10 Tips: How To Live With Your Kids – Again

Remember when your children were young and you did everything to prepare them to be on their own one day. The leaving of the nest per se. They did leave, they were successful on their own and you finally adjusted to the empty nest. Yet for a number of different reasons, you get the call, “Dad, Mom, can I move back home? Just temporarily. I promise, it won’t be that bad.” As their parent, what can you say, you want to help your children out. So you agree. This time though it isn’t just your son or daughter. It may be their spouse, their children and even their pets. Your empty nest has become full again. Except this time, you are older, wiser and physically more tired. Your energy levels are not what they were when you were younger, and not only are they moving their physical bodies back home, but a good portion of their belongings too. More bodies equals more, well, everything! 

So how do you all survive? Here are 10 tips on how to live with your kids — again!

Real Life Moments:

“My daughter, her husband, their two children (ages 2 and 3) and the family dog moved back in with us, “temporarily.” They decided it was time to move to a larger home and not knowing how long their home would take to sell, they decided to put it on the market. It sold in one day. One showing. In less than 30 days they would need to be out. Their new home was being custom built and would not be ready for another month or two. If you’ve ever had a home built, you know you can’t put a definite time on when it will be completed. So they were homeless. She asked us if it would be possible for them to stay with us until their home was finished. My husband, my youngest daughter who still lives at home, and myself all agreed they could come. Included in the group were our two little dogs. So now there are seven of us and three dogs living together “temporarily.””  – Michelle

1. Communicate

Let it be known from the beginning what they can and cannot bring into your home. If allergies are a factor or for other reasons pets are not an option to bring, it needs to be discussed immediately. Not only is it hard on their family if they can’t bring their pets, but also difficult for the animals if they need to seek temporary housing elsewhere. Give this the time it needs to be figured out.

Establish the house rules ahead of time too. Little issues can soon turn into big issues if they are not dealt with early on. For example, shower schedules, laundry days, meal times, and simply whether you can wear shoes in the house or leave them at the door can fuel heated arguments due to differences in how each family does things.

2. Establish Boundaries with Grandchildren (if they are present)

Grandparents have a way of “easing” their way into their children’s decisions when it comes to the grandchildren. Be sure you know your boundaries and if you don’t, discuss them. Establish routines and who will be doing what. Grandma and Grandpa may enjoy putting the children to bed with a bedtime story, songs or prayers. Yet, Mommy and Daddy want to continue their routine so as not to disrupt what has already been established. Again, openly discuss these issues and maybe take turns. 

For more on this hot topic, read 7 Tips for Setting Boundaries with Grandparents.

3. Have a Space Talk

You finally have your rooms the way you want them and now you have to rearrange to make accommodations for everyone. Yet there is only so much space available. Discuss, prior to packing, with your children how much space you have for their belongings. What rooms they will be using and what the sleeping arrangements will be, especially if you have grandchildren coming who have never slept in the same room together. This is also important for items they may be purchasing while they are staying with you, whether personal belongings or larger items for their new home. These items have to go someplace when delivered and bought. Be honest and do not be afraid to tell them, “I don’t want to be tripping over all your stuff.”

4. Talk about Meals

Do you all eat differently? What is expected when it comes to shopping, cooking, preparing and cleaning up? Don’t expect to be everyone’s short order cook. Ask if they could make a meal so it gives you a break, or encourage them to bring home dinner from their favorite take out restaurant. Be appreciative if they do.

5. Decide on appropriate contributions

Are you charging rent, grocery money, utilities, etc.? If so, decide what is fair and work together to come up with an affordable option. This is tricky, especially if your child is unemployed or on limited income during this time. Maybe they can’t help financially, but they can contribute their time to help out in other ways, such as mowing the lawn for Dad, running errands for Mom, or offering to do a load of laundry for someone other than themselves. Money can create issues in relationships between parents and their children. Be realistic; the more people living in a home, the expenses go up. Expect them to contribute something.

6. Cherish your Personal Time

After your children leave home, you find yourself with more free time. When they move back in, that time is compromised. More housework, more meal planning, more laundry, etc., and you find yourself putting the things you enjoy on hold. Don’t! Continue your routine. It will help keep your sanity. It is easy for the perfectionist in you to want to take over. Adjust your attitude and you will find yourself not giving in to resentment from doing it all. Give yourself your time.

7. Be Flexible

Remember, your children are adults. They have owned a home, held a job, paid their bills. They pretty much know how life works. This means they do things differently than even how you raised them to do things. Don’t worry if their rooms are a mess (compared to your standard of messiness), you can’t scold them. Just let it go and don’t make an issue out of it.

On the other hand, respect for everyone living in the home should be a priority for all involved. If wiping down the sink after use is important because the water drips down the sides of the cabinet and you find your socks soaking wet because of it, ask your children to please wipe down the sink after using it. If putting dirty diapers in a certain place and not in wastebaskets around the home where they stink is important to you, tell them where you’d like the diapers to be put. Do not do everything for them.

8. Make Memories

This could be a great time for making memories together. Especially with grandchildren, if they are staying with you as well. Establish some fun memories while living together if possible. If it is during the holidays, find fun things to do that will create great memories for everyone. Your adult children may surprise you and continue the traditions long after they move out.

9. Give Each Other Space

Expecting everyone to hang together every evening or on the weekends is a real relationship buster. Let them continue to be their own family and don’t expect to be tagging along everywhere they go just because you are bored or want to be with your grandchildren. It is okay on some occasions, but always respectfully ask first. They need their own family time. This goes for you too. If you have standing outings you attend weekly, monthly, etc., don’t rearrange because you have a full house. You are not just the babysitter. Even if it means closing the bedroom door and hiding out for a few hours doing your thing. 

10. Have Fun

Laugh together. Play games as a family. Enjoy family dinners without being rushed. Expect noise, especially if young children are in the mix. Messes come with the territory. It can all go back to normal after they move out. Your sanctuary will be yours again soon. Enjoy the time together.

Many adult children today have no choice but to move back in with their parents and it can be stressful at times. If the relationship was on good terms beforehand, then it should be pretty smooth sailing. If not though, you may want to work out differences as best you can prior to living under the same roof again. Open communication is the key for everyone involved. It is the key to success for all involved.

We hope you didn’t miss yesterday’s post of 10 Tips: How to Live with Your Parents – Again for your kid’s perspective on living with you. Be sure to check it out and pass it along to your kids so they too can learn how to make this transition as smooth as possible!

As grandparents, spending time with your grandchildren along with your other responsibilities can be challenging. Read Investing Time In Your Grandchildren to see the importance of making them a priority.

Photo Credits: Dani

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Michelle lives in North Carolina with her husband of 29 years. She is a mother to three grown daughters and “Grammie” to her two grandchildren. She teaches transitional kindergarten by day and blogs at Grammie Time by night. Spending time and making memories with her grandchildren is an investment she makes a priority.

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