Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Sharing bedroom helps bring siblings closer together

  • Print

In the Panebianco house, sharing a bedroom is about more than saving space.

Gerri and Sam Panebianco have chosen to put their sons, three-year-old J.P. and two-year-old Eric, in the same room because they want them to become good friends and develop social skills.

"We want them to understand what it's like to navigate shared space and to be happy sharing space," said Gerri Panebianco, an owner of Little Crown Interiors, which specializes in designing children's rooms, in Orange County, Calif.

Through her work, she has seen many parents making a similar choice, deciding that having kids share a room is good preparation for college and marriage.

"This is a skill that they feel children should be learning early," she said.

Of course, in many families with more children or smaller homes, sharing a bedroom is also a necessity.

Today's tough economy has caused many families to stay in smaller homes longer, said Jim Badgley, managing broker of Windermere Real Estate in Kirkland, Wash.

"I know they've outgrown their house," but they're not moving, he said.

Stefanie Nieves and her husband, Eddie Morales, have no plans to sell their two-bedroom, starter home in Perth Amboy, N.J. -- even though they now have two children.

"We can't really move, so we have to make the space work," she said.

Her children, three-year-old Elias and 18-month-old Mia, share a bedroom. The kids have responded well to the arrangement, she said.

"They have the best relationship," she said. "They love being in their room."

Pairing a boy and a girl hasn't been an issue at their age, she said. But as children approach middle school that arrangement can be more challenging, said James Crist, a psychologist at the Child and Family Counseling Center in Woodbridge, Va.

Parents should make accommodations -- such as having kids dress in the bathroom -- to ensure privacy for older brothers and sisters who share a room, he said.

Whatever the reason for putting children together, a shared bedroom is a good opportunity to learn about negotiation and compromise, Crist said.

There can be other benefits as well, he said. When kids are in the same room, they may have an easier time going to bed and can become closer with their siblings. "It can strengthen the relationship," he said.

Children may find it reassuring to have a sibling there to keep them company and talk with them before falling asleep.

"Some of the kids really prefer sharing the space," he said. "They choose to stay together."

Gus Dreher, 6, loves sharing a room with his big brother, Abe, at their home in Peterborough, N.H.

"I'm not scared when I'm with him," Gus said.

Sharing a room has been good for the boys, said their mother, Tonya Dreher. The boys, who used to share a room with their now 10-year-old sister, aren't interested in separating, even though the family now lives in a four-bedroom home.

Tonya and her husband, Steve, like the closeness that has developed between the brothers.

"They've always been together," said Tonya Dreher. "I feel like when they're in there, they're allies."

Crist suggests a few guidelines for parents to help kids share a room happily:

-- Sharing a room doesn't mean sharing everything. Provide each child with a place to store their prized possessions.

-- Give children a role in solving problems. When conflicts arise, let the children offer solutions.

-- Teach kids respect. Help the children develop rules about taking or using their siblings' belongings.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 18, 2013 A1

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Lawless in the Morning: Gary answers your questions (March 25)

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • The sun peers through the fog to illuminate a tree covered in hoar frost near Headingley, Manitoba Thursday- Standup photo- February 02, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A red squirrel peaks out of the shade in a tree in East Fort Garry, Sunday, September 9, 2012. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Are you planning to go visit the new polar bear, Humphrey, at the Assiniboine Park Zoo?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google