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Top tips for when adult kids move back home

Much as we love our kids most of us are delighted when they leave home after shedding a tear along the way. You have done your job as a parent and it’s your time to enjoy life and take on new challenges, hobbies and enjoy the freedom. But what do you do when an adult child asks to move back home permanently?

Top tips for when adults kids move back home

According to data from the Office of National Statistics, the number of families in England and Wales with adult children living with their parents is nearly 3.8 million (2021 census) an increase of almost 30% from 2011 and in the USA one-in-three U.S. adults ages 18 to 34 live in their parents’ home, according to U.S. Census Bureau data from 2021.

What do you do when your adult child asks to move back home full-time?

To have an adult child move back into the family home can be a big adjustment for both you and them but if you lay a few ground rules you can make the best of the situation – and may even enjoy it!

The return of adult children can disrupt established routines and personal space. There needs to be some boundaries established on both sides. Be honest about plans and intentions from the start- they can’t just move back in as and expect you to be the parent you were before but also you need to remember they are adults and need to be treated as such.

Tips for when an adult kid move back home

  1. Have an exit strategy- have an honest conversation with them on how long they are planning to stay and re-visit this every three months.

  2. Treat them as adults - as a parent we will always see our children as children whatever their age but it’s so important not to interfere in their lives and vice versa -yes many adult kids comment on their parent’s lifestyle when they return!

  3. Privacy and Independence - one of the main downsides for adult kids moving back home full-time is the potential loss of independence.  Living with parents will inevitably come with certain restrictions and expectations. Living together as adults doesn't mean sacrificing personal space and independence. Establish boundaries regarding private areas in the house and encourage open discussions about everyone's need for personal time and space.

  4. Set house rules - create a set of house rules, define responsibilities and make sure that everyone agrees. These rules can cover various aspects from shared spaces, visitors, routines and household chores but they must be unanimously agreed to ensure that the rules are fair and reasonable for all parties involved or it will only lead to strained relationships and resentment.

  5. Be accommodating – as a parent you will have your routines so you must try and make them work together. Organise things so that there isn’t a queue for the bathroom or the need to constantly shuffle cars around and you'll have a much happier household.

  6. Ask them to do their own washing and ironing but if this isn’t happening set a rota. If assistance isn’t offered for cleaning and cooking remind them they are not kids anymore but also maximise on their skills – maybe they would be happier helping in the garden?

  7. Paying their way- it is important to have this set in stone right from the start. If adult children are moving home due to financial hardship you will want to help them out but you also need to consider the additional expenses you'll potentially need to pay. If they are saving up for a deposit on a house or to travel then it can be a token gesture must pay something.

 You could consider:

•            Charging them rent based on a percentage of their income – a rate of 10% would allow them to put a further 20% into savings or help them pay off loans.

•            Charging them a flat rate to help cover your expenses.

•            Charging them rent but discreetly putting some aside to give to them when they move out.

If your adult kids are unable to contribute to bills or rent, ensure they earn their keep in other ways, perhaps by helping clean your car, working in the garden or other jobs you may pay someone else to do.

8. Communicate - if you feel you are being taken for granted, spending one too many nights ironing or finding the fridge empty or dishwasher yet again not emptied don't allow your irritation to fester. If something's bothering you make sure you discuss it with your adult child.


It is a time of re-adjustment and can be challenging but if you set the boundaries from the start it can strengthen family bonds and create new memories.

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