If you think living with your parents was difficult the first time around, it's going to be a lot harder as an adult, living in your parents' home with your children. It's an arrangement that makes sense for more and more single parents, though, who often struggle to get by on one income and need help caring for their children while they head out to work. If you plan on living with your parents again, to save money or create a stable environment for your kids with caregivers you can count on, keep these four rules in mind:
Rule #1: You Are the Primary Disciplinarian
It's great that your parents are willing to help out, but your children need to know that you, as their mom or dad, are the primary disciplinarian. This means that you have to be intentional about creating a set of rules the entire family can abide by, and which your parents can support. Consider posting these rules in a prominent location, such as your refrigerator, so that every member of the household clearly understands not only what is expected, but what consequences will be applied to various situations.
Rule #2: Give Everyone Some Space
Try to create some space for your kids that's all their own. Even if the only space available is a small reading corner, it can serve as a mini-sanctuary for your child. In addition, if at all possible, try to establish separate living spaces amongst your children. While same-sex siblings may need to share a room for a time, it's not ideal for all of you to bunk in together for the long haul. Likewise, make sure that your parents have adequate space and privacy, and teach your children to be respectful of them at all times -- a habit that begins with your own example.
Rule #3: Return the Favor
If your parents are helping you out financially or making themselves available to watch your children, return the favor by going out of your way to be helpful around the house. This may mean taking turns cooking meals, or getting the kids involved in daily chores like doing the dishes, vacuuming, or just picking up around the house each day. Even if your parents aren't asking for your assistance, these small acts of kindness and consideration won't go unnoticed, and they also serve as good life-skills training for your children.
Rule #4: Communicate Clearly
Finally, when you're living with your parents, make sure that you sit down occasionally and share with one another how you think the arrangement is working out. If you find that you need them to babysit more than you had anticipated, this type of informal, adults-only family meeting would be an opportune time to discuss the matter. It also gives your parents a chance to share with you how things are working from their perspective, so that each of you can make the necessary adjustments to create a living situation that is ideal for everyone.