Here are 6 life lessons siblings learn from room-sharing.
If I had a nickel every time my oldest daughter asked to have her own bedroom, I'd be a rich woman. Unfortunately for her, there is not another bedroom in this house for her to move into. The good news is, though, she's learning countless lessons that will serve her through her life, by sharing her room with her sister.


I can relate to my oldest daughter. I grew up in a home that didn't have a bedroom to spare, and shared a room until my senior year in high school. My baby sister moved into my younger sister's bedroom, allowing me to move into the former nursery room.

While I didn't think so at the time, sometimes, I sure am glad now that I grew up sharing my room. My younger sister and I didn't always get along, but I feel that our bond with each other is stronger for the years spent sharing each other's space.

Related: Sibling Love: A Powerful Bond

The key is - no matter how small the room - to make sure that each child has at least something that is all their own and that others have to respect. Growing up, for me and my sister, that owned space was our desks and beds. We could decorate it however we wanted and no one else could touch our space without our permission... as long as it wasn't a mess worthy of drawing our mother's attention.

For my girls who now share a bedroom, each has her own bed, desk, set of shelves, and corkboard to tack up artwork. They are each responsible to keep their spaces orderly, and then they share responsibility of cleaning the shared space with each other.

There are a lot of benefits both are gaining through the experience of room-sharing. Here are six life lessons being bestowed on them:

1. Sharing

This may go without saying, but kids who share a room really do have to learn how to share. This goes way beyond your child letting a friend play with his favorite toy for a time, all the while hoping to get it back safely. The type of sharing that kids learn by sharing a room is about how to share with complete trust in the other person.

Your kids will learn how to share a space, trusting that the other will not take advantage of the situation and will respect one another. It's like teaching the golden rule - to do to others as you would like them to do to you. This lesson really comes to life when you're sharing a room, long-term, with your sibling.

2. Teamwork

When your kids have the responsibility of keeping their room clean, they learn teamwork. Both have to pitch in, especially given that the biggest mess tends to be their individual spaces. This gets easier as the kids get older.

When they're younger, you may need to remain in the room during clean-up time so that one child isn't slacking off while the other is doing all the work. If the clean-up work seems insurmountable to one or both children, it's time to consider paring down on their belongings or redoing your organizational system of their clothes, for instance.

3. Consideration

Likewise, when your kids are both trying to get to sleep in the same room, they learn quickly about being considerate toward the other person. There are some ways to problem-solve differences in temperament without forcing someone to compromise too much. My younger daughter sometimes has a harder time getting to sleep at night; she just doesn't require as much sleep as her sister.

So, I gave her a small flashlight so she can read under her covers, giving her sleeping sister consideration.

4. Initiative

Similar to teamwork when cleaning up their room, sharing a space teaches initiative. It doesn't take long, especially with consistency on your part, for your kids to learn that it's way easier keeping their room clean if they pick up along the way. If they get a game out to play, it's easier to clean up that game before starting a new one. Sharing a space where it's expected to keep it cleaned up - both to please mom and to be considerate toward each other - helps teach the valuable skill of taking the initiative.

5. Community

By living together in a shared space, your kids are getting a good taste of what sharing a dorm room will be like in college, or barracks in the military, or apartment as a young adult, or a home with their eventual family. This encompasses sharing, teamwork, consideration, and initiative at least in how they learn peaceful community-type living.

Related: Fighting Siblings: Gentle Ways to Cool the Flames

6. Contentment

This is probably my favorite of these top six life lessons. Learning to be content with what you have, no matter how much or little that is, is a character trait that is increasingly lacking in our society. We live in a culture of "more is better," "instant satisfaction," and constantly "keeping up with the Jones." It's very freeing to not get caught up in that.

Your kids can be content, all their lives, with whatever they have - allowing them the free time to just enjoy life and just enjoy being who they are. That is an invaluable lesson that truly makes for a happy life.