Since Christmas, Bella and Angus have been campaigning to share a bedroom. I say campaigning, for it was a campaign. Their main motivator was the lure of bunk beds - they spent some time sleeping in these (which they loved) while we stayed with family over Christmas, and so they have been asking to share bedtime stories in the same bedroom, playing together in a charming fashion and just generally getting along and being nice to each other.
Our house is your typical three bedroom semi-detached layout; that is, two "double" bedrooms and a third "box" room. The box room was always the nursery and then Angus's bedroom. It's so small, it's ridiculous. It is, however, just the right size for an office, which we could really use at the moment as laptops, printers and filing cabinets are scattered all over the house in a really disorganised fashion. So, it's been all change round here these last few weeks; wardrobes and drawers have been emptied and organised, toys sorted and labelled, boxes carted to the loft, charity shop or tip, on it goes. Bella and Angus are now sharing what was Bella's room and the box room is currently full of boxes. Soon we'll repaint it and turn it into an office. You all know that when I say office in my head I hear "craft room", right? (A craft room, yaaaay!!)
But this whole process has really made me think about meeting the needs of a seven year old girl and a four year old boy, about giving them areas which are their own in a shared space, and how it's all going to work. I should also say here that I'm well aware that in a couple of years they will no longer want to share. (I don't know what we'll do then. Move, probably.) Eventually there will come a time when it's inappropriate that they share a bedroom but for now they are little and they get along, and these times are precious.
So, would you like a tour? (You can see what it looked like before here.) This is what it looked like a week ago. As you look into the bedroom from the landing straight ahead is Angus's toddler bed, where the desk once was. A nice little corner for him with a lamp and lots of books, his beloved pirate ship and other favourite toys.
And Bella's bed is on the other wall. This worked nicely as an arrangement as they each had their own "side" of the room,
Bella had her area with her bed, bedside table and desk and I think it was important for her to have this space that felt like hers (she still refers to the room as her bedroom)
And this is the view from the window back to the door. There was a reasonable amount of floor space and it was working nicely.
The plan was to see how it all went before investing in bunk beds. Angus still had a fair bit of room in his toddler bed so there was no urgency to buy him a single bed. But then, out of the blue, my parents offered us the bunk beds that my sisters and I had when we were children (still decorated with 1980's Care Bear stickers). They had no use for them as they never used them in their bunk bed form, and they wanted two new single beds for their spare room. We were thrilled. Yes please, we said. They brought them up in the car last week and all we had to do was buy another single mattress and my Dad and John assembled them.
So here is what the room looks like now. The desk is back where is was...
And on the other wall are bunk beds, assembled in an "L-shaped" position. So far it's working beautifully and they both agreed which bed they wanted without any arguments, to my huge relief. Angus sleeps on the top. I was worried how he'd cope with the ladder but he manages it really well.
Bella loves her bottom-bunk cosy corner, with her fairy lights, chair and baby crib for her dolls.
The picture shelf is handy for toys and books but doesn't stick so far out from the wall that Angus bumps his head on it.
And there is a fraction more floor space than there was before. Every inch counts here.
This is what I've learnt so far:
- The kids have to be tidy. I have to be tidy. We all have to be veeeery tidy. The place looks like a bombsite in about two seconds so we try to tidy toys away at bedtime, rather than leaving them out all the time.
- Every inch of storage is vital. Under the bed, in the warbrobe, on top of the wardrobe. All the soft toys are in one of those hanging net thingys, I need John to fix it into the ceiling.
- Managing bedtimes is a learning curve and we are being flexible. We usually switch their light off at 7.30pm. Angus falls asleep very quickly and Bella quite often switches her little lamp back on then and reads or plays quietly for a while. We can't force her to fall asleep at the same time as Angus, who is two and a half years younger.
Do you have any experience of different sex siblings sharing a bedroom? I'd love to know how you made - or make - it work, how you decorated, any tips you might have. Thank you!