Shared Spaces between Siblings in our Montessori-inspired Home

Not long ago, my daughter ruled alone her play space without having to share it with another child. True, our home is a big open space that we all share and her playroom is also our sitting room, kitchen and dining room but her shelves were there only for her and the toys were only hers.

Her playroom looked like this on Saturday mornings, after we had tidied up:

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With her little imaginary worlds undisturbed…

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And her creativity space with the raw materials for her handicrafts: organic wool and fabrics, paper, washi tape, scissors, ribbons, …

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Along with her little nature table on the top of the shelf and her collection of stones:

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And her little desk where she loves to draw, work on her mandalas and do her handicraft

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Although we have enough space in our home, there are only two closed rooms so we can’t have a room for each child. Every space needs to be shared by several members of the family.

That was a bit challenging when I have started to reflect on how to set up the space and welcome our new family member. I have tried to find some inspiration on other blogs and I found some beautiful Montessori- inspired homes but very few examples of spaces shared between siblings.

Shared spaces being our only option, I have reflected a lot on sharing and on our family values before I started to work on a new iteration of our playroom, adapted to a baby and a 4 years old (you can see the previous iterations here when my daughter was 3,5 years old and here when she was 18 months old)

I have decided to use two different shelves, one for each child, where they can have their own toys:

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My daughter keeps her tepee in the playroom, her favorite place at the moment and we have added a mattress for the baby. In this way each of them has a private space. Above the baby’s mattress we hung the first Montessori mobile, the Munari Mobile that can be used already around 3 weeks old. We will gradually rotate with the other Montessori mobiles.

I would have loved to be able to add a mirror on the wall, close to the mattress and the mobile but there was no place in our playroom where we could hung a mobile and secure a mirror on the wall, so I had to choose between the mobiles and the mirror. I chose the mobiles and I’m thinking where else I could securely add a mirror on the wall, at the floor level.

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Without surprise, my daughter was not particularly enthusiastic about sharing this space but we have prepared this change by making some space for the baby in other places around the house (the family room and the bathroom for example) where me and her dad had to give up some of our private spaces. We have tried to role model sharing before suggesting a change in her own space. (You can read here about our approach to sharing in our family)

Once she understood the change, she enthusiastically helped me to move the furniture around and came up with some very good ideas. We hung up some of her watercolors in their new playroom and she decorated the baby’s shelf with her beloved collection of feathers which was for me the sign that she has accepted the change and is looking forward to sharing this space with her sibling.

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This space will definitely change again in the next months and I will soon show you some other shared spaces in our home.