Boys will be boys, and girls will be girls, and that's exactly why Circle of Moms members like Sarah S. are wondering "When should you give your son and daughter separate rooms?"
It's definitely a subject that sparks lots of emotions among Circle of Moms members. Heather has a one-year-old daughter and two boys, ages seven and four, and she wants to put them all in the same room, but she says she's hearing rumblings of concern from family members and friends about the proposed sleeping arrangement. "My daughter's crib is still in my husband's and my room," she explains. "We had planned on moving her into the boy's room but my mother-in-law said we can't because our oldest is already seven and opposite sex kids have to have separate rooms by the time the oldest is five."
Not every one agrees with Heather's mother-in-law that five is the cutoff for a mixed-gender shared room; Brenda S.'s 6-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter share a room and she says, "It is fine because they are only really in there to sleep and play. As they get older they definitely will need their own room and space, but at such a young age it is not a big deal."
Do They Need Separate Rooms as They Age?
But other moms, including Caitlin R. suggest parents should be cautious about putting opposite sex siblings in the same bedroom. "At a certain age, there are concerns of them becoming curious about each other's bodies," says Caitlin. R. "It's a natural curiosity."
Circle of Moms members in this camp say that the cutoff should come when children start preschool, because that's when they start asking questions about their bodies. "As babies and toddlers, it really isn't too big of a deal," says Cindy S. "But when they get older...boys and girls need privacy." And though her 5-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son used to share a room, Jen G. separated them when her daughter went to preschool. "The only time you need to be concerned is when the kids get older and curious," she says. "Other than that, they love to share a room, trust me."
Other Circle of Moms members advise that the decision to separate boys and girls be based on an individual child's need for privacy or for time alone, and that parents should watch for signs that a child wants it. "I think you should only put kids of the same gender in the same room once they are old enough to want and need privacy," says Jeanne V."
Respecting Privacy Makes Shared Rooms Work
Other moms, including Jeannette Z., say that kids can continue to share a room even as they get older as long as parents teach their children to respect each others' boundaries. "My brother and I were in the same room until I was four and he was 2.5. My mom said it wasn't a problem ever, as long as you teach...boundaries."
Cindy M. agrees. "My son and daughter shared a room for almost three years starting when they were one and four. We have moved into a bigger house since we had our third child, and the boys now share a room. But I spoke with our doctor about it and he said as long as a brother and sister learn to respect each others' privacy they will be fine."
Liesel C. points out that a mixed-gender room is often a necessity, for reasons ranging from finances to a space crunch. "If parents create the appropriate boundaries and explain the reasons behind the way kids are grouped, all will be well, she says. "My niece and nephew had to stay in the same room for years. Their mom taught them to respect each other's privacy. Eventually they got their own rooms, but now they are both grown with children of their own and they remain really close siblings."
When Kids Don't Want to Separate
A mother of twin, opposite gender 4-year-olds, Kelly N. says her children have shared a room since they were born and "really feel comfortable with each other in the room." She says she is concerned that at some stage she may need to separate them, but "what happens if they want to stay in the same room?"
Sarah S. faces a similar dilemma and has decided to keep her 5-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son in the same room as long as they want to share it. "We have a two bedroom home so they have to share a room," she says. "They've never complained or asked for their own room and really only go in the room to sleep. I keep wondering when they will want more independence, but so far they like sharing a room."
At what age would you move your kids to same-sex bedrooms?
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.