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Here’s How You Can Move Back in with Your Parents without Losing Your Mind

For the first time in modern history, more young adults are living at home with their parents than anywhere elsewhere—here's how you can make living with your parents as pleasant as possible, for everyone involved.

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Make a plan

It’s OK to move back home without having your future completely mapped out. But you should have a general idea as to how long you plan on staying at home and what your transition will be once you’re ready to move out. Are you staying for one year? Are you staying until you have $5,000 saved up? Having a plan written out will help you stay motivated and on track, so consider setting both short term and long term goals that are actually attainable. Plus, having a set plan and being able to present it your parents will show them that you’re serious about your future and not just moving home to be a mooch.

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Before moving back home, make sure you can follow the rules

Sit down with your parents and have a heart-to-heart before moving back home. Explain why you want to be back home, how long you’ll be home, and how you’ll contribute to the family dynamics. It’s also the best time to talk about ground rules, before they become a problem.

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Get a job

Your parents probably won’t be too happy if you move back home and spend your days lounging poolside or camped out in front of the TV, so having a job is the key to making your time at home as painless as possible. A job will not only keep you busy and earn you that cash money, but it’ll also allow you to get out of the house and spend time away from your family. “If they [your parents] welcome you back home, they don’t want to think of you as being lazy and sponging off them,” says Laura Markham, Ph.D, clinical psychologist and author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids. “They are investing in your future, so keep up your end of the bargain and start building one.” Having a job prior to moving in will obviously make the transition smoother, but if you move home sans job, finding one should be your number on priority. Here are 10 surprising ways you can find your dream job.

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Save your money

This is the number one reason you’re probably moving home in the first place: to save money and eventually be able to move out! (Because let’s be honest, no one really wants to live with their parents forever.) Since you won’t be living on your own and having to pay a ton of expenses like rent, bills, etc., you’ll be able to put a lot more money in the bank. And nothing will make your parents angrier than seeing you spend all of your hard-earned money on new clothes, extravagant vacations, and cars. Consider opening up a savings account where you can put the money you plan on using to move out, and don’t touch that money. Having trouble saving your pay checks? Here are simple ways new graduates can prep for their financial futures. (Hint: It’s easy and effective)

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Understand that your parents have their own lives

It’s a hard realization to have, but no, you are no longer the center of your parents universe. Yes, your parents surely missed you when you were away at college, but this doesn’t mean that they want to spend every waking minute with you now that you’re home. They, too, have their own friends and social lives, so don’t be offended when you’re not invited to hang out with your parents and their friends. In fact, you should expect your parents to go out and do things without you—and you should go out and do things without them.

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Help out around the house

Since you’ll be living at home, most likely rent or almost-rent-free, it’s a good idea to help out around the house with daily chores. You’re an adult, so you definitely shouldn’t expect your parents to do your laundry, make you dinner, and clean your room like they maybe did when you were younger. Besides keeping your own room decently clean, you should also help out with cleaning the common areas, like the kitchen and living room. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink, and if you see a mess, clean it (even if you didn’t make it). “You may not have the money to pay rent, but you do have time,” says Dr. Markham. “If anything, do more than your share so they are thrilled to have you around.” And if you really want to WOW your parents with your cleaning skills, make sure you do these eight things that professional house cleaners do every day.

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If you can, contribute financially

Obviously you most likely moved home to save money and to avoid paying the obscenely high rent prices found in most cities, so while you don’t need to give your parents a ton of money each month, consider giving a small amount. Or if you’re heading to the grocery store, ask your parents if they need anything. Contributing financially will make you feel better about yourself and show your parents that you don’t take living at home lightly. “It will help your parents to overlook those mild annoyances if you contribute financially,” advises Dr. Markham. “If you don’t, then be sure that your contribution to keeping the house up is substantial. Do the jobs your parents hate the most, like cleaning the bathroom and mowing the lawn.”

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Don’t treat your parents like roommates

Your parents are not your roommates, therefore, you should not treat them like your roommates, AKA your equals. Regardless of age and the fact that you’re technically an adult, you are still living with your parents, so you need to treat them as such. You are not equal to them and are still considered a “guest.” So, if your dad walks in and you’re sitting on the couch listening to music with headphones in, take them out and ask him how his day was, for example. “Your parents are letting you live in their home, which they don’t need to do, so you need to act the way you would act as a house guest, which means with consideration, and lots of helping out, and with gratitude,” recommends Dr. Markham.

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Ask before bringing guests home

This tends to be a huge source of contention when it comes to recent college grads moving back home. After all, in college you could have whomever spend the night, whenever. The topic of overnight guests should be discussed in-depth prior to moving home, but asking your parents or even letting them know that you’ll be having a friend stay over should be rule of thumb. It’s really just a common courtesy, plus, you don’t want your parents to be blindsided when you walk of your room with Jimmy from the bar the next morning. While there is room for negotiation with overnight guests, your parents ultimately do have the final say, which is why again, guest rules, especially overnight ones, should be discussed before moving in.

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Do your own laundry

Your parents are not your personal maids. You’re an adult. You did your own laundry in college, so you should be doing it now. In fact, if you’re doing a load, go the extra mile and ask your parents if they need you to throw anything in. Here are seven laundry mistakes you didn’t know you were making.

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Be a good role model for younger siblings

You’re not living by yourself anymore, so stumbling home every night at four in the morning belligerent isn’t a good idea, especially if you have younger siblings. (Here are the bizarre ways your siblings affect you as a grownup.) And while your college friends might enjoy shotgunning beers in the living room on a Tuesday night, your parents and little sister might think otherwise. Point blank: If you’re back at home and have younger siblings, try and keep it together when they’re around. They probably look up to you, so setting a good example is important. Besides, your parents will probably side with your younger siblings if it gets down to the wire. “You’re a grownup now so you need to act like one,” reminds Dr. Markham.

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Be appreciative

Again, your parents don’t have to let you live at home. They are doing you a huge favor, so be grateful and appreciative. Tell them you love them. And if you want to make them extra happy, try giving them one of the 13 best compliments you could possible ever give a parent.