Laws on Children Sharing a Room

By Andrea Hermitt ; Updated March 16, 2017
Father tucking son (8-10) in bed
Siri Stafford/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Though a couple generations ago it was common for children to share a room or even a bed, it’s more and more common for today’s kids to have their own bed and room. This change is not due to federal or state laws; in fact, there are no such laws that dictate how many children can share a bed or room. When deciding how many children sleep in one room or bed, consider the following factors and etiquette.

No Real Law for Siblings

As long as there are no complaints, parents can make reasonable decisions as to who can share what room

There are no US laws that dictate whether siblings of either gender can or cannot share a room. As long as there are no complaints, parents can make reasonable decisions as to who can share rooms in their house.

Public Housing

Apartment buildings can have rules for tenants regarding the number of bedrooms required

Though not a federal or state law, apartment complexes and public housing can dictate the max occupancy per bedroom in the building. This rule is generally two people per bedroom.

Child Protection Agencies

Child protection agencies can make judgments about children sharing rooms

Child protection agencies can make judgments about children sharing rooms, based on the situation. In most cases, the rule of thumb is that children are separated by gender before the oldest child reaches puberty. In some cases, the agency will require children over the age of five to be separated by gender.

Foster Children

Because foster children are wards of the state, there will be laws that dictate the children sharing a bedroom

Since foster children are wards of the state, there are laws that dictate the children sharing a bedroom. These laws may vary by state. For example, in Ohio you can have four children in a bedroom as long as there is room for personal belongings, and the room is safe and comfortable. Children over the age of five may only share a room with children of the same gender, and foster children over one may not share a room with an adult.

When Your Children Have to Share

Whether your family’s expanding or you need to utilize the space in your house, sometimes bunking up and putting two or more children in a room is a must. If your child isn’t used to living with a sibling or sharing a room, take the necessary steps to help prevent problems and make cohabitation successful.

Before the children move in together, allow each child customize their living space and make their room feel like home. If possible, allow each child to choose their own storage containers, bedding and décor. When you set up the room, designate certain areas of the room to each child. Evenly dividing up the room can help your children feel like they have their own space, even while sharing a room.

After your children are settled in, help them adjust to cohabitation by keeping a schedule. For instance, give each child a specific time of day in which he or she can have the room. Each child needs some private time or time to spend with his or her friends. When conflict arises, make sure you are available for conversation and compromise.

About the Author

Andrea Hermitt is an artist and writer who loves to research and write about new things. She's been a content writer since 2000, contributing to Families.com, the blog Notes From A Homeschooling Mom and other online publications. Hermitt has a Bachelor of Arts in fine art and English from the State University of New York at Albany.