Let’s be honest: Sharing is a slow-to-develop life skill. Even as adults, we have a tough time sharing our favorite things, but kids can argue over just about anything. “Mine” is among the first words kids learn, after all, and they use it constantly: That stuffed animal that’s been sitting in the same spot, untouched, for six months? “MINE!” The Happy Meal toy that looks exactly like four others they have at home? “MINE!” The piece of lint you just plucked off their shirt? “MINE!”
The “fun” of learning to share multiplies when siblings are involved. Suddenly, there are shouting matches over remote controls, who gets to ride shotgun, and whose turn it is to feed the new goldfish. And then there’s the bathroom:
“Daaaaaaaaad. John’s been in the bathroom for six whole yeeaarrrrrs, and I need to do my haiiiiiirrrrr.”
Some degree of sibling rivalry is inevitable, but there are plenty of ways parents can help keep it under control. Here are our favorite tips for squashing the shouting when it comes to shared bathrooms:
Create a schedule
At the beginning of each week, hold a quick family meeting to learn who needs to be where and when. Then, develop a bathroom schedule that matches the calendar. If your kids’ schedules are pretty much aligned, then simply alternate who gets the bathroom first each morning. It’s helpful to actually write out the schedule and post it so no one has to try to remember what was decided.
Of course, things come up at the last minute, and kids aren’t great at remembering their commitments. (Who hasn’t made a pilgrim costume at 3 a.m.?) So check in every night before everyone goes to bed to make sure the schedule still works.
Develop a chore chart to help your kids share responsibility for keeping their bathroom tidy. Be sure to alternate the particularly unpleasant tasks. Or if one of your kids is especially messy, make them responsible for their own cleanup. (We’re looking at you, teenage boys.)
Multiply your space
Sometimes, siblings fight over bathroom space because there simply isn’t enough of it.
- Consider adding a larger vanity and installing a second sink.
- If there isn’t enough floor space to do that, extend the counter over the toilet.
- Put in a larger, wider mirror and make sure there’s plenty of good light in more than one area of the room.
- If your kids have outgrown bubble baths, consider a tub-to-shower conversion to open up more possibilities.
Kids fight about the amount of time their siblings spend in the bathroom, but they also argue about how much space their stuff takes up: towels; hair dryers, straighteners, and curlers; a collection of body lotions and sprays, every hair product under the sun.
Help your kids share their space by providing plenty of storage options. Consider some recessed shelving, some extra towel bars or hooks, and a shower caddy.
Create a no-electronics zone
In a recent study, 69% of people admitted to using their phones in the bathroom. Nearly 75% of people said they spend longer in the bathroom because they’re using their phone. If your kids are arguing over how much time their siblings take in the bathroom, eliminating electronics is a sure-fire way to solve that problem.
Add a door or two
If your kids’ bathroom has the toilet, shower, and sink in one open area, consider breaking the space up so more than one person can be in there at a time. Wouldn’t it be great if Kid #1 could be brushing his teeth while Kid #2 is taking his shower? Depending on how your bathroom is configured, you may need the help of an experienced bathroom remodeler.
Whether you’re trying to resolve some bathroom-related sibling rivalry or you want to freshen up your own space, Re-Bath’s team of professionals are ready to help. Schedule your free in-home design and estimate today.