When we were looking for the house that we live in now I insisted that any home we buy have a separate space for the kids. My husband didn’t understand why that was so important to me. And I understand why he was confused. Parents these days always seem to want trendy open concept floor plans so that they can constantly watch their kids and yet I wanted a home that an entirely separate space for our kids.
But I wanted our kids to have a space that was just theirs so that they would have a space to go when they needed to regroup or recharge or just not have an adult looking over their shoulder. Children need time away from adults in order to learn to be independent and to learn how to entertain themselves. I wanted our kids to be able to deal with boredom and be self-sufficient. And I wanted them to have the responsibility of keeping their space clean and organized.
So when we looked at a house where the entire basement was essentially a separate apartment with a living space, a couple of bedrooms, and a big bathroom I knew we had found the right house. Our teenagers took the two rooms in the basement and now they essentially have their own mini-apartment which makes them extremely happy. And the other kids love to play down there and watch TV down there which gives me the quiet and the space I need to work at home.
Some people say I’m a bad mother because I encourage my kids to invest in their own space by decorating it and caring for it and spending time in it. But I think that one of the basic things we need to teach our kids is how to be ok being on their own. They need to have confidence in their own choices and they need to be able to be alone sometimes without having someone or something there to fill that empty time. Having a separate space teaches kids how to rely on themselves. And it gives them confidence in their own abilities as well as a sense of safety and privacy. All of those things are very important when it comes to raising well-adjusted kids who become well-adjusted adults.
And the fact that it gives me back my family room as a place where my husband and I can watch TV or my girlfriends and I can have coffee is just a bonus really. But it is nice to have. So if you have kids and you are planning to move soon you might want to look for a house that has a separate space for your kids. It will do them a world of good and it will be nice for you also. You don’t need to hover over them all the time. And in fact, you really shouldn’t hover over them all the time. Everyone needs some space sometimes.