If you’ve been living on campus or living away from home with friends this semester, the shift back to living at home can feel abrupt. All of a sudden, you’ve gone from unstructured days of sleeping in, hanging out with friends, and eating popcorn for dinner to nightly family dinners and a house full of loud siblings and watchful parents. Anyone, college freshman or graduate, knows that living with family can be challenging, particularly once you’ve become accustomed to your independence. That’s why we’re here to share our tips for transitioning back to your childhood home after living independently.
Communication is key
Let’s be honest: there are definitely perks to living with your parents. Home-cooked meals, people to talk to, and your cozy childhood bedroom are all wonderful advantages to living at home. However, after some time, those advantages can lose their appeal in the face of parental criticism, household rules, and some lack of freedom that may come with moving back home.
To avoid some of these downsides, you need to prioritize communication from the start of your stay. Set up a family meeting between you, your parents, and your siblings to establish boundaries and expectations for the coming weeks or months. Approach the meeting with some reasonable ideas about how you hope to live at home. Do you really value your ability to sleep in late on the weekends? Do you need a quiet space to work during the week? Make these guidelines known to your family, but also remember to make them sensible. You might be living with several people, all of whom have their own needs and desires. Listen to every individual’s expectations. You may need to compromise on some of your demands, but it will be worth it to ultimately find a happy balance that works for everyone.
Help out when you can
If you were a high school student the last time you lived at home, you might have been so busy with school, athletics, and extracurriculars that you didn’t do much around the house. But now that you’re older and back home, it’s time to pitch in here and there. We’re not talking about anything major, but just getting into the habit of performing some household chores every week can make a big difference. If cooking is your thing, you could offer to make dinner a few times each week. Perhaps you take up the task of washing the dishes after dinner. Mowing the lawn, gardening, doing laundry, and cleaning the house are all great ways to help. Your parents will feel appreciative and glad to have you home.
Create your own sanctuary
Finally, carving out your own sanctuary within the house is a huge part of surviving life in your childhood home. We recommend finding a spot in a quiet and unused room, like your bedroom, a home office, or a converted basement to make your own. Set up a desk and a comfy chair and decorate the space with wall hangings, candles, blankets, and anything else that inspires personal joy. This space can be used for whatever you would like, including studying, working, connecting with friends, napping, or simple personal time. Whenever you feel the need to take a break from your family and escape, head into your sanctuary. Practice some self-care activities like meditation, yoga, or crafting. Before you know it, you’ll feel refreshed and at ease once again.
Family time is fun, but we all know that there are some real challenges to living at home as a college student or young adult. Make sure to establish healthy boundaries and communication, help out around the house, and carve out a personal space to avoid going crazy over winter break. While you can’t pick or control your family members, you can work towards being your best self around them.