Welcome to your new house…and the issue many families must face – the bedroom challenge! Deciding who will have what bedroom can arouse harsh words, hard feelings and sometimes full-blown temper tantrums.
As the parents, you’ll probably want (and are entitled to) the master bedroom or suite. This is completely logical and you won’t get any pushback here. And if you do, the simple statement “because we pay the mortgage” ends that line of thinking immediately.
So…that leaves you with the question of which child gets which room. It’s rare that every bedroom on a floor plan is exactly the same size, so at least one is bound to be bigger. One might have more or larger windows, a prettier view, a bigger closet or other amenity that would also make it desirable. If your family is like most, you’ll probably need to moderate some bickering about which child gets which room.
That’s not to say that your kids can’t come to a decision on their own. Some families find that their children prefer different rooms at the outset, and there isn’t much of a problem. Other families might sit their kids down together one evening and have them work it out together, allowing them to hone their persuasive and negotiating skills. Surprisingly, if left on their own to come to a decision, many children can – and do – manage to come to terms with this decision on their own.
However, if they can’t, how do you make the decision?
One of the standard answers to this question is to give the oldest child the largest remaining room. While a popular tactic, it doesn’t always sit well with younger children, who may have valid reasons for wanting a larger room (or larger closet).
Here’s some suggestions for coming to consensus on who gets what:
- Have a lottery.
Put each child’s name on one slip of paper in one bowl, and the color/location of each room in another bowl. Draw a slip of paper from each bowl, using a random selection process to assign rooms. While fair, “the luck of the draw” requires that everyone involved agrees on using this tactic and promises to accept the results without argument.
- Decide based on space requirements.
If your youngest child has more large toys, your oldest son has multiple bookcases or your middle girl is always having friends over to spend the night, storage and space requirements may help you make the decision regarding the larger rooms. The logic of this method will often win over stubborn objectors. The same tactic can be used to assign rooms with larger closets to the children with the most clothing.
- Choose by light and temperature.
If you have an early riser for a child, the morning sun should come into his room, not into the room of your night-owl daughter. If one of your children is more sensitive to heat or light, you shouldn’t put him into a room that gets a great amount of direct sunlight. Instead select a room that stays cooler due to indirect light or tree cover.
- Need for parental care or supervision matters.
It makes sense to put very young children closer to your room, where you can get to these little ones quickly when they need you. Older children usually need less supervision, and may enjoy being a little further away from you to enjoy a bit more privacy, especially if they’re teenagers.
- Who spends the most time in their room?
Children who spend a lot of time in their rooms, whether they’re studying, gaming, reading, into their music or some other hobby, should be given the opportunity to choose the space where they’ll be spending much of their time. Children who spend a lot of time outdoors or use their rooms almost exclusively for sleeping and storing their stuff are usually much less invested in the state of their space.
- Who can take care of the largest space the best?
Let’s face it…it takes more time and effort to keep a larger space clean. You can save yourself a lot of grief by assigning the bigger room to the child most likely to keep it picked up and tidy. If you have a natural neatnik in your family, take advantage of it.
- When in doubt, rotate!
You can also have your children switch rooms every so often, so that everyone gets a chance to have the larger room, the one with the biggest closet, or the one closest to the bathroom…whatever the most desirable attributes are. If the belongings of each child are compact enough to fit easily in the smallest room, have your kids move to different spaces every six months or once a year. This not only gives each child a chance to experience every space, it also is a great way to get rid of things you don’t need every so often while giving each room a thorough top to bottom cleaning.