Downsized? What to Do When the Kids Come Home.

The kids are finally all grown up, and you’re enjoying your smaller, more organized space. Downsizing is something a lot of people consider as they grow older and retire, and most enjoy the lifestyle changes that come with it. (Not getting up early on Saturday to mow the lawn -- who wouldn’t love that?)

It’s so much less work, and you’ve been looking forward to this for years. But you love your kids, and you want them home for the holidays and other visits. Where will everyone sleep? And how will you survive the crowding in your new, serene space? You’ll probably need open lines of communication and a sense of humor.

Everyone handles visits from adult children differently, and you’ll have to find the best option for you!

Here are a few ideas:

Sofa bed.

This is probably best for short visits of one or two nights. After all, no one wants a bed in the living room for that long. You probably perfected the art of getting the kids to make their beds when they were teens. You might want to see if it still works because the whole family might enjoy being able to use the sofa as a sofa during the day.

Nearby hotels.

If money isn’t an issue, or if there are some low-cost options nearby, hotels can give everyone a little space. And if the hotel is a nicer one, with a pool or other amenities, the whole family can enjoy it!

Staggered visits.

Who says you have to have all the kids at once? It can be nice to see them one at a time, so you can really focus on what’s going on in their lives.

Family vacation.

These aren’t just for little kids. Whether it’s a cruise or a simple camping trip or weekend at the lake, vacation is a great time for your family to really enjoy each other. You’ll be away from work, school, and other people you know, so you can just be a family.

You go to them.

If your children have homes of their own, it may be time for them to start hosting. If they have children of their own, they might even be relieved to learn they won’t have to travel. Maybe they're ready to start hosting but haven’t wanted to hurt your feelings by asking. Open communication is key here. Just ask!

Neighbors with spare rooms.

Tread carefully here, but with so many people renting rooms through sites like VRBO and Airbnb, you may find that your neighbors are happy to rent out a room or two. And if they’re traveling for the holidays, they might appreciate having someone stay in their home so it won’t be unoccupied. Want to provide added incentive? Tell your neighbors about the Masters Exemption.

Keep those visits short.

This isn’t a three-week college winter break, kids. A few days is probably enough. With Skype, cell phones, and email, there’s plenty of room for communication, no sofa bed required.

The most important thing here is communication. Your kids may be adults, but you can still tell them what to do, and they may even expect you to lead the way. Even if your new way is asking them what they might like to do for the holidays. With a little effort, you’ll start new traditions and love them just as much as you did the old ones.