It seems as if multi-generational living is making a comeback in the United States. More kids are going back home to live with their parents than ever before, and many want to keep their older parents close to them. Living in a multi-generational household does come with a few challenges. Being able to make life great for everyone living under the same rough is not easy and requires planning. Let’s take a look at a few tips for living in a multi-generational household.
Assess if it’s the Right Living Arrangement
The first thing you have to do is check if your family can handle it. Maybe you have senior parents that need constant care and attention, and while someone in the house may be there to help, they might have issues with it. They might not say it out loud but taking care of an older parent can be a full-time duty, and they might have other things they need to attend to.
In this case, you might want to look at assisted living facilities like Brandywine Senior Living. These are a great option if your parents are semi-autonomous or need someone to help them 24/7.
Senior homes can be great for seniors as long as you pick one that will cater to your parent’s needs, they are easily accessible, and have a community your parent will fit into. Discuss the idea with them first and see how they react. They might have less of an issue with the idea than you think.
Everybody should know who the parent is in the house and children will not appreciate having two sets of parents disciplining them. On the other hand, you don’t want your parents to start giving permission to your children. They might not know why you put restrictions on your children, and you don’t want your authority to be undermined.
This is why everyone should know their limits inside the house. We suggest you have a family meeting and discuss what is OK and what is not OK. For instance, you might have some clear boundaries about when and what children eat. You might also have some activities that are strictly forbidden, like watching violent movies or playing video games past a certain time. These are all things that have to be made clear as they could affect the dynamic of the whole house.
Another thing you have to make sure you do is not lose your connection with your core family. Grandparents can get overindulgent sometimes, and you might end up looking like a mean parent. This is why you need to take time with your family and treat them from time to time. You might also want to re-evaluate your rules to see if they might indeed be too strict.
One of the most important parts when living in a multi-generational household is privacy. Everyone needs some time alone every once in a while. If you have a bedroom, then consider adding locks. Add locks to your parents’ doors as well. They need time for rest, so make sure that you have a way to make the room off-limits if they need time off.
Do Your Part
If you’re the one moving into your parents’ house, you need to have to do your part. This is a large favor they’re doing you, so you don’t want to become a burden. Again, they might be too nice to say it to you, but you coming back might be cramping their style, so the least you can do is pull your weight.
If you notice that there’s something that they have difficulty doing, you can take care of it for them. This could be cleaning chores or work that needs to be done around the house. You also need to volunteer to pay rent. If they let you stay for free, you don’t have to force it on them, but at least suggest it as they might welcome the help.
Put Your Energy Where it Matters
You might come home and find a few cups in the sink. Or someone left an almost empty milk carton in the fridge. Don’t make a fuss about everything and be ready to pick other people’s slack around the house from time to time. Before you complain, make sure that it’s worth it as you might accidentally open a can of worms. Things happen, and a multi-generational household can get hectic, so pick your battles.
This is another very important piece of advice for those going back to their parents’ house. You might not be a fan of how things are done around the house. But you have to remember that they’re doing you a favor and this is not an extended vacation. If it means you have to get to bed at 9 pm because they do, so be it.
This goes down to the small things as well. Old couples often have their routines, and you can’t mess with that. Look at how things are organized around the house. Things like how the laundry is sorted or how the pantry is organized might seem small but could become irritants if disturbed. So, make sure that you take note of the rules around the house and respect them.
Work as a Unit
You will need to set a family calendar and a message center if you haven’t already. You will need extreme coordination if you have many kids and both parents are living with you. You need to take note of assignments or visits to the doctor among other things. That goes for both your children and your parents.
It’s also a good idea to set a routine with your family. Something as simple as everyone getting up at the same time could bring cohesion and make things much easier. Setting a routine and schedule will also bring the kids much-needed structure, no matter who’s taking care of them.
So, if you are trying to build a happy multi-generational household, follow our advice. It doesn’t have to be difficult but is challenging, so make sure that everyone is on board and plays their role.