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Sharing your space with anyone can be tricky, especially if that person is under the age of 12. Small children may not take up a lot of space but they most certainly can be a handful to live with, especially if they are not your own. While you may not be responsible for putting them to bed and keeping them clean, you are responsible for ensuring that your home is safe and making sure you are a positive influence on them. If you are living with a roommate with small children, then it is a good idea to brush up on your ‘parenting’ skills now to avoid a problem down the road.

Establishing a Routine

The first thing you need to remember when it comes to living with a roommate with small children is to set up some house rules, such as splitting household chores. Children work well with structure and routine; however, it is up to Mom and Dad to set this routine, not the roommate. It is up to you to respect this routine as much as possible. If, for example, the kids go to sleep at 7pm every night, then perhaps wait until later to turn on the television or start playing Xbox. The kids will want to stay up with you rather than go to bed.

Children usually need to have a set meal time as well. While some kids will eat with their parents, others will eat before the main meals are served. If your roommate is busy in the kitchen preparing dinner, try to stay out of her way until she is done with the kids. Or, offer to help out with meal times if you are around at the same time. Children love sitting and eating with the grownups.

Another rule you need to discuss is cleaning up. Children tend to leave things everywhere. It is a good idea to set up a certain spot in the house that is the children’s spot. This may be in their bedrooms or you may designate a spot in the dining room to be their ‘play area.’ Look into toy storage and organization boxes and help them understand the concept of ‘tidying up’.

Roommate with Children House Rules

You will need to speak to your roommate about babysitting duties. There are bound to be a few instances where she or he will leave you with the kiddies for a certain period of time. Is this okay? If not, you need to let her know so she can make alternative arrangements. It is important for the Mom or Dad to know that you are a roommate, not a nanny.

You will also need to watch your language and be careful around the kids. Swearing should be off limits, even when your team loses the final game. Keep cups, plates, beer cans and other things that children want out of reach. It is a good idea to invest in child locks for the doors, toilet seat and refrigerator.

Having roommates with small children can make for a number of serious issues which is why it is important that you understand how to handle everyday dilemmas that come with living with kids. If there is an issue with something, which there almost certainly will be at one point or another, be sure to discuss the problem right away rather than let the issue fester. Small children, as adorable as they are, can also be messy, rude, loud and stubborn. The more communication on your part, the better the situation will be for everyone living under the roof, including the kids.

Learning Center