The Economic Effects
Raising Growing Families in Smaller Homes!
The crisis that triggered massive layoffs and an economic meltdown in the United States since 2007 has forced many families to downsize their homes and readjust their lifestyles.
With two-income households becoming one-income households due to job losses, and with people losing their homes because of foreclosures, parents have had to make the tough decision of moving their families into smaller homes to accommodate their smaller incomes.
One major factor that contributed to foreclosures was the subprime mortgage loan fiasco.
A study by the Center for Responsible Lending found that an estimated 1 million families lost their homes in the past 10 years due to subprime loans, which were usually given to people with low credit ratings.
This means that thousands of families in this last decade left their dream homes and downsized to more affordable living quarters.
The move was hard for parents especially those who were expecting or planning for more children. The change may have affected the children even more so for having to leave the comfort and stability of their home plus their friends.
Children, who were not prepared by their parents for the emotional upheaval, most likely “acted out” as a way of coping with the situation.
My Own Small Space Story
In my case, there was no earned income at all.
I was a single mother trying to figure out how to survive with four children on government subsidies. We had to move from a five bedroom house into a two bedroom house.
In between locations, we had to cram into a small hotel suite. It was difficult but very manageable.
The key to minimizing the stress and negative impact on your children during life changing events is behaving normally as if the situation is part of your usual routine.
If you panic or appear to be distraught, your children will feed off of your emotions and react accordingly.
It is the simple practice of leading by an example.
Stay calm while carefully explaining the situation and try your best to find a positive spin.
Here are some tips that may help you through a tough living situation with your family.
Moving into tighter quarters
Having less space to live in takes some getting used to for all family members.
But, there are ways that families can make the most out of living in limited space:
1. Have children close in age share a bedroom.
This frees up space in the house.
Prior to moving, parents should explain the reason behind the need to share, especially if their children have never shared a room or a bed with their siblings.
Though, keep in mind, infants should never share a crib.
Parents should also teach their children about respecting their siblings’ personal possessions, and not take them without first asking permission.
Luckily, I have two girls and two boys.
So, this arrangement worked well for us.
2. Create a shared family-meeting space.
Find a place in the house for family entertainment.
Have a room where all family members can come together to have fun, play games, watch television or discuss family issues.
Coming together periodically keeps the family connected and the lines of communication open.
Unfortunately, I had to use the common living room space for my boy’s bedroom. But the kitchen was large enough to place a dinette set.
So we used the dining area as the gathering place.
3. Find rooms for privacy.
Just as it’s important to come together, it’s also important that family members have their own privacy.
Whether it’s putting up dividers in a room or marking off a corner of a larger room, encourage each family member to find a space of their own and respect each other’s personal boundaries.
There’s freedom in limitations
Downsizing a home has several benefits.
For one, parents will not have to worry about high monthly mortgage payments and utility bills.
There is also less housework to do :)
While space may be limited, it’s more affordable to maintain a smaller home, particularly for a family that experienced a drop in income.
The limitations surprisingly, can bring freedom from the financial pressure that caused the downsizing in the first place, and bring a growing family closer together.
What’s Your Opinion?
- Are you living in smaller housing now?
- What’s been your biggest hurdle to overcome?
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