Do you feel like you’re walking a tightrope trying to balance the needs and wants of every member of your multi-generational household? You’re not alone. The number of people living in a multi-generational house is rising. According to Pew Research, about 18 percent of families live in the same type of household, and getting accustomed to balance and responsibilities is one area that can be tricky for everyone.
While it can be rewarding to live with extended family, it can be challenging to balance happiness and keep everyone in the home content.
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Communication, Boundaries, and Setting Expectations
The number one way to make sure your family feels heard is to communicate clearly. Just like any relationship, communication has to be a must. Everyone should state their needs and wants to one another to create empathy and understanding.
For example, one of your family members has a chronic condition – or is just older – and needs some quiet time to rest during the day. They could ask if the house could be as quiet as possible during a specific timeframe.
Another example is if a student in the household feels overwhelmed with schoolwork. Maybe there’s too much commotion during the evening, and they can’t focus. Everyone can agree to allow them to have a designated part of the house to concentrate on schoolwork.
There are many scenarios where you or your family members may need some space, quiet time, help with the house, and more. The best thing you can do is sit down and communicate. Everyone has to do their part to make it work.
Have Everyone Pitch In
Everyone should do their part in a multi-generational home. One person shouldn’t be stuck with all the responsibilities of that many family members. Everyone needs a role. Tasks like cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and laundry should be split between each person.
Having everyone take on a role can help create the balance you need. A dry-erase board or a weekly calendar that you can hand on the wall is helpful. You could write down what is expected of each person every day. You can even change it up so each adult gets a turn cooking, so it’s not always the same person.
Don’t be afraid to allocate light cleaning tasks to children who are old enough. Most kids love to pitch in and help clean, so it may be fun. Tasks like sweeping, helping load the dishwasher, rinsing dishes, and picking up their rooms can be a huge help.
Creating Harmony Out of Chaos
It can be frustrating when you’re doing all you can to ensure a harmonious household, but someone isn’t doing their part. The most important thing you can do is not hold resentment otherwise it can create more chaos.
As you approach the situation, consider all factors about why they could have fallen behind. Could they be dealing with something emotionally? Sometimes people don’t mean to neglect their household duties, but depression could take over. Have they been acting down lately? Or maybe they haven’t been enjoying their normal hobbies? If so, there may be something deeper going on, and the best thing would be to talk to them heart-to-heart and try to get them to seek some help so they can manage the emotions they’re feeling.
If that doesn’t seem to be the case, you should just tell them you’d like to talk. Bring it up in a nice, casual way. You could say something like, “I noticed you haven’t been fulfilling your duties and responsibilities around the house.” Remind them in a firm but loving way all the tasks you have to do and how it’s too much to do theirs as well.
It’s also important to remember that change doesn’t happen overnight. For example, it can take some time if you’re just starting to figure out a system for your family. Like with any habit, it takes time and consistent effort to stick to a routine.
Creative Ways to Maintain Communication
Maintaining communication, setting boundaries, and establishing clear expectations are vital steps to ensure an as-smooth-as-possible living situation. However, there are disconnects and miscommunications that happen as a part of daily life. Here are a few ways you can ensure your multi-generational household stays on track and on the same page.
Have a Family Meeting
You can have a family meeting when someone falls short on their duties. However, you can also hold a regular family meeting. This is a great way to ensure everyone is on the same page and discuss any concerns during that time. You could do it monthly or whatever time frame works best for you.
Make each person feel like a valuable household member. Encourage each other to help one another out and celebrate small wins along with the big wins.
Create a Reward System
Of course, this one is more for teens and younger kids. But one way to get them more engaged and on track is to create a reward system. Maybe offer stickers for little ones and a movie night, pizza out, or a night out with their friends, or even an allowance. Whatever works best for your family would be a great way to get them motivated.
Make It Fun
There’s no doubt that chores and responsibilities sometimes feel overwhelming and not too enjoyable. However, try incorporating games, music, or other fun elements to make the tasks more fun.
Following the tips above, you can create a harmonious, happy, balanced multi-generational home. By making sure everyone is on the same page and has a clear understanding of their responsibilities, you can avoid conflict and build a stronger, more connected family.
Whether implementing a chore chart, setting up regular family meetings, or counseling, there are various ways to ensure everyone finds peace and comfort in their role in the family. Remember: work together and look out for one another. You can create a home filled with love, understanding, and happiness.
By Heather Burdo
Heather Burdo is a digital marketing enthusiast who loves helping businesses grow and reach their goals. She is passionate about leveraging the power of content marketing, social media, and SEO to support companies in gaining visibility with their target audience. Her expertise delves into numerous industries like solar energy, HVAC, health, real estate, finance, and more. During her free time, spending time with her family, going on fun adventures, and working on self-growth are her top priorities.