By Jill Thompson
Losing your job can be tough, not just for you but also for your entire family. It can bring sudden changes to your routine and impact your loved ones in different ways. I remember this time when my son was 4 years old, playing at a friend’s place on a weekday afternoon. This was before everyone worked remotely, and both the mom and dad were home. My son asked why no one was at work. To our surprise, his friend casually said that her dad “got thrown out of work.” The kids continued their activity, but her dad was so shocked by her response.
Telling your kids about your job loss is never easy, but it’s an essential step in moving forward. As the story above shows, kids can interpret and explain the situation differently. Here are four tips to help you handle conversation:
- First, be honest and open with your children. Explain to them what happened and why it happened in a way that they can understand. For younger kids, you might want to use simple phrases like “Mom won’t be going back to work for a while” instead of using jargon like “laid off.
- Second, choose the right place and time for the conversation. Ensure your children aren’t busy with schoolwork or other activities so they can give you their full attention. Pick a place where everyone feels comfortable, can speak, and ask questions without distractions.
- Third, reassure your children that you are working to find a new job and taking steps to meet your family’s needs. Listen to any questions or concerns they may have and address them as best you can. Check-in with them continuously throughout your job search.
- Finally, emphasize the importance of family and how everyone has an important role to play during this difficult time. Use this as an opportunity to teach your children resilience and adaptability. Get your kids involved for example, your kids can help with chores, earn money by babysitting or cutting the lawn, or even help prepare meals for the family.
Remember, layoffs are common, and it’s important to share your experience with your children. They will take cues from you, so use this as a chance to model positivity and perseverance as you navigate this challenging time.
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