How You Can Prepare for the Empty Nest

The time has finally come for your last or only child to move out of the house. This can seem like a big step, but take heart. These days, kids have a tendency to move back home again more than once. On a more serious note, this can be a time of mixed emotions for you. You may be happy for your child and excited for what is ahead but also sad that your life is going to change forever. There are several things you can do to prepare and make the most of this time.

Think Ahead

Starting to think about what you want to do with the rest of your life while your child is still in high school. The years will pass very quickly, and you can lay the groundwork for what you want to do next in this time. You have spent all these years keeping your kids healthy and managing their needs so diligently it will take some time to adjust to the increase in their self-sufficiency and eventual departure from your home.

Have a Project

One thing to consider is what to shift your focus to. Maybe you want to really concentrate on your career now, or maybe you want to train for a marathon or take a trip. You could even go back to school. This is an option that might not have crossed your mind if your own kid is headed off to college, but if you’ve always wanted to finish a degree or get a new one, this is a great time to do it.

You can get matched through Going Merry scholarships and grants to help you cover the costs. In addition, student loans are available to repay after graduation. As a caveat, though, if you happen to attend classes on the same campus as your child, be sure to give them plenty of space. This is a time for them to stretch their wings and test their independence, and you don’t want to interfere with that.

Connect

If you and your child’s parent are still together, this is a great time to reconnect with one another. One of the reasons long-term marriages often end once the children grow up is that parents realize that they have been intensely focused on the kids and have grown apart in that time. You can discuss what you’d like your life to be like in the years ahead and start making an effort to participate in one another’s hobbies. This is also a great time to start reconnecting with friends you may have fallen out of regular contact with while you were focusing on the family.

Your Mindset

It can be hard to let go of your kids even when you’re looking forward to more space, free time, and some new beginnings. It’s important to try to cultivate the right mindset for this transition. Remember that this is a sign that you’ve done your job as a parent correctly. You’ve taught your child to be independent and given them the confidence to head out into the world. Remember as well that you will never stop being a parent and there will always be times when your child still needs you, even if your role is a different one. This shift to relating to one another as adults can be exciting and rewarding as well.