How Can I Organize Our Room if I'm a Teen Sharing My Room With a Toddler?

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Teens and toddlers couldn't be more different. On the verge of adulthood, teens seek independence, are self-reliant and typically have a deep need for privacy. On the other hand, toddlers are inquisitive about the world around them, generally well attached to close caregivers/family members and have little use for a private life. If you are a teen who will be sharing a bedroom with a toddler sibling, it is possible to combine tastes and needs to create a joined space that will be suitable for both of you.

Things You'll Need

  • Childproof cabinet locks
  • Childproof door locks
  • Rubber childproofing corner or edge bumpers
  • Wall anchors/tethers
  • Plastic storage units
  • Outlet covers

Childproofing

  • Search thoroughly for problematic or dangerous parts of the room that could cause a toddler safety risk. The inquisitive toddler will try to get into anything and everything. From stereo equipment to cosmetic items, almost any bedroom item can become a potential hazard. Teens can combat this by childproofing the entire bedroom. Although this may at first appear to cramp your style, modern childproofing items are easy to use and relatively unnoticeable.

  • Place cosmetics, fragrances and other personal care items in high cabinets that can be locked. If the cabinet has no lock, use a childproof cabinet handle or closure to secure.

  • Secure all electronic items and electricity sources. Place outlet covers on each electrical outlet and use a cord hiding device for television, computer, video game and other cords.

  • Place rubber bumpers and corner edges on all pointy edges and surfaces such as the corners of a desk, dresser or bookcase. These are typically spongy pieces of thick rubber that are white or gray in color. Bumper and edge pieces are readily available at most baby or children's stores.

  • Secure adjoining bathroom or closet doors with doorknob safety locks. These fit around the doorknob, allowing a teen or adult to easily open the door by applying pressure, but usually cannot be opened by a toddler.

  • Secure dressers, chests, bookcases and similar pieces of furniture with wall tethers or anchors. Many new models of furniture come with these already included. If not, you can purchase them at a baby or children's store.

Organizing Design

  • Create separate physical spaces for yourself and the toddler. This will give you your own area to personalize as well as a play area for the toddler. Before moving the furniture, measure the room and decide on the dimensions for each area. Base this on the necessary furniture and available space. For example, if you have a queen-sized bed, dresser, television and desk, you will need more space than a teen who has only a twin bed and a dresser. Cutting the room in half with an imaginary line may work well when planning the space.

  • Move your furniture into your side of the room and the toddler's into his or her side. If you are particularly close to the toddler, and personal space isn't an issue for you, try placing the two beds fairly close together. This will help the toddler to feel more secure at night. If personal space is an issue or a necessity for you (as it is for many teens), consider positioning the two beds along opposite walls.

  • Use child-safe plastic bins or shelving units to store the toddler's toys and/or your items such as CDs, DVDs and other objects. Look for bright colors that appeal to both of you. Add a personal touch and cover the drawers or the outside of the bins with stickers.

  • Place a brightly colored or patterned throw rug in the center of the room or in an area of free space during the day. This can serve as the child's play space. Roll the rug up and store during non-play or evening hours.

Tips & Warnings

  • Create a paint scheme that matches both of your likes. The toddler can say or point to a favorite color and you can pick the shade.
  • Separate the room with a visual barrier. Paint half of the room for yourself and the other half a different hue for the toddler.
  • Make some wall art together. Artistic teens can have a toddler help them design an imaginative wall mural that features the child's favorite characters as well as elements that appeal to an adolescent.
  • Avoid bunk beds. This may be a tempting space saver, but the higher bunk could pose a safety risk for the toddler.
  • Try to keep the room free of clutter. Everyday items such as jewelry or shoes could be a hazard for the young child if left strewn on the floor.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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