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Room To Share

Room To ShareGiving children their own rooms is typical in U.S. households, but may not always be the best choice, says a Tufts child-development expert.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [07.25.02] Over the last 30 years, the size of the average home in America has swelled by nearly 1,000 square feet - giving families plenty of room to spread out. And most of today's children - unlike the generations before them - never worry about sharing a room with a sibling. But giving kids too much space has some trade-offs, says a Tufts expert, which may not make it the best choice.

"Sharing a room eases certain issues for children - feelings of aloneness or isolation," Tufts' George Scarlett told the Washington Post. "It can help them with their sense of attachment and security."

According to Scarlett, the deputy chair of Tufts' Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development, America is one of the few countries in the world where families seem to prefer separate rooms for each child.

"Other cultures think we're almost abusive in the way we put children in separate bedrooms at night," Scarlett told the Post. "Family beds are commonplace in other parts of the world. Shared rooms are certainly the norm."

That wasn't always the case.

"It's all a far cry from generations of children who shared rooms and even beds with one another, or with other members of the extended family," reported the newspaper. "And that certainly is still common practice among families with limited means or who come from cultures where sharing sleeping space is the norm."

Today - as homes continue to grow in size while most families have only two children - the practice of separating children into different rooms appears to be here to stay.

But while it's popular, separating children and parents is not always practical.

"For many American families, the first private room is the nursery, often painted, personalized and perfect before the baby is even born," reported the Post. "But as any parent knows, newborns often end up being brought into the parents' room (and bed) for months while feeding and crying interrupts the night."

 

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