3 kids sharing 2 rooms with big age gaps

DIYfeverMarch 3, 2014

I'm not sure which board this belongs on, but it's a logistics problem! The question is: IS IT WEIRD TO HAVE 3 KIDS SLEEP IN ONE ROOM AND USE THE OTHER BEDROOM AS A PLAY ROOM? Here is our situation:

The kids are a 14YO boy, 9YO girl and 2YO boy. Right now the middle and youngest are sharing. We have a 1900 sq foot one story home with *technically* 4 bedrooms. The master, 2 kids rooms, and the 4th is an office right by the front door with built ins and I work from home so I'm not excited about giving up this space. And the master is done up very nicely so we're not giving that up either! Technically the room being shared is already set up to sleep three: we have an extra lofted bed that currently houses about 1000 stuffed animals, my son's crib is under the lofted bed, and my daughter's twin is on the other side of the room. My teenager has his own room with a queen size bed and plays video games in his room (we only have one TV in the main house).

I understand that a teenager needs privacy, but so does my daughter, the only girl. The older two bicker but generally get along (she worships him, he is annoyed by her) and they both LOVE "baby". The oldest could very well be going to college in a few years, and I considered a garage conversion that could be like his own apartment/studio bedroom in case he wants to stay home and do community college for a cojuple years (which would then become a guest room or rec room) but I'm afraid of how it would affect the resale value. So I feel like the only choices are to make a sleep room and a play room, or for me to suck it up and turn the office into a bedroom.


Sorry so long!

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Sophie Wheeler

Yes, it's wierd. The playroom needs to be a bedroom. Move your office to the dining room for a few years.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 2:20PM
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How big is the biggest bedroom...the loft or the play room? Could the bigger bedroom be divided in such a way to make two smaller rooms? Can a closet be taken out of one of the bedrooms to make it bigger? I have seen both done and a wardrobe used for clothes. The bazillion animals on the loft bed could be put in bins and packed away (in the garage) except for favorites. Loft bed taken down and divider put up for two of the children. Making the garage into a rec room/bedroom for your son sounds good because you can turn it into a garage again when he leaves or you sell your house. Or wait two years and your little one will be out of his crib and the boys can sleep in the same room.....get your son a double bed instead of a queen to save space....maybe even bunk beds. Maybe make 1/2 of the garage a "game" area if your teen wants a place to play games and have his friends over.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 2:34PM
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Unless you're planning on moving in, say, the next 5 years, I wouldn't worry about resale value at the cost of your family's comfort. At 9 I'm sure your daughter loves her little brother, at 12 or so, I'm betting not so much, lol. She's going to need her own space. That said, YOU need your own space just as much if not more. I would not give up your study, particularly since you work at home.

I'm sure if you do some research, you can find a way to convert the garage to make a cool space for your teen. A way that you could convert back, if needed, later on if you decide to sell.

I'm a firm believer that houses should be homes and should be lived in, not put under glass for "resale value". There are very few things you do to make your family comfortable in the house, that you cannot "undo" if you decide to sell in the future :)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 4:44PM
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They each need their own room.

Teenagers typically will except small, odd spaces for their bedrooms as long as it is theirs alone. Have the 14 yo downsize to a single bed if need be. Donate excess stuffed animals, toys, or other accumulated junk. Tell the kids in order for them to each have their own space they must declutter and except smaller spaces/beds.

I agree to forget about resale right now and do what works for your family.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 5:23PM
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There are nice roll top desks and so on so that the master bedroom can be an office during the day. Each child should have their own room.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 5:29PM
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Yes, due to their age and sex, they need their own rooms. Why not move your office into the garage for a few years?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 6:38PM
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I'd think about moving your office to your room. The garage is probably cold, atm.

They do need their own rooms. It doesn't make sense to stuff them all in 1 room, esp with a 14yo boy and a 9 yr old girl. In 1900sq ft, you should be able to find a place for your office and have room for all the bedrooms... Do you have a "formal dining" room that could become an office?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 7:58PM
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You have four bedrooms, one of which is used as an office, so you really need 5. I'd keep the office as-is, but I'd take one of the bedrooms and divide it into two rooms if possible (separate with new wall and door?). If I worked at home, there is no way I'd be using the bedroom as an office (I'd rather commandeer the kitchen). I would, however, be happy to have the kids give up their "playroom" :-)

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 1:15PM
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I'd think about moving your office to your room. The garage is probably cold, atm.

Sorry, I meant convert the garage into an office rather than a bedroom.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 9:18PM
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I'm taking a different point of view. I was one of seven children--five boys, two girls.

There are very few eight bedroom houses out there. We all shared rooms until the older kids started going off to college.

When we were little, I shared a room with my older brothers. Once I got a baby sister--eight years younger--I shared a room with her. True, it was a pain in the neck sometimes, having to go to bed and get undressed in my room without turning the lights on because she went to bed earlier than I did, but it did not scar me for life.

My take would be that in a few years, your daughter should get her own room. That could happen when your older son goes off to college, or the two boys could share a room, if there's someplace else for the older boy to do his homework, etc., after the little one goes to bed.

But I would also look around the house and see if there was any other space that could be used for your office. Maybe 1/3 of the garage, leaving a two car garage? (I think a one car garage just wouldn't fly today.) Or the dining room, or your bedroom?

And talk to your kids and see what they say. My cousin had three kids in five years and for a while they all slept in the same room. When she wanted to move the two girls into their own room, they were upset--they didn't want to leave their baby brother all alone at night. So the parents had to work out a schedule to transition them all to the new sleeping arrangement.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 8:05AM
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No, it's not weird, it's just not up to current expectations - depending on your neighborhood, the school your children attend and your station in life.

In Chicago and the older surrounding suburbs, there is street after street of two flats and single family homes which mostly have only 2 tiny bedrooms. The average family today is smaller, of course, but back in the 50's and 60's parents were somehow able to raise 6 or more children in such small homes, under 1000 sq. ft.

Perhaps the expectation today is for a separate bedroom for each child with an en suite bath. To be honest, I cannot imagine not having enough room to raise 3 children in a 4 bedroom house.

This post was edited by DreamingoftheUP on Wed, Mar 5, 14 at 8:46

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 8:43AM
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No, it's not weird to have kids share a room. What IS weird is the different sexes and age gaps sharing when there are vacant bedrooms available. I'd have to ask what tasks that you do working from home that couldn't be moved to the formal dining room (maybe add a door for quietness.) A bedroom to house the kids is more important than a play room. So, convert that playroom right away. Maybe the dining room becomes the play room and the garage becomes your office. Or vice versa. But, the boys and girls need separate rooms. And the oldest needs his privacy from about 17 on if he's going to be in school and do well. I wouldn't eliminate the 2 car garage though. If anything, take a look at the single car garage to house a temporary bedroom or office.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 9:32AM
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I'm in the "kids don't get scarred from sharing rooms" camp. You get privacy in the bathroom. I'm one of nine and every 6 months or a year we'd have some rearranging as people wanted to swap who they were sleeping with for one reason or another. Other than segregating by gender, we swapped in all sorts of combinations. Sharing rooms actually teaches good getting-along skills, as you have to compromise and work around each others' needs. Good preparation for college roommates and future spouses, no?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 7:44PM
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I always find conversations about sharing rooms etc. interesting.

I am an only child. The only times I've shared a bedroom is when having a sleep over or vacationing with a girl friend. I've been sharing a bedroom with my husband for almost 30 years and had no issues learning to share a room with him. I can understand if younger kids of the same sex want to share a room but can't grasp old kids or young adults wanting to share a room. I could never have shared a dorm room. There is more I want to say but can't think of a polite way to say it! I don't think anyone of any age should be forced to share a bedroom.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 11:33AM
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I think the reason they can't share here is that "gender" issue. You said that "other than segregating by gender"... If she does that, she has a 2 yr old and a 14 yr old (boys) sharing. Big Bro won't probably ever appreciate Lil' bro...

The kids need to be at least segregated by gender... and in her case, because the girl is in the middle, it leaves little room for sharing.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 4:17PM
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How big is the bedroom? You can divide them if large.

How are your dining and living rooms being used. Maybe living room for playing and family relaxing, dining room for office. No formal rooms.

No basement?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 4:37PM
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I appreciate all the feedback. I think moving the office to the garage might be our best bet (I would clean it up and weatherproof it, etc. without doing an actual conversion). Then the garage office could also serve as a playroom. The living space is very open so I can't really put the office anywhere else, maybe my bedroom although it would be cramped. Thanks for chiming in!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 4:27PM
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