Combat Empty Nest Syndrome Before it Happens

Waving your kids off to college is undoubtedly a bittersweet moment. You’re proud that your children are on their way to adulthood. Nevertheless, you’re saddened by the fact that they’ll soon be off in a dorm room with strangers rather than home in their beds.

Even though the moment isn’t here yet and you’re trying to soak up every second available with your children, it’s important to plan for what is to come rather than simply ignoring it. Your kids will be in college soon. Therefore, now is the time to develop a plan to help you cope with the sadness of the separation.

Try these techniques to help you prepare yourself for an empty nest:

1. Look forward to enjoying your new found freedom. While your kids are enjoying their freedom away at college, you too can rejoice in your newfound freedom away from the kids and their limiting schedules.

  • You’ll be able to host dinner parties on weeknights, lounge around with your spouse without sharing the TV, take vacations during the school year, join clubs or become more active in your church community.
  • This is the time to rediscover your interests. For so long, you’ve put your wants on the backburner. But now, you can fully explore your interests and find a hobby that helps you feel needed, appreciated, and offers gratification.

2. Reconnect with your spouse. After raising the children for so many years, living alone with your spouse is something that may feel new to you again. Now is the moment to feel like newlyweds! Reconnect with one another on a deeper level than you have in the last twenty years or so.

  • Every night is date night! Make something special for dinner a few times each week and then go out on the town on the weekends.
  • Take the time to enjoy this milestone in your relationship. You’ve raised wonderful children together; you’ve succeeded as parents and have held a successful marriage. You’re living the American dream – have a toast to your success!

3. Plan a home improvement project. Properly planning a home improvement project takes time. Therefore, use the few months ahead while the kids are still at home to redo their bedroom once they’re off in college.

  • Turning their bedroom into a gym may be too much of a change. So, take baby steps. Turn their bedroom into a guest bedroom. By doing so, you can comfortably accommodate both your adult children and guests.
  • Add a home office area to the bedroom so your kids can have a place to study when they come home on breaks. In addition, a simple armchair for reading, fresh paint, new linens and accessories will make for a hotel-like retreat that guests can appreciate.
  • Generally, most teens won’t feel as if they’re being slighted when their childhood bedroom is given a makeover. If anything, they’ll feel better knowing that their parents are just as excited about the change.

In addition to all of the tips outlined above, plan ways to connect with your children while they’re in college. Plan to send care packages, have weekly video chats, monthly visits, and holidays together. However, refrain from saying: “Call us every night” as this will likely cause your child to feel guilty when unable to call.

It’s vital to remember that this is uncharted territory for everyone involved; it’s certainly a mixed bag of emotions. All you can do is to try your best to look at the bright side and all of the benefits involved for your youngster. You aren’t losing a child; you’re gaining a college graduate!

Great Vacation Options That Won’t Leave You Broke

As the old saying goes, “All work and no play make Jack and Jill a dull boy and girl.” And that’s exactly why it’s crucial to ensure vacation is an important part of your annual rituals. Spending the whole year at work or school can really take its toll if you don’t have the opportunity to relax and enjoy a little of what life has to offer.

The issue that faces many families, however, is that vacationing often times works out to be quite pricey. As such, we choose to spend money on more immediate needs and activities than on vacation. However, you should feel reassured by knowing that there are actually quite affordable ways to take vacations that definitely won’t leave you broke at the end of the day.

Consider these affordable vacation options:

1. Take a camping vacation. One of the most cost-effective ways to vacation is to go camping. Especially for people with kids, this is a perfect way to strengthen the bond as a family and have fun all at the same time. Remember that kids love outdoor spaces, so as long as you can take them to a safe campsite, you can leave the rest up to them. Enjoyment awaits!

2. Add a hiking element. To add even more adventure and fun to a camping vacation, you could perhaps choose a camp location that offers hiking opportunities. There’s just so much excitement and adventure a hiking trip can bring, not to mention the exercise value that comes with it! You’ll burn some serious calories during a hike.

3. Choose a countryside cottage or farmhouse. Who says you have to stay at a five-star resort in order to enjoy a vacation? There are several rural and countryside options available for people interested in vacationing on a budget. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find:

  • Wonderful farmhouses or cottages nearby that are tailored to families looking for a vacation with a difference
  • A self-contained vacation opportunity that allows you to pack up your own food items and head off out of town
  • The perfect chance to enjoy the rest and relaxation of a good vacation

4. Visit amusement parks. Any child you ask will tell you that being able to visit an amusement park would completely make their vacation experience worthwhile. Many parents, however, avoid that option because they feel it would be quite expensive. However, nothing could be further from the truth! You can find:

  • Affordable hotels and motels with self-contained amenities like kitchens surrounding most of the popular amusement parks.
  • Accommodation options that provide a great opportunity for you to pack your food items and head off on your amusement park vacation without worrying about “breaking the bank.”

These are just a few of the ways you can take your family on vacation without overspending. Utilizing online resources as well as magazines and information from travel agents can help you identify other affordable options. The imagination you put into planning a vacation can make the normally expensive choices manageable by the standards of your pocket.

There comes a time when our bodies and minds need a crucial break from day-to-day activities. The best way to achieve that break would be to go on vacation. However, the idea is to identify vacation options that won’t be financially strenuous.

Once you identify such vacations, you’ll be able to exhale in the comfort and relaxation of your vacation destination without worrying about how your bills will get paid when you get back.