their being side by side at night in their beds, and would hate being across the room ... see what happens.  I understand it may not give your daughter her own, true space, but it would give her a feel for what she is asking.  Even hanging a sheet between the spaces could give her a sense.


However, although no one mentioned it, I think the gender of the children matters.  In general ( I know there are awesome exceptions) two kids of the same gender and close to the same age share a lot more than two kids of different genders.  My girls are interested in the same books, activities, games ... it does a lot to glue them together.  Yes, we have riproaring fights, but they are pretty simpatico.


So, perhaps if I had a boy and a girl, I might be more moving towards the two bedroom option if I were in your shoes.

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Old 01-15-2012, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Subhuti View Post
However, although no one mentioned it, I think the gender of the children matters.  In general ( I know there are awesome exceptions) two kids of the same gender and close to the same age share a lot more than two kids of different genders. 


I don't know. I have 2 girls who are just 19 months apart, and we split them into their own rooms pretty young. DD#1 is an extremely quiet person, always has been. She needs her calm, quiet space. And no room with her sister in it is every going to be calm and quiet.


They do like a lot of the same things.


But they are very different people.


I know that having a room of one's own is a luxury compared to how most people on the planet live. But since it's an option for us, it's really nice to be able to do what works for our kids because when they get what they need (even a simple need like down time with quiet) they are happier and better able to enjoy the other one. 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 01-15-2012, 03:56 AM
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I say let DD1 have her own room. Some sort of partition in the big playroom might make things easier for now instead of fully adding a wall. My brother and I always had our own rooms. He did come into my space A LOT up until around 3, then he found that he liked is time in his own room just as much as I did mine. My DSS would go bonkers if he didn't have his own space. He still takes up a lot of play space in the living room and upstairs. But he is all about showing friends HIS room and then, he tells them which room will be his little sister's. I think it is important for siblings to have their own room, if you have the space in your house. DSS loves his independence, even at 3 years. He also loves that his little sister has a room and if something comes into the house for her (outfit, toy, etc) he will actually take it up to her room and put in there. Let us know how things go! thumb.gif

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Old 01-15-2012, 05:24 PM
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I'm open to the idea of a child having her own room, but I also see many benefits to sharing a room. I say this because I have a 4.5 year old whom adores her own room and space but almost takes it to an extreme level trying to keep her 2 year old brother out. So for me I am definitely seeing the benefit of baby #3 possibly being a girl and my 4.5 year old sharing a room for the first time.

For your situation I might first try putting the few items up high that her brother cannot reach and giving her an hour or two of alone time in their shared room where brother is not allowed to enter. Maybe he can do a special project in the playroom during this time or play with you or something. This ways she gets her time and space without getting her own room. It might or might not solve the problem, but it is an easy thing to try:)

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