It's hard to know how best to prepare for the empty nest because you really have no idea how it's going to hit you. You might end up driving back down the motorway with tears streaming down your face, or you might just feel it's all...well... OK.
But you can start preparing now by thinking creatively about what your new life will be like and the different ways you might adjust to a new routine. You can prepare your child too. They'll be much happier if they know the basics of looking after themselves.
However, the main thing now is to shift your focus away from your child and back on to you. To explore what you really like doing, and discover what truly fulfils you.
- Think about the times you're likely to miss your child the most, and make a plan to fill the gap: listen to a podcast, phone a friend, meet someone.
- Make a list of stuff you know will cheer you up when you're down
- Plan treats for the week after they've left - the more self-indulgent the better
- Look into courses that interest you.
- Sit down with your partner and make a list of stuff you'd like to do together over the next year. Don't think 'He/she wouldn't like line dancing/birdwatching/ going to the footie. You might be surprised.
- Book a fabulous holiday and weekends away
- Read about how other parents coped and the mistakes we made in The Empty Nest: how to survive and stay close to your adult child