We obviously don’t have to tell you that watching one of your kids pack up his or her belongings and head off to varsity is difficult. It is generally so difficult, in fact, that we often forget how this big change is affecting other members of the family, like the proud new university student’s brothers and sisters!
Here’s how to help your other children cope with the new dynamics in the home and how to keep the close-knit bond intact despite the greater distance between family members.
There’s nothing worse than simply watching from the side-lines as your big bro or sis moves out of the house. Whether siblings are particularly close or not, this is sure to be an emotional time for all.
Knowing this, it is important to do your best to involve the other siblings as much as possible. Whether that includes roping them in to help pack or encouraging them to plan a going-away party, there’s plenty for them to do to keep them busy during this challenging adjustment.
Don’t Lose Focus
It is so easy to get wrapped up in ensuring that everything is perfect for the university-bound child, from sorting out their student digz to purchasing all of their everyday essentials, that the focus can shift entirely onto them, leaving the other siblings feeling isolated and alone.
While involving them as much as possible, is one way of avoiding this, it is also recommended that you make an effort to regularly do something together that doesn’t have anything to do with the impending change.
Work It Out for YOUR Family
Does your neighbour’s family Skype with their son at college every Sunday? Maybe a work colleague communicates with her teens via a Whatsapp group? Don’t try to emulate what others are doing. Instead, find out what works best for your family dynamic, and don’t force strict, regular communication times on anyone.
As long as there’s no pressure, the chances are much higher that the entire family will keep in touch without any prompting from your side.
Talk at Home
Make sure that all siblings know that they can come to you if they’re ever feeling sad about the absence of their older brother or sister. Let them know that these feelings are normal and to be expected and that they shouldn’t feel embarrassed about expressing them openly with you – you’re all likely feeling the same way, after all.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many kids have already flown the nest, times like these are always hard to deal with – for everyone involved! However, on the bright side, getting through it as a family can bring you all closer together even though some of you may be further away in the physical sense. Family forever, never apart. Maybe in distance, but never in heart…