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Midlife is the time when one can refocus on self.

At first, the empty nest syndrome can hit hard.

Hallow bedrooms, uncluttered bathrooms, empty chairs at the dining room table.

Truly this can be a little sad, at first.

Then suddenly you realize you can get used to this!

More time to focus on your own needs, self-care, and even redecorating some empty rooms!

Then out of the blue, you find out that one or more of your adult children need to return home.

What do you do when your adult kids move home?

You may be thrilled to have them back in the nest.

Perhaps you are worried there may be confusion on how things will work.

This article is for those of you facing your adult kids moving back.

There are three main elements to focus on when your adult kids move home.

Step by step, you can work it out.

Outside of those three elements, I will provide you with some follow up advice as every situation is different.

When Your Adult Kids Move Home

This can stem from a financial need, loss of job for example, or an emotional need among many other reasons.

Regardless of the reason, as parents, we jump into action more often than not.

Few parents I know would simply allow their children to flounder, even if they are adults.

When Your Adult Kids Move Home:

When an adult kid moves home it is important that there is mutual respect.

Boundaries must be set that all can live by comfortably.

Expectations need to be clear.

There will need to be ground rules.

Since every situation is different there are no set rules to follow.

The first thing you will want to consider as parents is the why.

The reason for your adult child moving home will have a lot to do with the ground rules that need to be established.

For example, if your adult kid lost a job and needs financial support, you will want to consider this when establishing the ground rules.

Clearly, you won’t want to foot the bill forever if their kid is out living it up if they are not looking for work.

If your child moved back home for medical reasons, making sure they are doing their best with self-care is a starting point.

When Your Adult Kids Move Home

When Your Adult Kids Move Home It Is Important To Set Boundaries

They are not kids anymore, and you are not getting any younger!

Setting boundaries is a great way for all involved to know what to expect.

You have got used to a new routine.

You may have television shows you watch, or evenings set aside to have visitors for game night.

Sitting down as a family and talking about times where you want privacy, or will have guests helps establish boundaries on the basic things.

There may be more pressing issues to work out.

Your adult kids may ask for certain concessions too.

It’s your home obviously but try to meet in the middle on some things.

Remember, they are not children, even though some situation brought them back into the fold.

They still will need more freedom and have their own schedules aside from yours, more than ever before.

For many adult children, having to move back home is humbling, sometimes humiliating.

Let them have their say.

It’s not that they do not love you as much as ever, but they are resetting their own lives and trying to find their way again.

When Your Adult Children Move Home

Expectations Need To Be Clear

After a little time for settling in it’s time to set some expectations.

This will be a case by case scenario.

Clearly, they should pitch in.

They are not teens, and asking them to clean their room should be a thing of the past.

It’s up to you to decide if you are going to take them as they are or enforce rules on each topic.

Set the expectation that they contain the mess to their own room.

Alternatively, you can let them know you expect them to keep it clean.

As I have always said, pick your battles wisely.

Not that any of this should be a battle.

After all, it is your home, but the reality is that sometimes, in some cases it is!

Again every family is different. Every adult child is different. We are all different.

It really all comes down to the family as a whole.

How clean they are is just an example of an expectation you may have to set.

Expectations can be about dating life, guests, helping with yard work.

Anything you would expect them to be a part of living in your home.

Don’t forget, however, they have expectations too!

As young adults, they deserve them.

Sure, you could lay down the law and say “well if you need to live here you live by my rules”. I promise you,

I promise you, they won’t be around long if you do that.

Perhaps that’s the plan though!

I don’t think any of us want to feel our house has become a war zone when adult kids move home.

When Your Adult Children Move Home

When Your Adult Kids Move Home – Set Ground Rules

Then we have the third and final element.

Ground Rules.

These are the things you will not budge on.

Yes, they are a lot like expectations but they are not up for discussion.

My advice is to keep these things as limited as possible.

It is unreasonable for your adult kids not to expect a few requirements on this list.

This is probably the most personal of all the three elements.

Again, every situation will be different based on your lifestyle, and that of your kids.

This could include checking in when out with friends. Which may depend on their age.

It could involve helping out around the home.

Or it could be a plan of action for moving back out such as getting finances straight or finding a job.

Whatever your ground rules make sure they are reasonable and that your young adult child agrees to them.

The most important thing about all of the above elements is that everyone is in agreement and that everything is clear.

But wait, I promised more advice for when your adult kids move home!

More On When Your Adult Kid Moves Home – The Finite Details

I realize this is a lot to go over.

It may be too much to do in one fell swoop.

Depending on why your young adult moved home, they may be dealing with a lot of emotional upset.

They could have been married and lost a spouse.

Perhaps they are dealing with depression, addiction, or other health issues.

Sometimes taking it slow is best.

Do not try tackling everything at once. 

Consider your own situation and take it one step at a time if necessary.

For some losing a job in and of itself is traumatic!

Especially if they spent years in college to get that job.

They may be feeling worthless, disempowered, shameful, or any other mix of negative emotions.

Some may time to grieve, heal, and build their esteem back up.

You may be able to be a part of this but some of your children may just need time to decompress.

Once again, this is a case by case scenario.

You have to be the judge of when the time is right.

Clearly, we can’t let facing these things go forever.

Patterns can build quickly and we want to nip negative patterns in the bud as fast as possible.

If you do begin to notice an unhealthy pattern, or your child taking advantage, say something before your own frustration builds.

Ultimately, When Your Adult Kids Move Home – Enjoy It!

Sure they aren’t little anymore.

They may not cling to you but they are still your kids.

Take time to enjoy having them back for a bit.

Before you know it, they could be taking flight, again.

I would love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment letting me know of your experience. Did your adult kids move home again? 

How would you handle it?

Any tips you can share or questions just let us know.

You may find other helpful articles in the Empowerment and Enlightenment section of the blog. 



  1. Candy
    August 15, 2017 / 10:50 am

    We had one come back to finish a degree so no loans were taken out. Adjusting for all. Worked out.

    • August 15, 2017 / 10:29 pm

      Great reason to move back home for sure! Those college loans are a hardship!

  2. August 15, 2017 / 11:49 am

    I was so sad when my youngest child flew the nest but now my husband and I have so much freedom. Thankfully, none of my 5 children moved back home once they graduated from college. I totally agree that ground rules need to be established from the get go and I completely understand that sometimes adult kids need to move back home for a little while.

    • August 15, 2017 / 10:28 pm

      I was sad when both of my kids moved out initially then I got used to my own routine. Indeed so many reasons young adults are moving back home these days. Sometimes even older adults to help family or save money.
      It can be touch and go without some guidelines. Thank you for checking my article out!

  3. August 15, 2017 / 1:19 pm

    When I was younger I had to move back in with my parents for a time. I think we did very well together and I think it was because of a lot of things you mentioned in this post. They gave me the space I needed and I do the same back. We still did stuff together at times and other times they would go off and do their own things and I would too.
    Jeanette recently posted…Easy Turkey EnchiladasMy Profile

    • August 15, 2017 / 10:24 pm

      That sounds perfect and you all seemed to have handled it very well. I think that is key – respect and personal space. Both ways.

  4. August 15, 2017 / 1:21 pm

    No adult kids here BUT hubby and I moved in to his mom’s place when we relocated to his home state. It was challenging as not only did we move in but we did so with a 1-yr old and 2, 2-yr olds. Can you imagine how she must have felt having her adult son, his wife and toddlers? Trust me it was challenging but in retrospect we were so thankful as it allowed us to save money towards our dream home.
    Tomi C recently posted…7 Tips to Beat the Weight Loss Plateau While on Nutrisystem #NSNation #adMy Profile

    • August 15, 2017 / 10:21 pm

      Oh goodness that is a massive adjustment for all concerned. I think it is wonderful and a good reason to move back. I am glad you got your dream home!!

  5. August 15, 2017 / 1:47 pm

    These are some really helpful tips for anyone in this stage of life. Mine are in college, so the stage of moving out is sure to come within the next several years. I know it takes a lot of patience even now because they’re adults, but you still worry! I worry when they’re out late!
    Christy Maurer recently posted…Therabis Calm and Quiet for Dogs Can Help Reduce Separation AnxietyMy Profile

    • August 15, 2017 / 10:20 pm

      Oh indeed the worry never ends. College is a whole other transition for sure. Cling to them while you can then have some YOU time.

  6. August 15, 2017 / 2:23 pm

    I can’t imagine moving home now – I did in my late teens for a while but I’m so used to having my own space now I think it would be hard to move back in with the ‘rents.

    • August 15, 2017 / 10:20 pm

      Haha I am sure it would be but if it ever does have to happen – reference this haha

  7. August 15, 2017 / 4:18 pm

    These are some helpful tips! The worrying never stops, wheater they live with you or not. I couldn’t imagine moving home or having kids moving back home after they have been gone. It happens and I’m sure it’s hard on everyone.
    Sarah Honey recently posted…Paleo Tailgating FavoritesMy Profile

  8. August 15, 2017 / 5:05 pm

    My kids are little so this isn’t even on my radar yet. It sounds like a lot of work!

  9. August 15, 2017 / 5:17 pm

    There are so many different reasons why adult kids might move back home. I think setting expectations and creating ground rules are important for establishing a positive experience.

    • August 15, 2017 / 10:17 pm

      Thank you I agree Jenn. We all have to know where things stand for any of it to make sense.

  10. August 15, 2017 / 5:27 pm

    You have hit every point possible. I have two kids that have moved out and come back more than once and it gets better each time (because they come back more mature and more reasonable). Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be alone in my home at any time in my life – lol.
    JenT recently posted…Trending Turquoise Hippie Boho Clothes & AccessoriesMy Profile

    • August 15, 2017 / 10:16 pm

      LOL! I can relate! Interesting how their perspective changes as they get older.

  11. Pam Wattenbarger
    August 15, 2017 / 5:35 pm

    One of my children moved back home again for about six months. While I enjoyed having her around, it was hard because we had all gotten used to doing things without her and she had gotten used to doing things without us.

    • August 15, 2017 / 10:16 pm

      Yes it is a difficult transition. Dinners for example – not knowing how many to cook for or to cook at all.

  12. Debra Hawkins
    August 15, 2017 / 8:54 pm

    My parents actually begged me to move in with my husband and two kids. They really wanted us there. We ended up buying a house together so it would be our house instead of theirs or ours.

    • August 15, 2017 / 10:10 pm

      Awee that is so sweet! My mother lives down the road – literally around the corner from us. It’s nice to have family close.

  13. August 15, 2017 / 8:56 pm

    It would really be important to set rules and boundaries when adult kid move home. It would be a different dynamics but its always better having people around.
    Franc Ramon recently posted…In Review: Suunto Spartan Sport WHRMy Profile

    • August 15, 2017 / 10:25 pm

      Indeed – as long as they behave like adults they should be treated as such.

  14. August 15, 2017 / 10:37 pm

    I don’t have kids so nothing to worry about there!

    From a kid’s point of view, I couldn’t wait to move out on my own. And stay out!

    There has only been one time when I wished I could have moved back home and that was when going through a divorce, but unfortunately my parents had passed on by then.
    Cheryl recently posted…How to Make Black Eyed Peas in your Instant PotMy Profile

    • August 16, 2017 / 8:07 pm

      So sorry that your parents have passed. I am sure living back home could have been a comfort in those times.

  15. August 16, 2017 / 6:12 am

    These are great tips. I believe respect and clear boundaries are key to prevent any issues.

    • August 16, 2017 / 8:03 pm

      Indeed Paula. Communication is key. No one can live up to expectations we do not emote.

  16. Our Family World
    August 16, 2017 / 5:17 pm

    These are all sound advice that we must discuss with adult kids moving back home. The kids must realize that they should get a job, help with the expenses and house chores. There should be rules that must be laid down to avoid misunderstandings later on.

    • August 16, 2017 / 7:12 pm

      Exactly. If we do not put forward our expectations we can not expect anyone to meet them. This goes for any relationship from dating to our children and other family members.

  17. August 16, 2017 / 6:04 pm

    This may not seem common to many, but I’m sure it is and this seems like a good list with clear explanations so as to avoid problems down the road.

    • August 16, 2017 / 7:11 pm

      Thank you Betty! That means a lot to me. Glad to know it was comprehensive.

  18. August 18, 2017 / 2:45 am

    As an adult child, I’m sure my parents would be ecstatic if I moved home for a bit. I’ve lived on my own since I was 17 so it would be a difficult move for me. I do miss the comfort of family though. Love the tips and suggestions in this post.

    • August 18, 2017 / 1:16 pm

      Awee I bet they would love having you around! I moved out of my mother’s house young too so I know what you mean. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  19. September 10, 2017 / 8:01 am

    Excellent article! We have six children and, so far, all but one have moved home for a while. I agree on every point. We learned it through trial and error. I wish I’d had your wise words at the outset!

    • September 10, 2017 / 5:04 pm

      Thank you so much Diane. As wise as the words are, sticking by them can also be a challenge. It takes time and I think there is always trial and error even if you “know” the right way to go about it lol. Every child is different too and I bet you already know that from experience.

  20. December 22, 2017 / 1:46 pm

    Your article remember my old days when my two adult child moved home. 10 years back and I am still waiting for them. As they are busy it us acceptable but I do wait for them every day.

    • December 22, 2017 / 10:51 pm

      Thank you John. Having adult children back home can be beautiful or tragic in some cases. It always depends.

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