Spanning the Generations: 6 Ways to Make a Multigenerational Household Work

Spanning the Generations: 6 Ways to Make a Multigenerational Household Work

As families try to save money, the concept of nuclear family is growing. Gone are the days when generations lived apart, multigenerational households are growing in popularity. When you have several generations living under one roof, rules need to be set. These keep grandparents, parents, and children living together in harmony so they can all Conservehealth

1. Create Routines

One of the most useful tips for living with multiple generations is to create routines. Children need rules and so do retired adults. Working parents often need help with managing children, work, and household chores. With routines, everyone is aware of their roles and they can do their part to keep the household functioning properly. Routines can include everything from preparing breakfast and getting ready for school as well as doing homework and caring for the yard. 

2. Develop Priorities

When several people of varying ages live under one roof, arguments can become frequent. When priorities are set, arguments over silly things like toothpaste tubes and toilet seats can quickly disappear. It is vital that you and your older relatives decide what is worth staying quiet about and what is worth talking about. To avoid lengthy arguments, it can be worthwhile to discuss where people stand on certain issues. 

3. Divide Chores

Your routines should include dividing up chores. You can divide up weekly chores on a whiteboard chart so everyone knows what their responsibilities are each week. Chores can include everything from taking out the trash, doing dishes, vacuuming the floors, and driving children to appointments and practices. Children should have chores that are appropriate for their ages and abilities. 

4. Set a Budget

With at least two adult generations in the house, expenses will increase. Households should decide how costs will be divided. Will everyone contribute to food costs? Who will pay the utility bills or homeowner’s insurance? What about expenses like laundry or paper products? It is best to talk about these expenses with all of the stakeholders in the home. That way, no secrets are kept and everything is paid fairly. 

5. Find Privacy

Another important thing for everyone in the house is a sense of privacy. There should be rules about private spaces like bathrooms and bedrooms. If someone needs time to themselves, they should be able to get it. Even children need private time, often when they are playing. Everyone in the house needs to understand that locked doors should be respected. A little privacy can help prevent big fights. If you work from home, you need to establish rules for privacy while you are working. 

6. Establish Boundaries

In a three-generation house, boundaries must be set. Problems can arise when grandparents and parents have different ideas about parenting today’s children. Any boundaries regarding parenting should be established immediately, otherwise, arguments are bound to happen. They can get ugly, too. Those boundaries should include what parents think is appropriate for eating, watching on TV, and using technology. When parents set boundaries, families experience less drama and hurt feelings. 

Photo by Jed Owen 

Caroline Bird
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