Respect each other’s privacy and independence. If possible, establish some physical boundaries so family members have some space of their own. Make sure everyone remembers to knock before entering a closed door.
Set aside time for family fun and bonding. Life is hectic. Living in the same house is not the same thing as enjoying each other’s company. Plan a game night, watch a movie, go to the zoo, or enjoy a special meal together.
Keep the lines of communication open and flowing. Have regular conversations about how people are feeling about the living situation. Make sure everyone in the family – from the youngest to the eldest – feels able to share their thoughts, discuss problems, make suggestions, and voice their opinions.
Agree on a realistic way to share the costs of running the household. Money can be a sensitive issue, especially when family members have different levels of financial means. Perhaps, those with a limited income can contribute less while those with greater resources are responsible for more. Just make sure everyone is genuinely comfortable with and agreeable to the arrangement.
If your multigenerational living situation is a temporary arrangement, make sure everyone is on the same page as to the timetable and/or
Establish some rules of the house regarding issues like noise, clutter, roles, and chores, as well as responsibilities like child or elder care. Come up with a workable plan to manage all the various household tasks that need attention. You may want to set up a rotating schedule so everyone shares the load.
If there are children living in the home, it is important that adult family members respect the parents’ approach to childrearing, ask permission before making plans with or for children, and never ignore or act against specific rules established by the parents.
Fifty years ago, it was not uncommon in the United States for more than one generation of a family to live together in one home. In recent years, the multigenerational household has seen a resurgence. Today, many extended families share the same address. This often means that three generations… adult children, children, and grandparents… reside under the same roof.
Of course, such family togetherness has its pluses and minuses… benefits and drawbacks… joys and stressors… and everything in between. Whether you’re considering multigenerational living or are already living with your extended family, here are a few tips that may be helpful in ensuring the best possible experience for everyone.