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Childrearing

Having Kids Share Rooms Is The Hot New Parenting Trend Everyone Was Already Doing

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Having Kids Share Rooms Is the Hot New Parenting Trend Everyone Was Already Doing giphy gifDid you share a room with a sibling as a child? Congratulations! You are hip and cool, because having kids share rooms is apparently a hot new trend among the rich and famous. (Well, OK, maybe just the rich.)

(Related: Hiring a Drug-Sniffing Dog to Paw Through Your Child’s Room Is One Parenting Trend That Does Not Need to Catch On)

Most of us probably think of room-sharing as a pretty normal thing. I shared a room until I was about 10. Most of my friends shared bedrooms with their siblings at one point or another. But now room-sharing is apparently a hot new parenting trend, because now even rich people in giant suburban houses are doing it.

 “Inside a sprawling six-bedroom home in Oak Park, Ill., Sarah Coleman’s three children are tucked into bed in their room,” writes Danielle Braff for the Chicago Tribune. “Yes, their room. The three kids share one bedroom, the parents share one bedroom, and the remaining four bedrooms are untouched most evenings unless there are guests.”

I hear guillotines behind that prose.

Coleman’s kids are 1, 3, and 5. At those ages, I’d actually be more surprised if she managed to keep all those kids arranged in their own rooms and get them to stay there in the middle of the night.

Rich parents might well be having their kids share bedrooms for a host of reasons. Maybe they’re trying to build strong sibling relationships. Maybe the parents really want a house full of craft rooms and office space. Maybe keeping the kids sleeping in one room and designating another as an official “play room” just makes sense for them. Heck, maybe the kids just like it. (I got my own room at 10, but my sister snuck out of her room and slept on my floor for the next 3 years.) But a person has to be pretty privileged to consider this a new trend, and that’s what makes this sort of trend piece so irritating. There’s nothing wrong with kids sharing rooms, but the article is a complete non-story except for the element of, “These kids share rooms, even though they don’t have to.”

For most families in the U.S. with two kids at home, room-sharing is just a way of life. We don’t all have four spare bedrooms sitting empty in our sprawling suburban homes. According to the New York Housing and Vacancy Survey, room sharing occurred in two-thirds of families surveyed that had two kids under 18.

There are a lot of reasons to have kids share a room, and also to keep them separate. Room-sharing can help kids bond and learn to deal with sharing spaces and resources. Anxious kids can be less scared and sleep better with a sibling in the room. Those late-night chat sessions and games of “Guess What Animal I’m Thinking Of” can have a negative impact on sleep, though.

But positioning this as a hot new parenting trend is pretty ridiculous, because most families were already doing it. I expect to see an article any day now about how handing down outgrown clothes to younger siblings is a hot new trend.

“Obviously we have plenty of money for new clothes,” a mother will say, “but I just think it’s so cute when families share things.”

(Photo: Giphy)

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