Moving back home after college isn’t a new idea or even out of the ordinary. In fact, one in three of your post-grad friends is opting to move home again. It could actually be a brilliant financial move for college graduates, offering a one-up on student loans. Plus, it allows you the chance to figure out what you really want for your own life without the pressures of flying solo in the real world.

Yet, moving in with mom and dad doesn’t exactly have a glamorous feel to it, does it? After four or more years of tasting some sense of independence, sharing a roof with your parents could seem like a real drag.

However, if you’ve decided not to get your own place and are moving into your childhood bedroom instead, here are a few tips to make the transition stress-free.

Be Clear with Expectations

To begin, it’s important that everyone knows what to expect when it comes to you living in your parents’ house again. After all, you’re not a little kid anymore. Really, it’s not even the same as when you were in high school!

Before you unpack your boxes, take the time to have a serious conversation with your parents. A few tips for talking about tough topics are to eliminate distractions such as phones or the TV and know beforehand the goal of the conversation.

For example, do you expect a rent-free stay, or are you planning on pitching in with other costs? Do you expect not to have a curfew or to be able to invite friends over on the weekends? What about household duties? Are you expecting to take a few on to help out or just to clean your own room?

Many young adults assume that moving home after college is more like a free ride than a segue to independence. But, parents aren’t always thrilled with this expectation.

Be honest with yourself about what you want and relay your expectations to your parents. Keep in mind that they’ll have some expectations of their own, so be ready to smooth out any bumps.

When it comes to communicating expectations, it’s helpful to know what you intend to do with your future. It seems that many parents tend to respect and offer more support to adult children who have set goals and aspirations.

Know Your Own Intentions

Running with the previous theme, what personal goals do you have for your life? Furthermore, what do you have to do to get there?

For example, there’s a good chance you’re moving back into your parent’s home because it’s convenient. Beyond that, however, try to identify the real purpose behind your actions. For many, it’s to save up for a down payment on a house. Others just want to gnaw away at student loan debt and need a secure place to locate while doing so.

Figure out where you want to be in five to 10 years. Use those long term goals to create a strategy filled with short term goals supporting your ultimate game plan.

This might mean working full-time (or ever overtime) and throwing all your extra cash toward those pesky student loans. It also might mean beefing up your savings account to give you a nice safety net for when you do venture out of the nest.

Lastly, communicate all of this to your parents. They’ll be thrilled! Mostly, their joy will be because of the overwhelming sense of pride in you. Plus, they’re parents and they’re probably worn out parenting for what might seem like a hundred and one years.

Having an actual move out date will only add to their sense of accomplishment and relief. So in addition to laying out your long term goals, be sure to include some peppy short term goals as well.

Establish Guidelines

Let’s be real about the environment you’re coming from. Recent college graduates are often shell shocked upon returning home. After months and years of having a vibrant social life, living at home can seem like a huge bore.

It’s not uncommon for young people to move back home expecting the same sort of energy supply only to be sadly disappointed by the lack of social opportunity. For this reason, it’s vital that you know what you’re getting yourself into. Plus, it’s important for you and your parents to establish guidelines with each other.

College students often have a relaxed dorm room or apartment atmosphere. But, mom and dad’s place is chill in a completely different way. And adjusting to their “norm” may be difficult. After all, it’s your place and yet it’s not your place so compromise is a must.

Be committed to talking about the nitty-gritty stuff such as bringing home a date or having your best friends over just to hang out. Find a middle ground where everyone agrees or is at least satisfied with the arrangement. Then, stick with it.

When you each know your boundaries, getting along is a whole lot easier, plain and simple.

Keep in mind that this is a completely new situation for all of you. You’re not exactly a child needing to be nurtured any longer. Plus, they’re probably unsure of what you need to feel respected as an adult. The only way to find any kind of resolve is simply to talk it out.

Keep Lines of Communication Open

While having an upfront conversation with your parents is necessary, it’s just as important to keep communicating with them. In other words, find ways to connect with them on an ongoing basis.

Perhaps you all go out to coffee or breakfast on Sunday morning. Or, maybe you take time once a week to check in with them on living arrangements.

Whatever routine you develop, make sure you don’t ignore what they’re doing for you. Because really, without them, you’d probably be couch-surfing.

Here’s the thing, most parents have gray hairs because they’ve spent half their lives worrying about you. News flash, they still worry about you—it’s sort of a parent thing. Only now, they worry about you not spreading your wings or being unable to make it on your own (aka being a freeloader until the end of time).

Ask any parent, it’s a legitimate concern. No joke.

To keep the lines of communication open, take on a team mentality. Reassure your parents that they’re helping you move forward in life. Remind them that you’re willing to pitch in with dinner, groceries, housework, etc. And, really mean it. Essentially, the aim is to work together to meet your goals.

Be Willing to Adapt

College grads moving back home need one main skill to make this transition work successfully—adaptability.

What this means for you is to be flexible, diversify (don’t get stuck in a rut), and accept change quickly. In other words, be ready for bumps in the road, and prepare yourself for some moments of problem-solving.

On the one hand, living in your childhood home might not be comfortable. In fact, it might feel downright weird. Keep your eyes on those long term goals, working toward them all the time. This will make the discomfort slightly less irritating.

On the other hand, maybe you’re perfectly comfortable living with mom and dad again. Remember that all relationships have their own special ebb and flow to them. Times of change can especially cause some relational imbalance.

To make your move home as smooth and successful as possible, it’s important to think and plan ahead. By following these tips, you can nurture your relationship with your parents as well your own future. And that’s a win-win for everyone.

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Dyanne Harvey