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I once made the mistake of putting two pythons in the same cage together, thinking they might enjoy the company and become friends. I must have been delusional. I suspect they tussled on the very first day, then each sat curled up in opposite corners of the cage 24/7, trying to pretend the other didn’t exist.

Siblings aren’t a whole lot better than pythons when it comes to sharing spaces. This is why whenever kids share a bedroom, there is a tendency for more fights to erupt. But parents can make the situation a whole lot better by trying some of these simple ideas whenever kids are forced to share a bedroom:

A) Try to ensure each child has a space of their own, even if it means cordoning off an area in another part of the house for each child. Tents are great for this. Set up a small tent indoors either in the room itself or somewhere else in the house for children to escape to. It provides the opportunity for some much needed alone time.

B) Consider hanging a curtain across the ceiling that children can draw closed when they need some privacy. It can divide the room in half or simply enclose their bed area. Kids will love it and it can help add a sense of privacy and personal space. A mesh netting covered in fake plants or other decorations also works well.

C) If a curtain isn’t possible, try to use other furniture or objects to divide the room into personal spaces.

D) Give each child a locked shelf or other personal space within the room where they can keep special items.

E) Another option you might consider is to set up some type of schedule with the kids so that each can have the room to themselves at certain times. This should not be a straight 50/50 split where it’s Katie’s room from 4:00 to 6:00 and Nicki’s room from 6:00 to 8:00. The room should remain a shared space for the majority of the day. But it often helps to set aside half-an hour to an hour here and there on certain days of the week when each child can have it to themselves.

F) Come up with a list of rules together that will serve as a code of conduct, and modify it as issues come up. For example, one common source of contention when kids share a bedroom revolves around friends. When one child has a friend over, they often want to be able to hang out in the room together without having their siblings harass them or tag along. Every family and every set of siblings will have their own unique needs, so if you sit down with the kids and come up with a set of guidelines based on what they want and what’s reasonable, it can prevent a lot of future conflicts.

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