Setting Boundaries and Building Relationships While Home

Moving back home can provide an abundance of obstacles. This means that balancing home life in addition to your upper-level schoolwork can be challenging at times. You are managing relationships with family members while trying to maintain a schedule for your course-work. This is not easy! But it is manageable. These tips will help you set boundaries and build and maintain relationships while you are home.

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Use Clear Conversation

Establishing boundaries is a key part of adulthood. While having a full-blown conversation with your fellow housemates may be daunting, it is a necessary step in clearly demonstrating your needs. It is very difficult to establish boundaries simply through small comments and gestures; while you might think you are being obvious in your communications, a conversation is the best way to know that your feelings are made clear. Worried about how to have this conversation? Here are some tips to get you started:

  • If you are worried about how a conversation will go - practice in your head. Go through what you want to say, and anticipate different possible outcomes. Try to make it so you are mentally prepared for various potential resolutions.

  • Keep the conversation productive. There is no need to prolong the conversation by sustaining something off-track. If you feel the conversation starts to stray, recenter it on the task at hand. Go into the conversation knowing your goals - and stick to them.

  • Acknowledge emotion. Conversations, especially where there is a power imbalance, can be emotionally charged. Instead of dismissing emotion - acknowledge it. Share where you are coming from and listen to others.

  • Assume good intentions. Sometimes comments can come across as belittling. While it is important to stay in tune with how you feel, assuming good intentions can be helpful in staying away from the negative. Intentions do not always equal impact.

Above all, remember that this is a mediation and not a debate. Though it may be difficult, keeping harmony during the conversation will ultimately help your living situation. Understand that you have needs, and while it may be challenging for your parents, sibling, or housemate to understand, you deserve to have them met. You are your own best advocate.



Seek the Positive in Relationships

If you have moved back home for the time being, or if you are now experiencing limited mobility, this tip will be helpful! There is a lot of negativity going around, and you may feel helpless or out of control. Finding current positivity or creating opportunities for happiness in your relationships is a key way to stay afloat.


You may find that your family members want to spend more time with you if you are home now. It is more than okay to remind them that you are a student and have to attend and work on classes - but make some time to make good memories! On a free evening, try playing a game with your family. These 6 card games could give you something new - and fun - to try.


Building and developing relationships with the people in your house will help you with new cohabitation. Even if you have lived in the current living situation before, things have likely changed and there are bound to be new pressures. Put time into getting to know the people you are living with.



Develop a Solid Schedule

Setting a clear schedule will help you share clearer expectations with your housemates. If you are able to share the hours you are working versus the time you are free, it will be easier to communicate the boundaries you need. You might be having trouble setting a schedule even for yourself; if that is the case, check out My Study Life. This free online planner allows you to manage class times and assignments so that you can stay top of your game. Google Calendar is another great way to keep your meetings in order and schedule off time-blocks in an organized and shareable way.


Remember that you are not the only one with a new schedule to adhere to! Consider creating a family calendar (or virtually create a shared calendar with Google). Allow your housemates to share their schedules, so that you can coordinate designated work times. While you are all sharing a space, it is important to give everyone the opportunity to set the boundaries to complete their work. Sharing your schedule is an easy way to set time boundaries and coexist in the same space with people who have different goals.



Designate a Space For Yourself

If time boundaries are not for you - try finding a space at home that can be yours! Psychology Today says that having your own room or space positively contributes to emotional well-being. If you have your own room, ask your housemates to give you privacy when the door is shut. This will allow you to create a space in your home that is for you to learn and relax, until you are ready for company.


If your room isn't a place where you can kick-back and chill, you might need to spruce it up. Check out these 9 ways to make your room more comfortable over the weekend! If you are hoping to use your bedroom as your new space, consider rearranging the furniture to create different divisions in your room. Studies show that working in bed can negatively impact your productivity and lead to a worse sleep schedule. If you can, make yourself a work space in your room. Versatile areas and good organization are the keys to creating a multi-purpose room that you can use to be productive in work and relaxation.



Remember that you deserve to be comfortable in your home. Setting boundaries is an essential way to help you manage stress and be successful in this new time. Do your best to advocate for what you need and find joy in your new situation.