Between a competitive economy and an expensive housing market, today’s young people are staying in the nest longer than ever before. In fact, more than a third of Canadian young adults live with their parents rather than alone or with a spouse or partner in their own household.
While this trend can offer certain benefits to parents and kids living under the same roof, there are positive ways you can encourage your children to take the next step in their lives and careers. Here are some ideas for parents of kids in post-secondary and beyond.
Create a realistic plan. Work together to set key goals and milestones that are achievable. For example, if their goal is to find a job, strategize on how to get the ball rolling. Career counselling available on campus or information interviews with professionals in their field are great places to start. If your son or daughter is hoping to move out, help him or her establish a budget and find ways to meet it. Even while still in university or college, a part-time job or on-campus research position can help.
Set clear house rules. You want to be your children’s parent, not their roommate. Set boundaries and responsibilities that help them understand exactly what goes into running a household, which will prepare them for when they do leave the nest. Decide who will purchase the groceries each week, set curfews and quiet hours, and establish what they need to do to contribute to certain expenses such as the Internet bill. Beyond doing their own laundry, make sure your kids are contributing to chores that benefit everyone in the household, like preparing dinner, shoveling snow or making repairs.
Encourage a working holiday or internship. Travelling and working abroad can help your child become more independent and confident while gaining international work experience that can be very valuable when they come back and start job hunting. A great resource to obtain work permits quicker and easier is International Experience Canada, a government program that allows youth ages 18 to 35 to travel and work abroad for up to two years in one of more than 30 partner countries and territories.