How to Set Boundaries for Happy Living in an Extra-Full Nest

If multiple generations or extended family shares your home, these strategies can help you keep the peace.

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Vin Yet Architecture, original photo on Houzz

Whether it’s elderly parents moving in with their children, grown children moving back in with parents, or siblings moving in together, multigenerational and extended family living arrangements have made a comeback. Living with extended family can be a boon to all parties, helping save money, giving little ones more time with grandparents and bringing families closer together. Of course, it is not without its challenges — which is where this ideabook comes in. 

Related: Find Moving Companies Near You

Here are tips for making the most of living with extended family. Please share your own experiences in the Comments.

1. Have a sit-down chat early on. Before you break out the moving boxes, take some time to sit down together and discuss how you want to handle the basics. Bills, grocery shopping, showers, noise and pets are a few of the issues you may want to cover, but include anything else you want — it’s easier to talk about these things before they become an issue.

Jeni Lee, original photo on Houzz

2. Come up with a plan for handling conflicts. It can be helpful to decide in advance how you want to handle conflicts — perhaps schedule a monthly house meeting when anyone can bring up issues.

3. Make room for grandparents. In-law units and studios are perfect when parents are moving in, but not everyone has this option. If you are all sharing the same house, offer a few extras (like an in-room coffee bar) that will give your new housemates more freedom.

Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects, original photo on Houzz

4. Carve out private space for children. Moving into Grandma and Grandpa’s house can be a fun adventure for kids. But even the smallest family members can benefit from a bit of personal space to call their own. Encourage kids to hang up their own artwork, unpack favorite toys and personalize their space.

For siblings who were used to having their own rooms, suddenly having to share can be a shock. Try hanging curtains to section off bunk beds, and set up a small desk or reading nook for each child.

Related: Make Baby’s Room Extra Special With New Nursery Furniture

5. Find ways to keep up routines. Routines are especially important to young children, so do your best to maintain the same schedules and routines you had before the change in your living situation.

Emily Campbell, original photo on Houzz

6. Label and organize. Whether you are suddenly sharing space with your little brother, sister, mom or father-in-law, it won’t hurt to amp up the labeling and organization. Focus on a few key areas (kitchen, bathroom, linen closet) and you just might find yourself answering fewer “Where is that … ?” questions.

7. Bond over a DIY project. Call on everyone to pitch in and work on a house project together. Put together a family photo wall, make some DIY art, paint an old piece of furniture or plant a tree in the backyard. Get creative and have fun with it!

Frederick + Frederick Architects, original photo on Houzz

8. Make a date for family time. Even if you all lead busy lives, make a point of keeping a regular date for family time. Choose something that everyone can get excited about — a big Saturday-morning pancake breakfast, a backyard barbecue or movie night, for instance.

Related: Game Tables to Make Family Game Night a Fun Tradition

Original article written by Laura Gaskill on Houzz.

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