Growing up, I never had to share a room. I was one of two children and my brother was significantly older than me, so I was basically raised as an only child. Not so in my own little family today. We have 4 kids ages seven and under and only 3 bedrooms for them to sleep in, which means that some of them must share a room.
But how to choose who shares and who has their own room? Of course, the baby got his own room, but his three older sisters were all vying for the other coveted single bedroom. In the end, we started a tradition that is fun and beneficial for our family. We switch.
Every year just before school starts, we rearrange the bedrooms. We pull out EVERYTHING in the rooms, wash the walls, clean the carpets. We go through closets, dressers, and toys and make piles for garbage and donations. We even go through and wipe down all the baseboards and light fixtures. Man, it feels good to get rid of all that dirt!
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When it’s time to move everything back in, we switch things around. We have a rotation, so the girl who had a room of her own the past year will now be sharing with her sister. Conversely, one of those sisters who was sharing a room now gets it all to herself. In our house, there are only three girls, so it’s easy to keep track of who is next in line for the single room. But I actually stole this idea from a long ago friend who had seven kids in her family and 4 bedrooms to put them in. They would switch every year as well, and draw names from a hat to determine who ended up rooming together.
I know that to some people this must seem crazy. It is an awful lot of work, but I love getting in there and deep cleaning (this year we found two missing library books under my youngest’s dresser). In addition, I love that it gives my girls a chance to develop a better relationship with the sister they are rooming with for the year.
So far, it’s been a huge success, but things may change when we hit the teen years!