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empty nest syndrome

10 Ways You Can Cope With Empty Nest Syndrome

Empty nest syndrome is a very real thing. It can bring up old and new feelings of emotional trauma.  


Some moments in parents’ life can be quite painful and loaded with various challenging feelings. Remember the first day you dropped your child off at school? A terrible acute injury or a serious surgery? Isn’t it terrifying?


We understand how you must feel when it’s time to send your children to college. Even if you were mentally prepared for this day, most parents are unclear about how to deal with their children going off to college, despite it being an exciting phase in their lives.


Sending your child to college may be a difficult experience for parents, and some parents are anxious about that day. You might fear the effects of empty nest syndrome. 


Even if your college-bound child is now considered an adult, parents may believe that their child is not ready to leave or that they are still too young, and it is natural for parents to feel that way.


However, you should never see your child off to college with crying eyes, as this may be disheartening for them as well.

So, if you’re looking for solutions to deal with the empty nest syndrome, you’ve come to the right spot. Continue reading to find more about how to deal with the emotional turmoil that arises when your child departs for college.


So, how about we get started?

empty nest syndrome

Ways to Deal With Empty Nest Syndrome

Plan For Your Child’s Departure

If you are anxious about how you will cope with your child going away to college, you must remain well-prepared for the upcoming change. But empty nest syndrome doesn’t have to be scary! 


Just as your kid will evolve emotionally and gain much from the university experience, so will you learn as a parent. In the time leading up to your child’s departure, you may choose to pursue some new hobbies, start a new workout routine, or have a regular get-together with some of your old buddies. 


It is an excellent way to divert your time to your hobbies and needs before your child leaves for college. Likewise, it will also make the transition feel less intense when your child goes to college.


Furthermore, you must psychologically prepare yourself for your daughter or son going off to college and avoid thinking about that experience to better cope with the last-minute emptiness, anxiety, and empty nest syndrome.


While your kids are usually your focus and give a lot of positive energy in your life, you must work out how to deliver your vitality and find new ways to keep yourself occupied.


Furthermore, since you will be busy with your job schedule and commitments, you may decide to extend your office hours so that you do not experience as much of an emotional roller-coaster when your child starts college. 

empty nest syndrome

Show Some Support to Your Child

With your child heading to college, you should not feel that your child is moving away from you. Rather, moving to college means that they are about to embark on a new journey that will teach them to be self-dependent.


Just because you don’t live with them around the clock does not imply that you will not be an important part of their lives. You may even find that they now require you more than ever. They can suffer from empty nest syndrome, too!


So instead of feeling sad about it, sit your kid down before the significant move and discuss how you feel about them moving to a new place.


In addition, it is essential to let your child know that you are proud of them and the hard work it took to earn admission into their dream college but that you will miss them every day and want to be as valuable and interested in their time at college as you can.


A prominent way for parents to get involved in their kid’s college experience is by getting into the school energy.


For instance, if you want to get your kid a going-away gift, try giving them some cool merchandise such as sweatshirts, mugs, or collage photo frames. It is a wonderful way to give your child your love while also demonstrating your interest in their new life.


Furthermore, sport is a significant part of the college experience, so why not honor your child’s team spirit by attending matches as a family? 


It’s a fantastic way to share the college experience while making some unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.


Your kid going to college is a grand achievement, and giving them their favorite sports kit is a healthy way to show your support and offer them something that will always remind them of their parents. 


These are just instances of how you can remain healthily involved in your kid’s college life and exhibit that you want to be a part of their college experience.


These small souvenirs are great for dealing with your kid going to college because they give you something to look forward to – especially if you love sending gifts to your child. This is a good way to cope with empty nest syndrome.

empty nest syndrome

Don’t Be Too Harsh on Yourself

You should never be too harsh on yourself if you struggle to cope with your kid moving to college and leaving your family home. Many parents struggle with empty nest syndrome. So, to cope better, don’t feel odd or guilty if you’re melancholy or miss your child.


Although you are happy about their new life, it is normal for you to miss them and hope they remain at home with you. Also, even when you know they are safe and are making the correct choices, parents cannot help but fret about their kids.


Nevertheless, it’s essential to remember that you have raised them well and given them the life learnings required to navigate the adult world.


In the near future, you may even welcome your empty nest feeling and dive into home tasks you’ve forever wanted to try. Just remember how much joy and the growth you were experiencing at his age!


Furthermore, it is natural for your child to experience the same feeling or better during their own time at university.

empty nest syndrome

Think About the Bright Side 

Even though initially you may feel pessimistic, anxious, and worried about your children going away to college, in time, you will start to recognize the many positives that come with the significant change.


It is better to remind yourself how agreeably your child has accomplished to earn a place at college and be proud of how challenging it was for them to achieve this. 


Your child heading to college will put them in good stead for their future and advance the possibilities that will come their way. By going to a reputed university, your kid is earning the aptitudes and qualifications they require to be successful in the future, and you should always remain proud of them for that. 


Moreover, when your child goes to college, it is not just the beginning of something new and exhilarating for them but also for you. Likewise, you and your child may find this ideal opportunity to comprehend and appreciate everything you have always done for each other. 


It may help strengthen your bond and relationship with them as you might have heard this old saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder.


As a result, this could be just what your relationship requires to progress from a child-parent relationship to a friendship.

empty nest syndrome

Use the Benefits of Technology 

With the advent of the latest technology, it does not matter how far away you are from your kid. You can still interact with them as if they were with you at your place.


Furthermore, due to the technological evolutions in current years, you do not have to stress about going weeks or even months without communicating with or seeing your kid once they move to college. 


Your child will consistently be at the other end of your smartphone. So be ready for constant morning phone calls asking how to make toast, late-night video calls about working the dryer or washing machine, whether your child lives in-state, across the country, or even abroad!


So we can state that modern technology is a robust tool for connection.


Likewise, you can always use video call features such as Zoom meetings or FaceTime to keep an eye on your child while they are away, and you will feel less sad when you see their face over a video call.


Thus, if you are struggling with your child’s absence after sending them to college, you should leverage the benefits that technology offers. 


You may even find that you talk to and see your kid more while at college than when you were both living in the same house. Additionally, you will have lots to talk about since you have various experiences to share rather than experiencing every day together. 

empty nest syndrome

Plan a Family Visit 

An excellent way to cope with your child heading to college is to plan a family visit. Just because they do not live with you anymore does not imply that you have to quit spending time with your child.


While this may not be as feasible if they’re moving a considerable distance away from the university, you may be amazed at the different possibilities for visits. 


While you should not just show up on college campus during the academy year without letting your kid know, you can make plans to go visit them when their university is hosting their “family weekend” days.


It is a wonderful opportunity for you to head over to your kid’s college to spend some quality time with them while also knowing how they live in their new abode.


Seeing that they are comfortable and safe in the college atmosphere can relax your mind and make you feel better about your decision to send them away.


You’ll also be happy to know that the academic year is split into various holiday seasons, so it is only some weeks until your kid is heading home to enjoy spring break or winter vacation with you and the rest of your family members. 


Now that your kid has moved away to college, you can find new ways to spend quality together.


For instance, discover a cafe close to your child’s college campus serving the food that your kid loves, and that could be your favorite place to catch up on what you have both been up to lately.


Try not to see your kid going to university as the end of a shared experience. Rather, look at it as a possibility to begin new habits and enjoy novel adventures together. Don’t let empty nest syndrome get you down!

empty nest syndrome

Give Your Child Some Space 

While you may be apprehensive about planning family visits as soon as your kid leaves for college, you must respect their need to carve out their own path and adjust to their new surroundings.


Likewise, it is better to get used to life without your child being around every day, and you would not be able to accomplish that while you are planning trips down to your kid’s university campus every weekend.


Also, try never to suffocate your child when they head to college, as not only do they ought to understand how to manage things on their own, but you may find that this has a counterproductive impact on your relationship.


Allow your kid the room and time they require when they initially head off to college, and let them reach you when they need your help. Doing this will undoubtedly benefit and strengthen your relationship in the long run.

empty nest syndrome

Have Some Patience 

It may require some time for you to adapt to your kid being away at college, and this is expected. Be patient with yourself, and do not expect to adjust right away.


You may find yourself a bit sad in the grocery line when you no longer need to purchase your child’s favorite food, but this too shall pass.


You will get used to this feeling (and might even start to enjoy it, since now there’s a reason to celebrate with delicious foods and drinks when they visit home during vacations).

empty nest syndrome

Give Time to Other Relationships 

When you become a parent, your attention is usually divided in diverse directions at once, which can cause stress on other relationships such as your friendships or marriage.


With your child going to college, you now have the time to concentrate on these other relationships and rekindle the lost spark.


For instance, now that you do not have to cook food for your kids every evening, you can try scheduling a regular date night with your spouse and use that time for some self-care. In addition, you could also organize a monthly dinner with your old buddies you haven’t visited for a while.

empty nest syndrome

Moving Day: Suggestions For Parents  

Here are some points parents must keep in mind when the moving day is fast approaching to make things go more smoothly.


Spend some time together 


Depending on the location your child is heading for college, you might not see much of your kid after they’ve gone to study, so it is better to spend time together when you can.


Try to organize those family get-togethers and quick trips that you’ve been putting off for years so that everyone will have loving memories when the moving day finally arrives. 


However, you must also keep in mind that you should never force your child to spend time with you, even if you would want to see a bit more of them before they move. Bear in mind that your kid will likely be feeling nervous, too, so too much attention could make them fear more.


In addition, they would also want to spend as much time as possible with buddies before they head to begin a new chapter of their life. So you should remain respectful of their plans and give them the space they require.


Arm them with necessary domestic tips


Quickly sharing your tried-and-tested household suggestions will go a long way to easing your worries about how well your kid will cope with living alone. Wherever possible, provide them valuable tidbits on everything from washing clothes to cooking food so that you’ve at least given them the fundamentals of surviving without you.


Try not to meddle too much


While your intuition may be to continue supporting your kid through life’s ups and downs, their move to college should be about discovering their freedom.


From demanding that you take them grocery shopping to showing how their new washing device works, many parents are guilty of inhibiting a little too much in their child’s college move, but this can cause more harm than good. 


So it is better to give your child some time to loosen the harnesses and let them walk alone on their feet – however challenging that might be. This way, you can better prepare them to be self-reliant in life

empty nest syndrome

Final words 

It is normal to feel troubled and sad when your youth leaves for college. With so many transitions, it’s entirely understandable.


However, by this parent’s guide to coping with empty nest syndrome and not being overprotective, you will soon feel comforted and get used to your new life.


Also, your child heading to college is bittersweet, but remember this is just the beginning of their life’s new phase and keep focusing on positives, so that good things come out of this change!

Satyne Julianna Doner

Satyne Julianna Doner is currently a sophomore studying business management in sunny Tampa, Florida. A born bibliophile, she spends most of her free time curled up in a fantasy book or writing her own. When she isn't studying, reading, or writing, she is an avid equestrian and staunch supporter of rehabilitating retired racehorses. She owns one horse, named Hurricane, who keeps her grounded in all her endeavors.

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