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How to Keep Your Child from Being “That” Roommate

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Having a roommate is not always easy. Many people have a story about difficult roommates and know how hard it can be to live in day after day. Did you ever think about how your child’s habits today might impact his future roommates? Family members are our first roommates, so it’s a great opportunity for children to learn how to be a good, easy roommate.

Whether your child shares a room now or not, they will likely be a roommate someday with friends or a spouse. It is important to equip them to handle the basics now to make it a positive experience in the future. Living with a roommate will make your child face difficulties both emotionally and physically. So, moms, it’s time for your kids to learn these valuable life skills to keep them from being ‘that’ roommate. Here are some key points to teach your child:

Teach Empathy

Kids are often egocentric- which means they think the whole world revolves around them. Kids who struggle to get out of this thinking will often become selfish and hurt people without realizing it. Part of being an easy roommate is caring for and respecting those you share space with. It is much easier to live with someone who is willing to make sacrifices and help out than someone who is selfish. Here are some specific ways to help raise your child’s emotional intelligence.

Teach Initiative

It is easy to sit back and see if someone else will clean up a mess. An attitude of laziness can be a big struggle between roommates. Teach your child to see what needs to be done without being asked and to take initiative to do it. Having a servant’s heart for those you live with makes a big impact on how roommates get along. This trait will not only help your child be an easy roommate, but also a valuable employee and spouse someday. Here are some ideas on teaching your child a good work ethic that will help.

Teach Cleaning Skills

There have been many times I’ve had to show my kids what ‘clean’ actually means. It isn’t about being perfect, but it’s important to teach your kids what cleaning well looks like and share some of your tips and tricks. From how to hang up clothes to helping him organize toys easily, your child might need a tutorial to become more efficient.

Teach Independence

“Mommmmmm, can you get me (fill in the blank)?” How many times a week do you hear these words? Your child is going to have to rely fully on himself someday to meet his own needs. That means you should start early with teaching him independence and autonomy. Moms, if you do everything for your child, he will not learn the much-needed skills to meet his own needs.  The earlier you start this, the better off they will be at being a good roommate.

Teach Them How To Fight Fair

Not everyone gels easily- especially when they are sharing a small space. It is important to teach your child how to deal with frustration in a healthy way. Blowing up, sweeping issues under the rug, or turning passive aggressive will not solve the problem. Instead, teach your child how to let things go and how to have effective communication in the midst of conflict.

What’s one thing you wished you had learned before being a roommate?


Does it bother you if someone messes with your things? Why?

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