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About 18% of America's college grads walk across the stage to pick up their diplomas and then head straight back to their childhood bedrooms, thanks to the real-world challenges of student debt and a stubborn job market.

If you're a parent to one of these boomerang kids, there are some ways you can help ensure that their move home is a temporary intermission that boosts their future prospects without jeopardizing your own retirement readiness — and everybody's sanity. (Have you watched the related entertaining video below?) Consider these tips.

Burning the Mortgage, and the Boomerang Boy

Empty nesters John and Julie hit a snag in their plans to downsize. Can you relate?

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Establish Clear Guidelines Before your graduate moves back in, consider having an open conversation about how long he or she expects to live with you, and what the expectations for staying in your home might be.

Here are a few ideas to get you started, and you may want to draw up an informal contract. As long as she or he is living at home, your grad should:

Apply for at least two jobs every week, and follow up on each of them a week later.

Volunteer or take an internship to gain relevant experience for their dream job.

Help out with things at home as needed.

Agree to a specified repayment plan if they borrow money from you.

Dedicate a portion of any income to pay down student loans or save for their own apartment.

Move out as soon as they have the financial means to do so, perhaps by an agreed-upon deadline.

Having clear guidelines for living together helps everyone keep the finish line in sight. Every couple of months, you might want to have a heart-to-heart about the progress that your grad is making and what you can do to help.

Consider Charging Them Rent After 22 years of covering your grad's basic financial needs, you might feel guilty asking them for money (or asking that they contribute to the family's rent or mortgage payments). But resist the temptation to let them slide by, especially if they're making some money!

If they're still on the hunt for their entry-level dream position and can't afford even a few hundred dollars, ask them to pitch in to support the household anyway — by doing dishes and laundry, cooking meals and running errands.

Remember Your Own Retirement Countdown By the time your kiddo has made it through college, you're probably not that far away from retirement, meaning that extending yourself financially to help them out could make your own goals harder to achieve.

Take the time to thoroughly examine your own financial situation and family budget. The results will help inform what you can and can't do to help your child pay student loans and any credit card debt, and meet living expenses.