The First Apartment: How Parents Can Help

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As the parent of an adult child who has recently moved into his or her first apartment, you’re undoubtedly going through a variety of emotions, from relief and pride to sadness and nostalgia. Your child still needs you, however; when they move out on their own, it’s likely that they’ll be missing some of your home cooking and the special touches you use around your own home to make it cozy and welcoming. Check out these tips on how you can help your son or daughter make his or her first home a haven to return to at the end of each day.

Throw a Housewarming Party

Chances are good that your child’s first apartment is substantially smaller than your home, so before the big move, consider having his or her friends and your extended family over for a pre-relocation housewarming party. Once they move in, they can invite friends over one at a time, of course, but this is a fun way to get your young adult ready for life on his or her own.

People will naturally want to bring gifts. If they ask, encourage them to look for items that are practical and that your child might not think of. GiftHero has some good suggestions on their website.

Help Them Clean Before Moving In

Are your adult child’s cleanliness standards as high as yours? Maybe they are and maybe they aren’t. But you going in with a mop, a bucket, and a caddy of cleaning equipment (don’t forget plenty of paper towels!) will lay your mind at ease that they’re moving into a clean place. It will also be a great way to bond and share in your child’s excitement as they clean and spiff up their new pad. You might be surprised at how enthusiastic they are about cleaning!

Purchase new supplies and solutions to use in their new apartment and leave them behind when you go. This way, if your young adult decides to spend a Saturday cleaning up, they won’t have any reason to put it off.

Encourage Them to Add Pops of Color

Most apartments come with white or neutral walls, and many landlords don’t allow tenants to paint. If your young adult has been used to living in a home filled with color, this can come as a stark surprise. Talk about ways that they can incorporate color and personality into their new home: Buy bright throw pillows, toss an afghan over the back of the couch, purchase a throw rug for the entryway, hang canvases painted in their favorite colors, and so on. If their budget is low, consider some of these inexpensive ways to decorate.

Don’t Forget About the Senses of Smell and Taste

There’s something about scent that reminds people of different places and people, and your adult child’s new apartment should smell like home. Candles, potpourri, and plug-in air fresheners can all help bring his or her favorite scents into the space. In addition, look for cleaning supplies that smell familiar and comforting (such as the ones you use!) and remember that even the shower gel and dishwashing liquid that they use will add to the scents wafting around the home, so encourage them to spend an extra few cents on the smells that they like best.

Bringing over some frozen cookie dough or a batch of your famous spaghetti sauce is a great way to include some favorite foods in the harmony of smells in your child’s new home. In addition, you’ll know that they have something comforting and delicious to munch on when they’re feeling homesick or nostalgic.

Finally, be sure to visit and encourage other family members to call and ask to visit, too. Don’t just pop over unannounced; respect your young adult’s autonomy and independence. But arrange to come over so you can ooh and ahh over what they’ve done with the place. And invite them to your home for dinner occasionally, too. Although your child has left the nest, they will probably still want to maintain a relationship and will still refer to your house as “coming home.”