A Smooth Transition: Preparing for an Empty Nest

Self-Care & Mental Health

family at college graduationThere's no use denying it: Your kids will grow up and likely move away from home. While this may be a difficult time in your life, there are efforts you can make to help the transition go smoothly.
 
First, realize that this is also a big change for your son or daughter. As a result, you will want to help them prepare for their move, which will also help get you used to the idea that they won't be sleeping in the next room every night. Making sure they know how to do laundry, balance a checking account and cook nutritious meals will provide you with some quality time with them before they leave, as well as give them the basic skills to live on their own.
 
Simply discussing the big change regularly may also help. Talk to your son or daughter about their hopes and dreams for the future, and try to provide guidance on how to achieve them. This will foster communication later on as they begin to take steps toward their goals. Also, talking about it with your spouse or partner can get the two of you excited about living alone again. Perhaps you can plan a trip or make arrangements to redecorate the house.
 
Additionally, talk about how you're feeling with friends or family who have been through the experience. They may be able to help you deal with your emotions and feel better about the situation. You might even find that, for many people, the transition was a positive one, because it can bring you closer to your spouse or give you more time for hobbies or your career.
 
It may be a good idea to avoid any other big changes until you become comfortable with your empty nest. This can seem like a good time to buy a new, smaller home, but the stress of the sale and move may only exacerbate your feelings of sadness or longing for when your child was still in the house.
 
Perhaps most importantly, remind yourself that your son's or daughter's departure is a sign that you've done a good job as a parent. That's something to celebrate, not to be sad about.

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