by Jayne D’Arcy (Article courtesy domain.com.au)
According to my 13-year-old son, I’m the strictest mum in the world. I really don’t think so, but there are certain things that I grew up with, that I thought my children would grow up with, too. Like single beds. I graduated to a double at 18, after leaving home.
Normal, right? Well, it’s time to update my son’s single mattress, and I’ve discovered that kids don’t expect to wait until they become adults to upsize their bed size. Apparently his friends have doubles or queens. Queens for a teen? Really?
But big beds for kids is a trend. “Of course parents are buying their kids doubles or queens!” says one (sans-children) friend. “Kids don’t leave home anymore, why not buy a bigger bed that will last them?”
Since when did upgrading a kids bed at an early age become a thing?
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Hannah Brunton, customer experience manager at Ecosa (one of those bed-in-a-box companies with, I can attest, amazingly comfortable mattresses) says singles have quickly become one of the least popular sizes.
“We have found that the end-user (not always the purchaser) of our single mattresses is mostly small children and the elderly,” she says. “Single mattresses are 188cm long so often not suitable for teens. Once a pillow is added, you’re left with only 150cm. It’s often not long enough for growing teens.”
So there’s size, and money. “Some parents do still purchase single size mattresses for their teens but the more money savvy parents will go straight to queen.”
Am I the only one thinking that a double, later, might equal trouble? Does a bigger bed signal to your teens that it’s ok to have partners stay over? Sexuality Nurse Educator Vanessa Hamilton has some thoughts. She’s about my age, and has three growing boys herself.
“We’re perhaps thinking back to when children always had single beds,” she says. “Then, the only people who had double beds in the household were the parents. And maybe our reservation is about that. Double beds were for the adults. But double beds are a practical solution for a tall human. And they can be 13! What they do in that bed is a separate issue.”
Several friends tell me that when they upgrade their teens beds, they’re getting a bigger one so that future partners can stay over (“I want them staying with me, not on some park bench,” says one). But, as Hamilton says, the two things needn’t be linked.
“I’ve got three boys, they’re very tall and growing by the minute, and it purely makes sense for them to have large beds. The issue of whether someone will be in the bed with them is completely different to buying the bed, and it’s about lots and lots of conversations within the family about that.”
Sex educator, founder of bliss4women.com and The Sunday Age columnist, Maureen Matthews says it can actually open conversations. “This is a great teaching opportunity to talk with your teens about sexuality, the legal age of consent, condoms etc.,” she says.
Other parents I chat to are happy with singles or king singles (203cm long) for their teens. Space (or lack thereof) is the main reason. “Bigger beds ‘necessitate’ bigger rooms and bigger houses,” comments one friend. It reminds me, a double doesn’t exactly go with my new “more space, less stuff” minimalist ethos.
But, the last word goes to my son. Why does he want a double? “I don’t know,” he shrugs. “When you’re hot in one place you can move to another place that’s nice and cool. That’s hard to do in a small bed.” Teens