An Empty Nesters Guide To Preparing For Your Children To Leave Home
The day your child leaves home is a bittersweet moment. You'll be excited to have more time and space, but you'll also miss the hugs and kisses from your little one. As an empty nesters couple, it's important for you to take some time off before they leave so that you can spend quality time with them on their last few days at home. It's also a good idea to set up any new routines in advance so that things are running smoothly once they're gone - this will make sure that they feel safe when they go back home. Here are 11 ways to prepare for your children leaving home.
You've brought up one, two, three or maybe even more children, and now the last one is leaving home. Your emotions about this are probably all over the place, and they're probably mixed. For many parents, this is a bittersweet time when they are both happy that they will have more space and free time but sad that their child will be moving out. It's great to see your kid become an independent adult, but it's also hard to accept that a big change in the relationship is inevitable. It's important that you manage your emotions both for your own sake and that of your child. The pointers below can help you prepare for this time.
Start Planning Early
The same as you had to prepare yourself to start your family you should prepare yourself for this transition. Start thinking about what you want your life to look like after your kids are grown when your youngest child is still in high school. If your child is headed off to college, there will probably be a few years in which they are home part of the time and away for part of the time, so you will need to factor that in. Think about what kinds of changes you might want to make in the home and in your lifestyle. If you have a partner, talk to them about how your lives are going to change and what you'd like to do in the years ahead. It's still going to be tough when your kid moves out even if you're prepared for it, but you'll feel less blindsided by it all with a plan in place.
Help Make The Separation Easier With Life Skills Training
A lot of parents will have the idea that when their child leaves home, they also need to leave all responsibility behind. This can be a mistake because kids who haven't been prepared for certain aspects of adult life tend to struggle more in this new phase than those with some experience and skills under their belt. In addition, if you want your kid to make good decisions, it's important for them to know what kinds of consequences they'll face when things go wrong. Without these real-world lessons under their belt, there is a higher likelihood that they might end up making bad choices or falling into dangerous behaviors like drug use or getting involved in criminal activity (even if they're never going off anywhere dangerous).
Things that seem simple to you or I like how to cook a healthy meal, negotiate rental terms, or know when you need to seek a professional mechanic's help with your car are skills that you should start sharing early. Unfortunately, sometimes things slip by. So, take this opportunity to talk with your child and make sure they are fully prepared to for their new life outside your home.
Prepare Financially With Separate Phone Bills and Insurance
You should start thinking about practical things as well. For example, will you need to keep your child on your health insurance? You may also want to take a look at your life insurance policy. If your child is in college, you should probably hang onto it for a few more years, but after that, you might want to consider whether you want to avoid paying premiums going forward if you don't have dependents who will need the money from it. If you have term life insurance, you can simply let the policy lapse when it runs out, but if you have a permanent policy, you can review a guide on selling your policy through a life settlement. This can net you a substantial amount of money.
Start Some New Hobbies
Finding new ways to spend your time is always exciting, and you might enjoy taking up some hobbies that will help keep you in shape. You can get back into running if it's something you used to love or try out a yoga class at the gym. If neither of these are particularly appealing options for you but you'd like to stay active, make plans with friends who also have kids leaving home so that they can go on walks together each day after dinner when everyone has come home from work or school.
Focus On Your Relationship With Your Spouse
Finally, sometimes couples need reminding about their relationship with one another because raising children can be challenging enough without adding any unnecessary stressors between spouses too. Being an empty nesters means there should be plenty of time to rekindle the romance in your relationship, so make sure you take some time for yourselves now that everyone is out of the house. You can plan dinner dates together each week or go on a trip without anyone else tagging along if you want.
Don't Be Afraid of Seeking Mental Health Support From A Counselor or Therapist
If you feel like your emotions are all over the place and it's impacting your ability to cope with everything, then don't be afraid of seeking mental health support from a counselor or therapist. They can help you work through any difficult feelings that come up when someone leaves home for good so that they're no longer an issue in your life.
Realizing that a phase of your life that has dominated every waking moment for the past several decades is going to be disruptive. While the freedom that comes with having an empty nest can be exciting, anxiety is a huge issue that many parents face.
A therapist can be very beneficial in helping your through this transition.
Plan a Family Vacation
Spending quality time together is key to making the transition easier. Make sure you make plans for at least one family vacation before your child leaves home, so that they can see how much fun it might be when they are gone and not just living with a bunch of roommates who like to go out all night long. You should also consider taking vacations as an empty nesters couple after your child has left home, but there's no reason why you both cannot take solo trips now and then too if that's something you enjoy doing.
Spend Some Time With Them On The Last Few Days At Home
You've brought up one, two, three or maybe even more children, and now the last one is leaving home. As soon-to-be empty nesters, your emotions about this are probably all over the place, and they're probably mixed. For many parents, this is a bittersweet time when they are both happy that they will have more space and free time but sad that their child will be moving out. It's great to see your kid become an independent adult, but it's also hard
Letting Go Is Hard But Don't Make It More Difficult
Give your children space by not hovering over them while they pack their bags or help clean out their room. You don't want to make this transition harder on them than it has to be, and if you're constantly watching what they are doing in the home when they plan on living somewhere else soon anyway, that can get really irritating for everyone involved.
It's Ok To Miss Them But Don't Get Too Emotional About It
Spend time thinking about how much you'll miss having your kids around so that you can prepare emotionally as well as practically. The pointers above should give you some ideas of ways to do just that. Start planning early so that right before your child leaves is not the first time you think about all these things
Your Relationship with Your Child isn't Over!
Your child doesn't magically turn into an adult overnight when they turn 18 or they move out of the house. Another thing you'll need to prepare for before they leave the nest is a transition time. Your kid will still need some support from you and may always turn to you for advice. The trick will be knowing how to offer support while still ensuring that they are able to be independent. Depending on your child and the relationship you have with them, you may have to gently push them to try making decision and dealing with issues on their own rather than texting you every time there is a problem. On the other hand, you may have a kid who only stays in touch when you nag them. Knowing your own kid, your situation and your family as you do, you will eventually settle into a balance that works for everyone.
- Written by James Hills
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