It’s an equation many parents are all too familiar with: siblings + hot tempers + small spaces = timeouts. Sibling squabbles are bound to happen even when kids don’t share a bedroom; but add a small, shared apartment room to the equation, and there is enormous potential for chaos. Whether you are moving into an apartment and already have children, or have one with a baby on the way, you’ll need to come up with some creative solutions that let your kids coexist peacefully. Here are a few things to think about as you find an apartment that’s right for kids if they’re sharing a bedroom.
Find an apartment that’s kid-friendly.
A kid-friendly apartment doesn’t have to have 2 rooms or even have a totally symmetrical single room, but the right potential for configuration is imperative. When you tour prospective apartments, think about the kinds of furniture that will fit in the bedroom and whether it is the right space for your children. If you are planning on staying in the apartment for a long time, also consider how you will be able to change the space as the kids grow.
Divide the room.
If you have the space, divide the room with a wide bookshelf. One child will gain lots of shelf space, while the other can use the shelf’s back to add a chalkboard, pegboard, bulletin board, or hooks for hanging toys and clothes. You can also opt for alternatives like wide wardrobes or an opaque curtain. Kids will appreciate the private space and the ability to make their side unique.
Oftentimes, parents who are interior design-minded would prefer the creative license to create a bedroom with a single look. And sometimes, children don’t mind this approach. However, if the kids are dead set on having different bedding, don’t fight it. Instead, use accents in the room—like pictures or curtains—to achieve a more cohesive look. You can also use the aforementioned dividers to create 2 totally different spaces, complete with different wallpapers and patterns.
Find storage solutions.
A small room housing twice as many toys can prove to be a challenge. Often the best way to solve a storage dilemma is to rely on vertical storage. Tall bookshelves, custom-installed shelves, cabinets, and even stackable crates or bins works well for keeping a shared bedroom tidy.
Treat bedtimes differently.
If there is a significant difference in the bedtimes of your children, don’t force an early bedtime on the oldest. Instead, while the younger child falls asleep, the older child can have time to himself in a separate part of the apartment, like one-on-one time with a parent.