One phrase that you'll hear time and again if you're a parent is "They grow up so fast, don't they?". To which the only response really can be "Yeah, tell me about it!". It's amazing just how much a child grows in the first few weeks, and months. And they keep right on growing.
Okay, so admittedly the process slows down a bit - otherwise we'd have 100-foot tall kids knocking over our houses. But all of this is part of why it isn't cheap to bring up children. There are all sorts of things that will need to be replaced regularly. If you have a favorite jacket, for example, you can make it last several years. There's no way that a garment bought for a four-year-old will fit them when they're seven, let alone even just one year.
This all has effects beyond the one it will have on your bank balance. Part of what makes us us is the sense of permanence in our lives. Not to get too philosophical about it, but if everything is always changing, a child can end up with questions about who they are.
A growing child needs security and stability. Although some things will change by necessity, it is important to find ways that their identity is confirmed back to them. A daily routine is part of that, for sure. The home they live in, the school they go to, the church they attend. All of these will certainly help.
That's only part of the story, though. Those things will provide stability, but they also apply to any and all kids brought up in the same household. Although it would be simpler in a lot of ways, you don't want to raise kids who are clones of one another. All kids need something that tells them "I'm [given name]", not just "I'm a [family name]". That's an important difference.
So, thinking about that, what is the best way you can provide that in a way that makes sense for your child? Well, ask yourself what they already have that's unique to them. The answer is where they wake up in the morning and lay down to sleep at night. Their own personal space. Their bedroom.
It is essential in raising a happy, confident child that they have that space that is theirs. And although some things about that space will change over time, it's the perfect place to bring that stability. With that said, sometimes it's necessary for kids to share a room. Teaching kids to share, and be happy about it, is an important part of bringing them up right. What it can't do is make them just feel part of a herd.
How Do You Make That Space Theirs?
Making a space where a child can belong means making it individual. So it makes sense to have their name in there at least once.
If you have one kid to a room, it's a sensible idea to have a personalized sign saying "Dylan's Room" making it clear to everyone whose space it is. If you have kids sharing a room, then have more than one sign. The alternative - having one sign with more than one name on it - throws up problems. If the sign says "Dylan and Thomas' Room", it sets up an argument eventually.
"Why is my name last?"
"Because your brother is older."
"Does that mean I'm not as important?"
No matter what you say to reassure them, that's the kind of thing that can take hold, and become an insecurity. So just have two signs (or however many kids are in there) and give them equal prominence.
"Now As I Lay Me Down To Sleep"
Of course, the thing that makes a bedroom what it is is a bed. The clue is in the name! From time to time, the bed will need to be replaced. Obviously, a baby girl's room will need to change - by the time she's five if not before. But a solid, hard wearing bed of the right size can accommodate a child from infancy through to pre-adolescence.
The most important thing about a bed is that it is comfortable and provides support. As a child grows, it is that support that will allow their body to grow in the right way. So, for sure, you want a bed that has personality, but not at the cost of health.
One worthwhile option is cabin beds which, as well as providing room in which to grow, are also highly versatile. Get the correct bed, and you can have a desk/workspace within it in which your child can do homework.
Because there is some enclosure to this kind of bed, it provides a cocoon-like environment in which your children can relax easier. Not to mention that the greater amount of free space on it means that it can be decorated with family photos or posters.
Four Walls Or Two, There Is Space To Customize
If two kids are sharing a room, then how you decorate it can be part of the whole concept. As an example, it's common to paint a little girl's room pink - or blue for a boy. As they get older, tastes get more individualized. So two boys sharing may have different opinions on a favorite color. Painting half of the room - or two walls - in one color, and the other half in another can enhance the idea of sharing.
It makes sense to paint the walls next to each kid's bed in the color they prefer. If you have beds in either corner, this is quite easy to do. On those walls, you can then have space for other touches. Wall art featuring their names is one option.
A collage on each is also a great way to brand their identity. It can feature pictures of them at school sports days or concerts along with cut-outs of their favorite stars. There are no limits to how you can customize this as all kids have their own interests. As they get older, you can expand it and then have a depiction of how their tastes change as they get older.
No Need For A Dividing Line
While establishing their own identity is undoubtedly important, this isn't post-war Berlin. You don't need to set solid boundaries. Ideally, your kids will feel comfortable sitting on each other's beds playing with toys and watching TV together. For this reason, it makes sense to have some communal possessions in there which create a neutral space.
If for example, you have a toy bin with both kids' toys in there, it's OK to have that against a wall that "belongs" to one kid or the other. You could also put it in a neutral corner (which is where the two-color idea comes in handy).
It's a good idea to take some photos of both kids together (or all three, if three are sharing) and put them on the walls. They may well ignore each other all day long at school, and say every day how much the other one annoys them. But when they look around their room they will see there is more that unites them than divides. In the end, that's what sharing is about: being there for one another.