The time is finally here. Your kids have all figured out when they’re going to move out. You may be counting down the days… or you may be dreading any mention of the moment you’re going to become an empty nester. Maybe a bit of both.

This is a big transition for a lot of parents and a lot of couples, and can often bring up conflicting and confusing emotions. Before your kids move out, prepare yourself and your family for what’s ahead:

Make self-care a priority.

You’ve been dedicating your whole life to your children for years, and that often means putting yourself and your care as a lower priority. Your kids will be taking care of themselves (for the most part), so now it’s time to take care of you.

Make plans to go to the spa once your kids are finished moving out, and find some old hobbies or fun projects to get back to. You deserve this time to yourself (and don’t forget to tell yourself that!).

Get social.

One of the biggest problems that parents face as empty nesters is the feeling of loneliness around the house. The best fix? Find people to hang out with!

Make plans with some old friends or block out some date nights with your spouse. You’ll be having so much fun, you’ll keep your mind off of your empty nest at home. Start the process of connecting – or reconnecting – before the kids move out to make the transition go more smoothly.

Get out.

Enjoy your new freedom. Take a fun vacation or start volunteering on the weekends. Anything that keeps you busy will make this transition easier.

A new hobby or class that gets you out of the house will cover all the ways to cope with empty nest syndrome: you’re doing something for yourself, meeting new people, and getting your mind off your kids being out on their own. Again, to the extent possible, try to start this process before the kids are completely gone.

Communicate about your feelings.

This is a weird time for a lot of parents. In an effort to hold onto your children for the little bit of time you have with them in the house, you may develop some strange behaviors or feelings.

Talk through your feelings with your children. They are mature enough that they can help you through your emotions and reassure you that you are loved and don’t have to feel lonely.

Remember to involve your spouse in your conversations as well. After all, that’s who you’re going to be stuck with once your kids move out!

Your spouse will not know that you’re nervous about your kids moving out (not for sure) unless you tell them. You won’t know what your spouse’s plans are for your empty nest until they tell you. Before your kids move out, talk to your spouse about how you’re preparing for an empty nest.

This is truly a wonderful time in your life. You have more freedom and more time to focus on your relationship with yourself, your friends, and your spouse. For more coaching on how to navigate through an empty nest, talk to a Houston marriage coach today.