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When to Move Opposite Sex Siblings into Separate Bedrooms

When to Move Opposite Sex Siblings into Separate Bedrooms

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."

When There is No Choice

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?


Image Source: Summer May via Flickr/Creative Commons

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.

Jayde14726784 Jayde14726784 4 years
I have a 6 year old stepson and 4 year old step daughter who are with my husband and I every other week (Sunday-Sunday). When they are at their mothers house they share a room but at our house they have seperate. For about the past 2 weeks my step daughter has been sneaking into her brothers bed at our house. It's starting to get annoying and my husband and I don't know what to do to keep her in her room. We have nightlights, we lay with her until she falls asleep, she has stuffed animals...If we say anything to the mother about them sharing a room she says that their doctor and her lawyer say it's fine and she doesn't see anything wrong with it. The kicker is that she has another bedroom at her house that she uses as a toy room. AND she has another baby boy with her husband. My husband and I have a son together who shares a room with my stepson. I do not understand why she can't use that other room as a bedroom for one of them. It makes me mad. I do not think it is ok for opposite gender siblings to share a room. For anyone saying it "teaches them respect" that is ridiculous. A child's bedroom is suppose to be their place where they can go..they should not have to knock to go in their own room!
bellajean512 bellajean512 4 years
I do not think children of the opposite sex should share a room. My 8 year old stepson has shown definite interest in the "differences" of his 12 year sister. My stepson has spoken to my son (who is 6), when he thought we couldn't hear him, about seeing his older sister's body and giggling about it. I do not believe the older sister knew her brother saw her. My stepson has also walked into my bedroom while my husband and I are in bed. We were not doing anything, luckily, and who has energy for that with 4 kids and overtime jobs and school? All the children know they are supposed to knock first and wait for an answer. And they do. When my stepson is asked why he just walks in his response is always "I don't know." We were awake when he did this, but it was at night after everyone should have been in bed. My 5 year old step daughter, my stepson's full sister, is not very modest. Some kids aren't I've heard. I am always reminding her that she needs to sit like a lady. Whenever I do, my stepson has to look at her to see what she is doing. In my opinion, he is way to curious. And we have spoken to him on several occasions. It goes in one ear and out the other like many other disciplinary talkings with this child. I do not think he should share a room with his sisters. Their mother thinks its perfectly fine that he share a room with his younger sister. I wish I could speak to her about it but she is very spiteful and snippy. Anything my husband says to his ex (the kids mother) about their children, she takes offense to and it turns into a war and she takes it out on the kids. Do we have opposite sex bedrooms at our house? Definitely not!
sean36087 sean36087 6 years
I think it is fine with oposite sex in the same room. As long as they dont do anything bad to each other.
JennPotts JennPotts 6 years
My 3 year old son and 1 year old daughter share a room and will do so for at least the next year until our lease on our 2 bedroom apartment is up. And even then, I don't know if we will have the means to get a larger place. But, I am in no way worried about them sharing a play and sleep space. They play together all of the time anyway, and share each others toys. They each have their own beds, but I'm sure the day is coming when they will want to sleep together sometimes. And that is ok too. My brother and I used to do that and we were 4 years apart. I am not worried that there will be anything indecent between them. Also, historically children all slept together or the whole family shared a room, and probably beds as well. The whole idea of each child having a separate space is a relatively new phenomenon. I think each parent has to evaluate their own comfort levels and the desires and needs of their children and make a decision that works for their family.
ChristyReed ChristyReed 6 years
I have been wondering about this myself. My oldest is 5 and he is the only boy. Currently he sleeps in the same room as his 2 and 3 year old sisters. They only sleep in there, the second bedroom is a toy/play room. He gets scared easily at night and does not want to be alone. The poor kid only has sisters though (3 to be exact! the youngest sleeps in our room) so it's sleep in the room with the girls or sleep alone. I don't think there is anything wrong with it right now but I have been wondering at what age I should move him out to his own room.
DawnSpencer48869 DawnSpencer48869 6 years
I've read some of the comments on this article. I have boy and girl twins and they will be 3 in Sept. They are in the same room but in separate beds. They take baths together, should that stop too? Isn't it better if I explain the difference between them than they learn it on their own or their own discovery?
mariacloyd mariacloyd 6 years
In the state of ky the law says that opposite sex children can share a room till the age of 5 i dont think that they should ever share a room though but that is just me
DianeCowart DianeCowart 6 years
I wouldn't ever put my boys with my daughter she's almost 4 and she needs her space. Even tho one is still 9 months and the other isn't born yet. I don't think its right to put them in the same room ever.
LisaForeman LisaForeman 6 years
it depends if you have your own house or it is rented by the local council and then every council is different. Where i live in the UK the age to seperate a boy and girl is 10yrs old but where my brother lives its 7yrs old so it depends on where you live
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