My year of less is more: do they need their own bedroom?

Dear readers,

Every now and then I get the guilts about our kids being a bit squashed in their bedrooms (boys' room/girls' room).  It didn't help when the seven year old was yelling at me on Saturday because I hadn't provided her with her own desk and 'ALL the others have one' (not quite true - the second youngest doesn't have one and I don't have one, but ok, that probably wasn't the moment to point that out).

But then we get to Sunday afternoon and everyone's working on their homework and 4/5 kids are in the kitchen/dining room.  And two of those kids have their own laptops and desks to work at.

So I'm not convinced by the seven year old's argument, and especially not by the 'But when they're teenagers they'll need their own bedroom for study' argument that I hear from lots of adults. I haven't seen the teenagers using their desks (that are the envy of the younger siblings) for much more than dumping their clean clothes, dirty clothes, textbooks, school notes, music, etc. on.  They mostly work at the dining table in the middle of the chaos.  I do encourage them to move, but they usually say no, they're happy where they are.

Does anyone else have this same thing go on?  They love to say they want their own room but then want to do their work with everyone else around.

Your sincerely
Confused Mum


Jean said…
Yup, the older two (15 and 13) never, ever use their desks. They sit in the lounge room to study. Which I actually think is a really good thing. Although I used to use my desk when I was a teenager, so there you go ... But there's something to be said for a life lived publicly, in the middle of your family, rather than alone - especially when it comes to computer use.

As for the "own room" thing, we have 2 kids in their own rooms and 2 kids sharing ... the 10 year old who's sharing now wants his own room ... that's fine (I think there is an age where kids benefit from their own space), but there's the choice of a big and a very small room, and I'm not sure they are going to agree on who gets which one. Any advice received gratefully! :)
Jenny said…
I loved having my own desk as a teenager. So that's what mystifies me a bit. I prefer them being in public space when using their computers anyway. I actually swapped to a smaller room than my sister in late high school because the smaller didn't bother me and maybe I had less stuff than her? Maybe the kids will need to try both and end up swapping or taking turns to keep the peace Jean.
JMS said…
This is a very real point that we are living out at the moment. All three kids have their own room however they have shared in previous houses. I have realised that their own room and in fact their own desk are really places in which to keep their belongings and sleep. We have a rule that all computer work needs to be undertaken in a common area of the house such as the dining table. Given that increasingly more work is computer based, along with text books, I am finding that the kids set up at the table and stay there. We almost need a homeschooling style room! I am interested in other peoples rules around computer, as well as any device such as iPods and IPads, across all ages groups ie do you have different rules for primary vs high schoolers.
Jenny said…
The primary school aren't meant to have iPods or non school computer turns during the week. And the high schoolers are to use their laptops in a public space. I agree about a homeschooling space Julie. I have thought a few times that this would be a solution to the squashy bedrooms because we could take desks out of the bedrooms.
Karen said…
Our two big guys (11 and 9) both do their homework at our dining room table. We moved our computer from downstairs to upstairs and it is now next to the dining room table so they can do computer based homework there. We can see the screen from the kitchen to make sure they are actually doing work and not playing games. They also have a bit of iPad based homework so we position them on one of the chairs at the dining room table so that we can watch the screen over their shoulder ;)

We do have a desk (acquired for free via kerbside rubbish collection) in their shared bedroom but it is very rarely used for homework and is mostly used as a dumping I have contemplated whether we should get rid of it as a decluttering task :)
Anonymous said…
Jenny, our girls had their own room, but often preferred to do their homework at the dining room table, except maybe in their HSC year. If I was doing it again, I would have them sleeping in the same room. I think you can learn good life lessons from sharing a sleeping space with someone. I lost my sister last year, but some of my happiest and treasured memories are of sharing a room with her and even a bed on cold nights.
Libby said…
3 of our 4 are all in together and although the oldest talks a lot about getting his own room, I think he'll miss his sisters when he does eventually. The 4th is the baby so until she stops waking early for a feed she gets her own room but then she'll be in the mix as well. It's so lovely listening to them chat before they go to sleep.

When sitting for homework gets longer than 10mins we plan on setting up a long bench in the play room (which will have less bulky baby toys by then I'd say) and that will be for computers/lap tops and homework. I personally loved being in my own room to study at my desk but I'm not set on the same for my kids. We are both keen on keeping electronics out of the bedroom. We even have that rule for ourselves now.
Sarah said…
I did an office management course a few years ago and part of it focused on the arrangement of office furniture and how that impacts the way we work. Apparently studies seem to show that we work better in a more 'open' environment (like a dining room table) where we can have interesting things to observe while we work (as opposed to being at a desk in a corner, by ourselves, facing a wall). Maybe having people around is a kind of accountability thing? I certainly tend to procrastinate more when I'm shut in a room by myself, yet I get heaps done sitting with my laptop at a table in the middle of my local library.

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