I recently posted a picture on Facebook of three of my teenagers gathered around our big kitchen table and I commented on the various activities that were going on around it at that moment, including:
One kid either studying for exams, or playing a video game while pretending to study.
One kid drawing in her sketchbook, while babysitting my phone on rice. It was recovering from a run in with a sink.
One kid online filling out University applications.
I noted that there were way too many coffee cups and mess around, as is the case with teenagers and study.
I posted the picture just because it was funny to see everything that was going on all at once. But, the collective reaction from people who commented on the photo was “HOW DO YOU GET YOUR TEENAGERS OUT OF THEIR BEDROOMS AND STUDYING TOGETHER IN A COMMON SPACE?”
Based on all the responses, I realized that this is a thing for parents. I had NO idea. My kids have never studied in their bedrooms and they never just disappear into their bedrooms for hours on end with the door shut.
So, I gave some thought as to why my kids hang out and study in a common space in shared company. Here are five main factors that might encourage your teens to do the same:
- Have siblings share bedrooms. All of my children share a bedroom with a sibling. That way, they can’t escape the chaos, even if they're in their rooms.
- Keep bedrooms for sleeping. When my kids were small, I didn’t put toys or activities in their rooms. They do not have desks in their bedrooms. I want them to think of those rooms as a place to sleep – not to play or study.
- Have crappy Wi-Fi. By dumb luck, the Wi-Fi sucks in my kids’ bedrooms. What teen wants to hang out in a space with no internet?!
- Make the bedrooms a screen-free zone. If you don’t want them in their bedrooms, keep the screens out of them. There are these things called “alarm clocks” that they can use to wake them up in the morning.
- Create a communal environment that is appealing. Communal spaces should provide more to them than their bedrooms and should encourage fun and collaboration. Sure, sometimes the sibling crew ends up belting out show tunes together. Yep, they also interrupt each other to get help with a math question. I’m good with that - those are lifelong memories made together.
What is your take on bedrooms? Do you have kids who hang out in their rooms a lot? How do you feel about?