We have been blessed with a big house. However, sometimes it seems like more work. Our house has 3800 sq ft. Upstairs there are three bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms and a huge FROG (finished room over the garage). The FROG has been a bedroom, playroom and now laundry/homeschooling room. It is a nice big room.
Over the years we have shuffled kids around trying to find the best fit for kids. Larissa wants to share a room with Emma and Michelle but every time we have tried with either one it hasn't lasted long. They typically will bully her and destroy her stuff. So right now Emma and Michelle share a room, Larissa shares with Sarah. Joselin has been spending a lot of time here and she sleeps in that room as well. Larissa is a good fit for Sarah because Sarah is gone most of the time to college and all her stuff is in the room. Larissa respects Sarah's stuff.
Benjamin has his own bedroom upstairs. Anthony used to be upstairs but we had to move him downstairs. There is a hostility between Anthony and Michelle that we don't like and when they have bedrooms close to each other it gets worse. We just feel that it is best that he be downstairs.
Benjamin has a baby monitor in his bedroom so I can hear when he gets up. At times I have had to put alarms on doors but at this time there aren't any. They sell great door alarms at Walmart near the fire alarms. I will probably put one on Benjamin's door one day just so I know when he is out and about. He worries me with his ability to open doors and circumvent baby proofing devices.
At one time Sarah had a room of her own. We had a 12 year old foster child who kept going in her bedroom and getting into her stuff. He broke her Pinocchio's nose off and we were never able to find it. She purchased this item on her mission trip to Italy. We put a lock on her door after that and she had a key to keep him out. I would love to replace this fellow if anyone finds one please let me know!
We do not encourage playing upstairs too much. There are some toys in their bedrooms and in the FROG but a lot of them are in the garage which has heat and A/C. There are no TV's or computers upstairs. The kids do have two computers for their use and are allowed 1 hour/day of computer time. There computers are open to the family room. Sarah has her laptop and can use it wherever she likes. If you want to watch TV in our house you have to do it in the family room with the family. It actually helps to bring the older kids down and out of their rooms.
Our FROG also has all the dress up clothing in it. That allows the girls privacy when changing since Anthony is not allowed up there. When the respite girls were here they asked if they could go up and play dress up. I allowed them to do so. After a while I realized that Larissa was dwonstairs and I could hear a lot of commotion going on in her bedroom. They had moved to her bedroom and got so out of control that Larissa left. She should have alerted me to the problem. When I realized that they were in her room I told them to put the dress up stuff away and come downstairs. Emma and Michelle knew that they were not allowed in her bedroom, they were taking advantage of the situation. They had gotten into the make-up and jewelry in that bedroom (which is part of why they aren't allowed in there). They had trashed her bedroom. Four girls can do that pretty fast. After that I was constantly telling them to stay out. If they went up for showers, in the morning and finally the last night that the girls were here when everyone was asleep they were in her room tearing it up. Michelle was the biggest culprit and she has a longer grounding time than Emma.
We recently moved the bunk bed to the girls room and ordered a bunk bed with a full size mattress on the bottom for Lariss'a bedroom. After the furniture comes we will be blocking off the door that allows access to her room from the girls room. There are two flights of stairs going upstairs and Larissa can use the other stairs and she has her own bathroom.
One thing that has been bothering me is disclosure. The foster mom of those girls did not tell me about their behaviors. When we were talking after they went home, she told me that the girls had to have their environment so controlled that she had to take everything out of the bathroom and give them what soap and shampoo they needed. When giving Benjamin a bath I realized that all of his shampoo was gone. It was a new bottle, they had wasted the entire bottle. If I had known I would have taken stuff out of the bathroom, never allowed them any time unsupervised upstairs and basically had much tighter controls. The information she gave me prior to the girls coming didn't lead me to believe that there would be any issues. The conversation we had afterwards made me realize that she was still struggling to get control after they had been in her home a year. Yes, full disclosure would have been nice. But we survived. I also learned how easily some of my kids can turn right back to the chaos.