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Should Kids Have Their Own Room?: What The Experts Say

Should Kids Have Their Own Room?: What The Experts Say

A private space within our home – this is what our bedroom is. For many adults, a bedroom is where they can let their guards down and relax in peace. But is it the same for children? Should kids have their own room, too? If so, at what age should they have their private space? Find out here.

Own Bedroom: The Earlier, The Better?

When it comes to the question, “Should kids have their own room?”, a 2017 study1 didn’t directly say that kids should have their own room. But they discovered something interesting: babies as young as 4 months old slept better than room-sharers (babies sharing rooms with their parents).

The researchers concluded that 4-month-old babies who had their own bedrooms slept longer by 46 minutes. This longer sleep also extended until they were 9 and 30 months old.

While a few minutes here and there don’t seem much, experts agree that on a regular basis, they count a lot, especially for sleep-deprived parents and kids.

Room-Sharing with Parents, a Must Until 6 Months

Despite the 2017 study, The American Academy of Pediatrics didn’t issue changes in their 2016 guidelines2 on infant sleep.

According to AAP, room-sharing with no bed-sharing for at least 6 months (ideally until the child is a year old) decreases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by up to 50%. Take note that in 2018, SIDS resulted in 1,500 deaths in the United States alone. Learn more about SIDS prevention here.

Another good reason for room-sharing until the baby is at least 6 months old is that it promotes breastfeeding. Giving babies their room before that may increase the chances of switching to milk formula.

should kids have their own room

Should Kids Have Their Own Bedroom?

After the baby’s first birthday, it’s up to the parents to decide whether to give their kids a room of their own.

If room-sharing with parents or siblings leads to unsafe sleeping practices such as the tendency to bed-share, or it increases the risk of suffocation or strangulation, babies might indeed need their own room.

Similarly, if room-sharing significantly results in sleep deprivation for many household members, it might be best to rethink your family’s sleeping arrangements.

Having Separate Bedrooms is Not Always an Option

When it comes to the discussion of “Should kids have their own room?”, sometimes, a bedroom for each child is not an option for parents. In the Philippines, it’s still quite common for an extended family to reside in one house. This setup often leaves less room for growing kids as other rooms are occupied by grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins.

should kids have their own room

Of course, there are also cases where little families purchase a house with 2 bedrooms or so and then later have more than 2 or 3 children.

Due to busy schedules, financial priorities, or other reasons, many nuclear and extended families find it hard to move into a bigger home or arrange renovations and extensions. The bottom line is: having separate bedrooms for each child is not always an option.

The good news is, there are numerous ways to make the most of the room-sharing-with-baby situation:

Tips for Room-Sharing with Baby

Since there’s no definite answer yet on the question, “Should kids have their own room?”, let’s focus on the following tips for when room-sharing is inevitable:

  • Spend some time with your baby during bedtime. With older kids, you can give them a quiet activity, like reading a book.
  • When it’s time for the infant to sleep, ask the older kids to leave the room for a while. If they need to go back to the room, remind them to enter as quietly as possible. Don’t forget to praise them for doing these things, too.
  • Talk to your older kids about how the baby might wake up in the middle of the night. Remind them not to worry because if that happens, you’ll attend to the baby.
  • Should the waking baby frequently interfere with your older kids’ sleep, think about moving the baby back to your room.

Key Takeaways

The answer to the question, “Should kids have their own room?”, depends on several considerations. Besides the children’s safety and comfort, moms and dads also need to think about whether or not it’s practical for a child to have their own room.

If kids can have their separate bedrooms, that’s great, since they can have a private space of their own. But in many instances, room-sharing also works well and it allows parents and siblings to spend more time together.

Learn more about Baby’s First Year here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

1) Mother-Infant Room-Sharing and Sleep Outcomes in the INSIGHT Study
https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/140/1/e20170122
Accessed March 3, 2021

2) SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment
https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/138/5/e20162938
Accessed March 3, 2021

3) Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
https://www.cdc.gov/sids/data.htm
Accessed March 3, 2021

4) Room sharing with your baby may help prevent SIDS—but it means everyone gets less sleep
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-pros-and-cons-of-having-your-baby-sleep-in-your-room-2017060611855
Accessed March 3, 2021

5) Sharing a bedroom with older siblings
https://raisingchildren.net.au/newborns/sleep/where-your-baby-sleeps/sharing-a-bedroom
Accessed March 3, 2021

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Jun 08
Medically reviewed by Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS