With crippling student loan payments and a bleak (yet improving!) job market, the boomerang effect is stronger than ever. In fact, a Pew Research Center study reveals that 36% of young adults between age 18 and 31 in the United States moved back home to live with their parents in 2012. That's the highest percentage in at least 40 years.
While few young adults look forward to moving back with their parents or guardians after the independence of college, there are several ways to make the most out of moving back home.
1. Act like an adult
Returning to your parents' house can be difficult since you were likely a child last time you lived there. Since you want to be treated like an adult, it's important to act like one. Some ways to do that can be to do your own laundry, cook your own meals (or even meals for the whole family), clean up around the house and realize that your parents have their own plans and life without you. Show your parents you are not the high school student who last lived with them.
2. Chip in
Whether it's paying a small amount of rent, buying groceries, cleaning, helping with computers or doing fix-it projects around the house, it's a good idea to find ways that you can contribute.
3. Set an end date
You probably don't want to live with your parents forever, and one way to make sure you don't is by creating a deadline. Before you make your way back home, try setting up a long-term plan that includes a time limit for yourself, whether it is one month or one year. This will help your parents prepare accordingly (financially, emotionally and personally) and help motivate you to work harder to reach the goal of moving out on your own.
4. Be honest & create guidelines
It's important to make sure you and your parents have reasonable expectations about your living situation. This includes when it comes to privacy, shared space and even visitors. It can be a good idea to address these issues early on -- about sleeping hours, overnight guests, which meals or activities will be done together, and what time will be devoted to personal projects.
5. Emphasize your efforts
While the job market might be tough or life on your own is too much for you right away, show your parents that you are doing everything you can to get on your feet. This may mean taking a job that doesn't exactly match your degree, picking up a side hustle or even just trying out more adult responsibilities.
6. Keep a social life
Just because you are living back home doesn't mean you need to put your life on pause. Continue to hang out with friends, date, explore new things and do your best to stay happy. It's important to keep support networks aside from your parents so you don't start to feel isolated.
7. Be appreciative
Last but certainly not least, remember that your parents are doing you a favor. Say thank you for all they do for you and be considerate because no matter how old you are, you are still their child.
It may seem unthinkable after your college years, but you can enjoy yourself while moving back in with your parents. Follow these tips, adjust your attitude, maintain some independence and save up as much as you can while getting closer to living on your own again.