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Kids who share a room but needs alone time


Sarah0000
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My oldest two boys, ages 7 and 4, started sharing a room a couple months ago. When my third son is old enough in a couple years we plan to put him in there as well. The room is only for sleeping, reading, and Legos; no school stuff or project work gets done in there.

I need ideas for how to give my boys, especially the eldest who has emotional difficulties, alone time without making it a schedule or fight. He's taken to just randomly saying "I need alone time!" to shut his brother out of their room most of the day.

I was thinking the sitting space in the master bedroom can be the alone time space because then no one is shutting anyone away from their stuff. Do you guys think that's fair? Or should alone time really be with their own stuff in their own personal space? The master space has an Alexa for music or Audible, gliding chair, bed, and floor space if they do want to work on Legos or a project privately but I would expect them to pack it in and pack it out each time.

Also, has anyone tried to schedule alone time for kids in their shared room? My worry is that my oldest is extremely inflexible regarding schedules but I could try to make it a routine within our normal days at home. I've also thought of curtains around each bed but that doesn't help with noise and oldest is constantly listening to Audible. Other ideas or advice?

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Can the oldest not listen to Audible with headphones?

You could get them these for their beds.  It wouldn't help with noise, but several of the moms on our college mom forum have gotten them for their sensory kids who have to share a dorm room:

https://www.googleadservices.com/pagead/aclk?sa=L&ai=DChcSEwjOl-qrq5vjAhWYk7MKHa6UDKMYABAEGgJxbg&ohost=www.google.com&cid=CAESQOD2a6DE_A43VQ0FQXv01GChs62PskyQkI6sVVvUFeFYwFAtwGUVG86oNUSe7_a3MaYE_BmsWGCtEzEdRg2wups&sig=AOD64_3ZHoYNDf9O9wNcdcsogRngnJWXjw&ctype=5&q=&ved=0ahUKEwiPu-Krq5vjAhWKMd8KHagLChQQ9aACCEY&adurl=

They have said between these and headphones, their kids have been able to survive.

As far as space, can you carve out two distinct spaces for day time?  Like, oldest gets the bedroom during the day for alone time and middle gets the space in your bedroom for alone time?  That way they aren't still "sharing" by taking turns?

Or maybe separate the room with bookshelves/dressers so that they each have a "room" within a room?

Edited by DawnM
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3 minutes ago, DawnM said:

Can the oldest not listen to Audible with headphones?

You could get them these for their beds.  It wouldn't help with noise, but several of the moms on our college mom forum have gotten them for their sensory kids who have to share a dorm room:

https://www.googleadservices.com/pagead/aclk?sa=L&ai=DChcSEwjOl-qrq5vjAhWYk7MKHa6UDKMYABAEGgJxbg&ohost=www.google.com&cid=CAESQOD2a6DE_A43VQ0FQXv01GChs62PskyQkI6sVVvUFeFYwFAtwGUVG86oNUSe7_a3MaYE_BmsWGCtEzEdRg2wups&sig=AOD64_3ZHoYNDf9O9wNcdcsogRngnJWXjw&ctype=5&q=&ved=0ahUKEwiPu-Krq5vjAhWKMd8KHagLChQQ9aACCEY&adurl=

They have said between these and headphones, their kids have been able to survive.

As far as space, can you carve out two distinct spaces for day time?  Like, oldest gets the bedroom during the day for alone time and middle gets the space in your bedroom for alone time?  That way they aren't still "sharing" by taking turns?

Or maybe separate the room with bookshelves/dressers so that they each have a "room" within a room?

I would worry about air flow with that thing if they slept all night with it closed! But that could be my own anxiety coming out. It would also stop the problem of the toddler jumping on the top bunk. Certainly worth a shot! And yes I could get another Alexa plus headphones so they don't have to share. 

I wouldn't want to make their bedroom only one kid's alone space because as it is my middle child is already conceding constantly to my eldest's fits and demands to make him happy. I don't want him to grow up getting second best because he's so considerate, but if I tried giving the middle the bedroom for alone time the eldest would have a huge fit. And I'm TIRED of the taking turns strategy because one way or the other the eldest wheedles the middle out of his turns or refuses to wait calmly and tries to sleep outside or something crazy. I could, however, give them each their own shelf in the master space to store personal stuff they want to do if they take turns for alone time there.

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If the boys must share a room, then the oldest should not be allowed to shut his brothers out of the room.  

If he wants a private space within his bedroom, can you hang curtains around his bed?  He can shut them when he doesn't want to be bothered.  Otherwise carve out quiet spaces elsewhere in the house or yard.  The master bedroom may not be the best location as it is within 'your' space.   Any possibility of a backyard treehouse that is all his?  What about a small shed?

 

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Or things like this to divide current boy room into private individual  “rooms” ?  Along with headphones?  They can be allowed to close “their “ curtain area, but not whole room.  

RoomDividersNow Muslin Room Divider Curtain, 9ft Tall x 5ft Wide (Wheat) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015WSDWB8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_Z.FhDb7D7XHMB

Is there some tiny space the 7yo could have as a private bedroom? Or private loft area?  

 

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We intend to make a space in the garage with gym pads and a couch and games but that area keeps getting overfilled with stuff. We're working on putting more patio storage and minimizing stuff in general but it will probably take a year. We need to lay gravel, put sheds, etc.

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Some ways I’ve seen people manage: 

A cousin has their kids’ shared room lofted, and each child has the space below loft bed as a private area with curtains.  They can open the curtains if they mutually want more space together to play. 

A friend’s son, only boy with sisters, got a former huge closet as a bedroom, while the sisters shared.   

Another friend family (rural) had the oldest girl in an old camper as an outside separate room.  Though she was around 10 or 11 when she moved into it.  And then got a room of her own when they moved to a larger.

a designated room where all kids sleep or nap (quiet room). A different room for playing (play room).  A different room for media (with earphones etc).     So rooms are used by activity, not by whose room it is .  Alone time is found outside in nature.  

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4 minutes ago, Sarah0000 said:

We intend to make a space in the garage with gym pads and a couch and games but that area keeps getting overfilled with stuff. We're working on putting more patio storage and minimizing stuff in general but it will probably take a year. We need to lay gravel, put sheds, etc.

 

If it’s summer where you are maybe you could set up a couple (or as many as needed for number of kids) outside cabin tents for “alone “ space.  It would take maybe a day to buy them and another day to set them up.  Or play Tipis could achieve this. 

And let the 7yo help figure it out and set it up. 

Edited by Pen
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My boys are 4 years apart and have always shared a room.  The eldest often needs alone time. Instead of naps these days we have alone time. I’ll let one kid have their room one day and the other kid a different day. I don’t really keep track, it kind of works itself out in that one day someone wants to play LEGO which is in their room and someone else wants to read. I offer up my room or the living room. We do have a school/playroom that they can use too.

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Just now, Pen said:

Some ways I’ve seen people manage: 

A cousin has their kids’ shared room lofted, and each child has the space below loft bed as a private area with curtains.  They can open the curtains if they mutually want more space together to play. 

A friend’s son, only boy with sisters, got a former huge closet as a bedroom, while the sisters shared.   

Another friend family (rural) had the oldest girl in an old camper as an outside separate room.  Though she was around 10 or 11 when she moved into it.  And then got a room of her own when they moved to a larger.

a designated room where all kids sleep or nap (quiet room). A different room for playing (play room).  A different room for media (with earphones etc).     So rooms are used by activity, not by whose room it is .  Alone time is found outside in nature.  

Yes, rooms by activity is more what we have going on here. 

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1 minute ago, Pen said:

 

If it’s summer where you are maybe you could set up a couple (or as many as needed for number of kids) outside cabin tents for “alone “ space.  It would take maybe a day to buy them and another day to set them up.  Or play Tipis could achieve this. 

And let the 7yo help figure it out and set it up. 

Tried that. But it's impossible to keep the 1yo out. And the 7yo ended up rolling inside it all over the yard and hurting his brothers.

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3 minutes ago, Sarah0000 said:

Tried that. But it's impossible to keep the 1yo out. And the 7yo ended up rolling inside it all over the yard and hurting his brothers.

 

I get difficulty with 1 year old. But how did 7yo roll all over and hurt brothers?

possibly you need a therapist for 7yo? 

Is he on the spectrum? Or....? 

 

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9 minutes ago, Pen said:

Or things like this to divide current boy room into private individual  “rooms” ?  Along with headphones?  They can be allowed to close “their “ curtain area, but not whole room.  

RoomDividersNow Muslin Room Divider Curtain, 9ft Tall x 5ft Wide (Wheat) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015WSDWB8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_Z.FhDb7D7XHMB

Is there some tiny space the 7yo could have as a private bedroom? Or private loft area?  

 

They would climb and pull down the curtains. 

I could carve out the garage couch for the 7yo in the meantime. There wouldn't really be anything fun in there like Legos but if he truly needs alone time it could be a place to decompress with a book. Do you guys with older kids think that's reasonable though? That if a kid says he needs alone time he can take it in a space away from his personal stuff? Or is it important for a person to have alone time in just his space with just his stuff? I think that's where I'm having trouble deciding what's reasonable. Actually needing alone time away from people is absolutely necessary. Alone time with your shared toys and things...maybe not so necessary, at least not on a daily basis?

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Just now, Pen said:

 

I get difficulty with 1 year old. But how did 7yo roll all over and hurt brothers?

possibly you need a therapist for 7yo? 

Is he on the spectrum? Or....? 

 

He climbed in the tent and rolled all over the yard including over his brothers. We recently started therapy and he's being assessed for primarily ADHD and possibly ASD.

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2 minutes ago, Sarah0000 said:

They would climb and pull down the curtains. 

 

Do they have acceptable places  to climb and exercise motor skills? 

If not, they need that. And need to understand what is appropriate where and when

If yes, but they cannot not do that inappropriately , are too impulsive, or whatever is going on, then you need evaluations for both / all as to what’s going on. 

2 minutes ago, Sarah0000 said:

I could carve out the garage couch for the 7yo in the meantime. There wouldn't really be anything fun in there like Legos but if he truly needs alone time it could be a place to decompress with a book. Do you guys with older kids think that's reasonable though? That if a kid says he needs alone time he can take it in a space away from his personal stuff? Or is it important for a person to have alone time in just his space with just his stuff? I think that's where I'm having trouble deciding what's reasonable. Actually needing alone time away from people is absolutely necessary. Alone time with your shared toys and things...maybe not so necessary, at least not on a daily basis?

 

Yes.

Do that.

He can take a book with him if he likes.  He doesn’t need all his toys. 

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6 minutes ago, Sarah0000 said:

He climbed in the tent and rolled all over the yard including over his brothers. We recently started therapy and he's being assessed for primarily ADHD and possibly ASD.

 

Good.  

Something isn’t sounding “normal” at all. 

 

 

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maybe garage needs a small single bedroom carved out for 7yo.  

More than it needs a game room. 

 

If 4yo cannot refrain from climbing curtains if you had them (and if he’s got suitable climbing places not curtains) it sounds like he may also need assessment. Early  intervention may be helpful if you are dealing with ASD or adhd 

 

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If he were at a public school, and he needed alone time at school, and he had an IEP where everyone is one the same page — he would probably have some special item/s in his backpack and be able to have those item/s.  

So I think there is a middle ground where he does have some of his own special things, but he doesn’t have to have 100% access to all his things.  

If he has a comfortable place that he can really relax and recharge, that is what he needs.

I think you might think about two different concepts, too.

One is “needing” alone time.

One is “choosing” to have alone time.

You are allowed to put limits on his “choosing” to be alone, because I doubt he needs anything along the lines of “all day” alone.  

You are also allowed to make his “needing” alone time a little more boring.  For example — to me, he doesn’t “need” Alexa for alone time he “needs.” That is not something I would fight over if you see it as a huge benefit for him with self-regulation.  

But if it is something he likes, maybe he would be more open to being around the family if that was not an item he could take and have to himself whenever he wanted.  

There are a lot of issues here, and for my son with autism, I made choices around having him NOT have free access to some items, and making those items dependent on some minimal amount of social involvement.  

But then a boring quiet place is totally necessary.  And not boring like a punishment — just not stimulating in a way that the specific child would be happy to hang out alone indefinitely, because of the presence of some items. 

You can also set a time limit on some items or allow them case-by-case if you know he is very stressed.  

But in general — you can say a child really needs alone time, but not want to encourage an excessive amount of alone time, and it is possible to try to do that.  It’s hard because it takes recognizing when kids need to be alone, and when they want to be alone but it’s okay to push them a little to be around other people and deal with not being in complete control of their own schedule and always being able to choose their preferred activity at any moment.  

If your child is still pretty involved with the family throughout the day, I would not worry the same way.  My son would not be involved unless I was making an effort to involve him, and then I needed to not have the competition of “go do whatever I want in my room.”  I also needed some favorite things to entice him to want to hang out.  

Another suggestion is — a lot of people use a closet for private time.  Can you empty out a closet?  A lot of kids love a closet.  My understanding is they don’t shut the door, but having 3 sides and the enclosed space is something a lot of kids like.  

You also might think about — depending on how you are using breaks for alone time, etc — if there is a boring (not in a punishment way, just in a less-stimulating way) place that could be perfect for calming down and decompressing, but not somewhere the kid would really want to hang around for a long time once they were calmed down.  

You can decide if you want — that a small amount of Legos are okay for alone time, but if he wants all the fun Legos, he needs to be around other people.  That kind of thing helped my son because it would be motivating to him.  And I would try to make things pleasant for him, too.  

For siblings — I think whatever, in the long-term, will be best for your son to make social/emotional/self-regulation growth, will also be the best for the siblings.  Any progress or gains he can make are the best for the siblings.  If that means things being a little unfair, but in a way that will help this child moving forward, I think that’s okay.  If it’s just — we are all tired of him being difficult when he doesn’t get his way (Edit — so we tiptoe around him) — I think any additional help you can get is worth looking into.  

Edited by Lecka
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25 minutes ago, Sarah0000 said:

That if a kid says he needs alone time he can take it in a space away from his personal stuff?

 I think that is totally reasonable. As an adult I can't kick everyone out of the house when I need a break. In fact I can't even count on my bedroom being free, but I don't need that. I decide what activity i want to do (nap, read, craft, whatever) and then I pick up my stuff and find a location. So I'm actually seeing the garage couch as a great choice, and planning your alone time as a good skill. However, if your oldest is 7, the learning curve may be loooong.

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5 minutes ago, Lecka said:

For siblings — I think whatever, in the long-term, will be best for your son to make social/emotional/self-regulation growth, will also be the best for the siblings.

 

Agree, but also think situation needs consideration from POV each sibling.   The 4 yo may also need alone time. 

And the age gap is enough that the 4yo may be messing with the 7yo s stuff, and Vice versa, so they may need some private “stuff” space. 

 

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I can’t think of any websites or books — but this is a common issue with autism, because many kids really do need time alone, but also may have preferences for being alone (for various reasons), and parents may be in a position of wanting to ensure needed alone time/breaks, but also of encouraging kids to interact with others and push themselves a little in tolerating the frustrations of being around other people and not being in control of their environment.

This is a common problem and there are different ideas or principles about how to handle it.

One of them is that break time or alone time should not be stimulating, so that when the child is really calmed down they will be bored and want to come out.  That would be on an extreme side.  But you could think about how you want to use your break area, and if you want that to be the same as the child’s room or not.  

Because — does break/alone time need to be separate from — child hanging out in room having independent time.  

The thing is too, sometimes kids have things in their rooms that are normally completely fine, but if they are needing a break, maybe they will not calm down in their room because of those items being in there.  

These are all things with “taking breaks” and issues that do come up for people!  

It is not easy.  

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If you can manage his needs with planned breaks, that is a great thing.

For some kids, they need fewer breaks if they have breaks scheduled in the day, instead of waiting until they are overloaded and “have to have a break right now.”

I don’t think it’s realistic for a 7-year-old or 4-year-old with possible ASD to only have planned breaks.  I think they need a place to go when they need a break, at any time.  And both of them if needed.  

But needing a break, isn’t the same as wanting to have your room to yourself all day.  

Especially if a child needs to work on sharing and taking turns — they have to be out of “alone in their room” to work on those skills.  Not that they should never have time to do what they want — but if the balance is too far one way, it takes away chances to do other things.  

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9 minutes ago, Sarah0000 said:

They would climb and pull down the curtains. 

I could carve out the garage couch for the 7yo in the meantime. There wouldn't really be anything fun in there like Legos but if he truly needs alone time it could be a place to decompress with a book. Do you guys with older kids think that's reasonable though? That if a kid says he needs alone time he can take it in a space away from his personal stuff? Or is it important for a person to have alone time in just his space with just his stuff? I think that's where I'm having trouble deciding what's reasonable. Actually needing alone time away from people is absolutely necessary. Alone time with your shared toys and things...maybe not so necessary, at least not on a daily basis?

 

In your initial post you stated that the shared room situation was new.  If the oldest child had his own space for several years, I can understand his resentment at having to share with a younger sibling.  Sharing spaces is a difficult adjustment for anyone, it is especially difficult for people who NEED alone time to recharge.  I would re-think the shared room situation. Is it possible to put the two youngest together now and give the oldest his own room?    If the oldest two must share a room, consider bedtents.  The mattress fits inside the tent, so rolling shouldn't be an issue.     

Find someplace other than the bedroom for shared toys.  Use baby gates to fence off part of the living or dining room to create a toddler-free area for older child play.  That will make the bedroom less appealing for play.  Offer the garage couch as a private place for the 7 year old.  Clear a small area near the couch for him to store some of his 'treasures.'  If you have a table you can set up, even better.   Alone space doesn't and shouldn't include all of a person's belongings, but it should allow the person to engage in the desired activity (which for a 7 year old might be building LEGO without a pesty younger sibling knocking it apart).

 

 

 

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My kids share rooms and have no choice about it, that is how it must be.  Our rules:

- each child's bed is their own space, no one can be on a sibling's bed without permission.  

- any child who is being intentionally annoying can be removed at my discretion, even from their own room.  

- A child who is "easily annoyed" by what I consider normal play behavior (sibling making quiet car noises while playing cars in same room for example) is the one who needs to move.  And YES, I do allow that child to go into the master bedroom.  We only have 3 bedrooms for 6 people, so yes, I am willing to share in the daytime for a child in need of quiet time.  

- The child who needs quiet time of course must be entirely respectful of DH and my things- no rolling all over the bed and messing it up, no playing with our stuff.  But to read or listen to music?  Sure.  

When everyone needs alone time, the kids are distributed:  1 in each bedroom and 1 in the living room.  

 

I don't think a question of "fairness" even applies.  Is it fair that every single person on the planet cannot have every minute need met every second of the day?  No.  So just do the best you can with what you have.  If your child can responsibly handle quiet time in your master bedroom space, then why on Earth not use that space well?  Living in a small space is all about making that space work for you!  

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Sherry in OH said:

 

In your initial post you stated that the shared room situation was new.  If the oldest child had his own space for several years, I can understand his resentment at having to share with a younger sibling.  Sharing spaces is a difficult adjustment for anyone, it is especially difficult for people who NEED alone time to recharge.

 

Good points!

Was it solo bedroom of 7yo that got 4yo moved in?

9 minutes ago, Sherry in OH said:

 I would re-think the shared room situation. Is it possible to put the two youngest together now and give the oldest his own room?

Good idea.

 

9 minutes ago, Sherry in OH said:

Find someplace other than the bedroom for shared toys.  

 

Also good idea.  Have shared bedroom as just beds, sleeping, napping, dressing and clothes storage.  Elsewhere for toys, playing, etc. 

 

 

9 minutes ago, Sherry in OH said:

it should allow the person to engage in the desired activity (which for a 7 year old might be building LEGO without a pesty younger sibling knocking it apart).

 

 

 

 

Yes a 3 year age spread can be really difficult.  

For both kids. 

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I think context matters so much.  I agree completely if it’s just — a kid who wants time to work on his Legos and not have them messed up, and everything else is going well.  

If there are other issues then I think the context is different.  If the context is anything near autism, then it’s a pretty known problem for kids to want to spend long periods of time alone, and that this often can be because they have trouble with self-regulation and social skills, and then that being alone isn’t providing them with a way to work on these defiticts.

But if it’s just a kid who wants to work on his Legos and the rest of the context is fine — then what deficits are there to work on?  None.  What long-term problems could come from this personality type?   None in particular.

But is this is just one example of something and the big picture is more on the autism side, then it is a different situation.

I am pretty sure I have seen this poster mention autism-type concerns in the past and so it is context for me.  

If it was someone I knew in person and knew everything else was going well and they just had this one thing, I wouldn’t have the same opinion.

As far as feeling frustrated about someone messing up their Legos — this is all on a continuum ranging from — a younger child completely destroys something, and the older child says “I’m mad at you,” to the younger child adding one piece and the older child slaps them in the face.  It really does matter because — there is some middle ground there.

There is also stuff (with autism) where a kid could have 1,000 Legos and refuse to share for another child to make a separate LEGO structure and not mess with them in any way, other than being in the same space and using the same huge pile of Legos.  

I don’t think that is the same as — a legitimate concern of a younger child destroying things.  

So it just depends!

I definitely don’t think an older child should have their stuff destroyed all the time.  But there is a lot that is not at that level, that I think is reasonable to put up with.  

Edited by Lecka
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17 minutes ago, Sherry in OH said:

 

In your initial post you stated that the shared room situation was new.  If the oldest child had his own space for several years, I can understand his resentment at having to share with a younger sibling.  Sharing spaces is a difficult adjustment for anyone, it is especially difficult for people who NEED alone time to recharge.  I would re-think the shared room situation. Is it possible to put the two youngest together now and give the oldest his own room?    If the oldest two must share a room, consider bedtents.  The mattress fits inside the tent, so rolling shouldn't be an issue.     

Find someplace other than the bedroom for shared toys.  Use baby gates to fence off part of the living or dining room to create a toddler-free area for older child play.  That will make the bedroom less appealing for play.  Offer the garage couch as a private place for the 7 year old.  Clear a small area near the couch for him to store some of his 'treasures.'  If you have a table you can set up, even better.   Alone space doesn't and shouldn't include all of a person's belongings, but it should allow the person to engage in the desired activity (which for a 7 year old might be building LEGO without a pesty younger sibling knocking it apart).

 

 

 

At the last minute we changed our plan to move our oldest in together for the reason that one had challenges and needed his own space. The need for own space never changed (still hasn't as an adult). It was a pain because in our case it meant youngest slept in a pack in play in our room until oldest was ready to move to a basement bedroom. It was worth it for the long haul though.

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Our current home only has a bedroom so it is shared by four of us. Both kids need alone time. When they were younger, each had an IKEA Pello chair (https://m2.ikea.com/us/en/p/pello-armchair-holmby-natural-70078463/) in the living room which they have their favorite cushions on. They can curl up in the Pello chair when they need their “do not disturb” time. I shared a bedroom with my brother as my childhood home has two bedrooms. The armchair in the living room was my “downtime” chair and if my late grandma was sitting there, I would plop myself on the two seater sofa instead. 

We also bought them a study desk with hutch each when they were older so they have display space for their “trinkets”.  I won’t recommend that for now as your younger two might use study desks for climbing (my nephews were “climbers”).

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What I think is really hard and what happened with me is, there is this message of “hey, your child needs alone time and breaks.”  Okay, yes, now I am aware and I want to get on board with that.

But then it is not as easy as “allow breaks” because of these side issues like — where do we have them?  How long do they last?  What are their breaks like?  What if they want to spend a lot do their time taking a break and it interferes with other parts of life?

And it is just like — oh, now I have to think about all of this too?  When I just wanted to be a parent who understands that breaks can be really needed and should be a priority, I didn’t know it would be so complicated!  It seems like it should be a lot easier and not bring up the side issues, but a lot of time it does.  

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2 minutes ago, Lecka said:

What I think is really hard and what happened with me is, there is this message of “hey, your child needs alone time and breaks.”  Okay, yes, now I am aware and I want to get on board with that.

But then it is not as easy as “allow breaks” because of these side issues like — where do we have them?  How long do they last?  What are their breaks like?  What if they want to spend a lot do their time taking a break and it interferes with other parts of life?

And it is just like — oh, now I have to think about all of this too?  When I just wanted to be a parent who understands that breaks can be really needed and should be a priority, I didn’t know it would be so complicated!  It seems like it should be a lot easier and not bring up the side issues, but a lot of time it does.  

 

“Breaks” isn’t necessarily “alone time”.  

“Alone time” could be school work done alone, or dish washing alone.  Or watering vegetable garden alone. 

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This type of thing with a separate “room” for each boy / child (even if baby isn’t ready for room of his own, one could be designated) so that 7yo isn’t using more or less than his own designated space — and one room designated for the parents?  And with clear rules about proper use and clear penalties for wrong use (such as that might involve rolling it or breaking it, or hurting others) . ?

Family Cabin Tent 14 Person Base Camp 4 Rooms Hiking Camping Shelter Outdoor https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M7ZQXSR/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_oJKhDbWP64CZC

and I’ve seen similar things for less $ at big box stores. 

Edited by Pen
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1 hour ago, Lecka said:

What I think is really hard and what happened with me is, there is this message of “hey, your child needs alone time and breaks.”  Okay, yes, now I am aware and I want to get on board with that.

But then it is not as easy as “allow breaks” because of these side issues like — where do we have them?  How long do they last?  What are their breaks like?  What if they want to spend a lot do their time taking a break and it interferes with other parts of life?

And it is just like — oh, now I have to think about all of this too?  When I just wanted to be a parent who understands that breaks can be really needed and should be a priority, I didn’t know it would be so complicated!  It seems like it should be a lot easier and not bring up the side issues, but a lot of time it does.  

 

I wonder if some of this is cultural?  

I have relatives  who are Asian or part Asian and this seems to be different.  

Quite aside from spectrum or other issues.

 But there seems to be more of a cultural tendency toward group cooperation. 

Rather than perhaps a European independence tendency or even more so with “American rugged individualism “ 

 

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Well I definitely expect my kids to share and take turns with each other, in some general ways.  

We have one tv (well we have 2 now, but the second one they usually aren’t going to be allowed to watch).

My son with autism used to get so mad whenever the tv show wasn’t what he wanted, that he would unplug the tv.  

I can see it being a minimal expectation to sometimes not have it be your turn to pick a show, or sometimes be willing to find a compromise show all 3 siblings will watch, but he was not even willing to share or take turns at that level, and it is pretty rude and detrimental to not have that minimal level.

And also not be willing or able to find something else to do, etc, many other options.  

That was our situation when we started behavioral therapy when he was 4, and that was one of our first goals, because it was really causing a lot of problems, and also the kind of thing where if that got better so would many other similar issues.  

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30 minutes ago, Lecka said:

Well I definitely expect my kids to share and take turns with each other, in some general ways.  

We have one tv (well we have 2 now, but the second one they usually aren’t going to be allowed to watch).

My son with autism used to get so mad whenever the tv show wasn’t what he wanted, that he would unplug the tv.  

I can see it being a minimal expectation to sometimes not have it be your turn to pick a show, or sometimes be willing to find a compromise show all 3 siblings will watch, but he was not even willing to share or take turns at that level, and it is pretty rude and detrimental to not have that minimal level.

And also not be willing or able to find something else to do, etc, many other options.  

That was our situation when we started behavioral therapy when he was 4, and that was one of our first goals, because it was really causing a lot of problems, and also the kind of thing where if that got better so would many other similar issues.  

 

the Waldorf kindergarten had only one swing so the children had to learn taking turns

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Sorry got caught up with the holiday. Thanks for all the advice!

The 4yo isn't messing with the 7yo stuff. The 4yo is actually really considerate of other people but of course he reaches his limits with his brother too. He's not the one who would climb curtains or refuse to take turns with space or things. If I point out to the older that I'm only ensuring his younger brother gets the same access as he does, then he tries to refuse access altogether to anybody. He would rather hurt himself by not getting benefits than to concede to basic rules much of the time.

For the immediate problems we're going to give both kids the bed tents for private space and set up the couch in the garage for getting completely away. It would help if the Legos weren't in their room but we've tried every other room in the house and it keeps being an organization/cleanliness issue. 

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Lofted beds with the space underneath completely closed off with curtains and set up as  private/cozy chill out space + noise cancelling headphones + teaching each that no one can go under someone else’s bed without their permission + teaching everyone to respect the breaks and downtime of others.  This is the set up we have for my sons (both in the spectrum) who choose to share a room but need their own space too.  My nieces are getting the same thing at their new apartment.  When my nieces lived here, one had a Kura (low loft) bed and the other a bed tent thing because there wasn’t room in their room for two loft beds.  

For little kids, I would use the IKEA Kura beds instead of full height loft beds. 

Edited by LucyStoner
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7 hours ago, Sarah0000 said:

Sorry got caught up with the holiday. Thanks for all the advice!

The 4yo isn't messing with the 7yo stuff. The 4yo is actually really considerate of other people but of course he reaches his limits with his brother too. He's not the one who would climb curtains or refuse to take turns with space or things. If I point out to the older that I'm only ensuring his younger brother gets the same access as he does, then he tries to refuse access altogether to anybody. He would rather hurt himself by not getting benefits than to concede to basic rules much of the time.

 

Is there a different even if quite small space that 7yo can have as private bedroom?  

The current arrangement seems like a serious ongoing problem for 4yo.    It seems like 4 yo and 1 yo in the boy room would be less bad for the 4yo, than 7yo and 4yo sharing.  

I’m generally all for kids learning to share, but not for sacrifice of little brother to a domineering big brother. 

 

7 hours ago, Sarah0000 said:

For the immediate problems we're going to give both kids the bed tents for private space and set up the couch in the garage for getting completely away. It would help if the Legos weren't in their room but we've tried every other room in the house and it keeps being an organization/cleanliness issue. 

 

I hope that will work.  

It may be another tried step on path.

 

If the 7yo only has ADHD, maybe medication would help him not climb the curtains.  Be able to settle more in general. 

Unfortunately there are a lot of red flags that he may be on the spectrum. 

Or something else going on with him that could be even worse.

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My kids shared a room at that age, as did I and all my siblings.  I have never heard of "alone time" where kids keep other kids out of their shared bedroom.

When I was a kid, I used to crawl behind or under the living room furniture for my "alone time."  For a while I used some idle attic space that I "converted" to a sitting area.  My brother used to have a junky room in the basement which he converted to a "darkroom" for his photography stuff.  There was also a makeshift loft over the garage, area behind the garage, under the porch, etc.  Nobody really had "rights" to these areas, but we figured out enough ways to get our "alone time" in between mixed play times.

To get away from a pesky younger sibling, we could ride away on a bike, or go to some place the younger isn't allowed to go because of age.

Nowadays there are bed tent things that can provide some privacy in a bedroom.

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I haven't read other replies. Have you seen those bunk bed tents? I like the idea.

We turned their walk in closet into a personal space for our daughter. She has a hammock and a desk in there along with lots of artwork and her princess dresses on display. The shelves are lined with stuffed animals and My Little Ponies. It's all rather ridiculous.

We have a daily quiet time where no one is allowed to talk. Everyone is in bed with drawing materials and books with classical music on.

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On 7/6/2019 at 5:26 AM, Sarah0000 said:

Sorry got caught up with the holiday. Thanks for all the advice!

The 4yo isn't messing with the 7yo stuff. The 4yo is actually really considerate of other people but of course he reaches his limits with his brother too. He's not the one who would climb curtains or refuse to take turns with space or things. If I point out to the older that I'm only ensuring his younger brother gets the same access as he does, then he tries to refuse access altogether to anybody. He would rather hurt himself by not getting benefits than to concede to basic rules much of the time.

For the immediate problems we're going to give both kids the bed tents for private space and set up the couch in the garage for getting completely away. It would help if the Legos weren't in their room but we've tried every other room in the house and it keeps being an organization/cleanliness issue. 

 

I don't know what kind of organization issue you have with LEGOS, but if the cleanliness issue is that your children do not pick up when they are done - have them play on a bedsheet.  All bricks must remain on the sheet.  When play is finished, pick up the corners of the sheet - the bricks will naturally slide to the middle.  Then you can either place the entire bundle into a tote or carefully dump the sheet into the tote.   It is okay to give LEGOS or any other toy a time out if the children do not pick them up.  You can also set times for when play with LEGOs (or any other toys) are permitted or remove them entirely if the toys are not appropriate for your family's situation.   

Your therapist may have mentioned this, but in case he/she didn't - do not send your eldest son to his room as a disciplinary tactic.  If you use time out, select a spot elsewhere in the house, preferably one where you can keep an eye on him.  

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  • 3 years later...
On 7/4/2019 at 9:10 AM, Sarah0000 said:

They would climb and pull down the curtains. 

I could carve out the garage couch for the 7yo in the meantime. There wouldn't really be anything fun in there like Legos but if he truly needs alone time it could be a place to decompress with a book. Do you guys with older kids think that's reasonable though? That if a kid says he needs alone time he can take it in a space away from his personal stuff? Or is it important for a person to have alone time in just his space with just his stuff? I think that's where I'm having trouble deciding what's reasonable. Actually needing alone time away from people is absolutely necessary. Alone time with your shared toys and things...maybe not so necessary, at least not on a daily basis?

So sort of.

Older siblings do need time to work on projects without siblings mucking them up. But having that at the expense of others is not good. Also, I would schedule this on a daily basis, rotating areas with different days of the week, or times of day. So like he could get the bedroom for an hour in the morning and the garage in the afternoon.

You write it down, and it doesn't matter if olders try to wheedle others out of their times, mom is in charge of this and that won't work. 

Can you put a card table in the garage for him to work on projects without siblings interfering?

For my kids, alone time is important, but for some of them, they do need to be required to come out and interact because the more they sit alone, the less they manage interactions very well. The less flexible and loving they are. So by scheduling it, they know they get 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon, but they have to share spaces at other times and practice being a nice person. 

 

ETA: Whoops. Didn't realize this was old. Wonder what happened?

Edited by fairfarmhand
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2 hours ago, fairfarmhand said:

So sort of.

Older siblings do need time to work on projects without siblings mucking them up. But having that at the expense of others is not good. Also, I would schedule this on a daily basis, rotating areas with different days of the week, or times of day. So like he could get the bedroom for an hour in the morning and the garage in the afternoon.

You write it down, and it doesn't matter if olders try to wheedle others out of their times, mom is in charge of this and that won't work. 

Can you put a card table in the garage for him to work on projects without siblings interfering?

For my kids, alone time is important, but for some of them, they do need to be required to come out and interact because the more they sit alone, the less they manage interactions very well. The less flexible and loving they are. So by scheduling it, they know they get 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon, but they have to share spaces at other times and practice being a nice person. 

 

ETA: Whoops. Didn't realize this was old. Wonder what happened?

Hi, OP here.

Yes, this post was old. I think at the time we just found small places for him to have alone time. We did get him a bed tent, and eventually moved him into a different room that he had to share with his dad's office space when work from home started during the pandemic. But last year we finally moved to a bigger house and everyone has their own bedroom now. Not that that stops the kids from invading each other's space but it helps. 

We also do have a table in the garage for bigger projects which helps my oldest with his own stuff, too. And he was diagnosed with ADHD and ASD which he was getting therapy for but it wasn't effective for the biggest issues we were having. So not sure what to do on that front at the moment but he does have private space which is very much a necessity for him.

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