5 Ways to Ensure Your Kids Want to Visit Your Empty Nest

Do you find yourself mentally stuck somewhere between “full time mom” and “advisor” to your adult children? Transitioning from a house full of kids and 24/7 parenting, to an Empty Nest and advisor role can be tricky. Let’s face it, like the early stages of parenting, there’s not a manual for this stage either!

I know the transition is hard, but you don’t want to waste too much time feeling sad and lonely about your kids being gone, at least not to the point where it prevents you from living.

You want to spend time on things that bring you joy because when you feel joy your kids see it and want to spend time with you! You really love spending time with your adult kids and want to be their sounding board, vacation companion and their cheerleader.

No matter where your kids live, I know you want them to feel like your house is their home so they will come home and visit. This is a great new stage of your relationship so let’s look at 5 ways you can ensure your kids want to visit your Empty Nest!

{Illustration by Julius Goyanko for The Washington Post}

{Illustration by Julius Goyanko for The Washington Post}

1. Have a bedroom space they can use. This doesn’t mean you need to keep their room as it was when they were living at home, but if you have a guest room that can double as their space when they come over, they are more likely to stay. Having a private space they can use when sleeping over will go a long way toward treating them like the adults they are.

2. Plan interesting events and activities to do together. Sharing common interests with your kids, like you do with your friends, is a great way to entice them to come home. Grab tickets to a favorite concert, host a game night with your kids and their/your friends, host a wine tasting, go to a comedy club or paint night. The possibilities are endless! Maybe one month they pick the activity and you pick the next month so experience new things together. Then plan to meet at your house before heading out and/or invite them to stay the night after your evening out.

3. Have a space they can use with friends. I know you want to spend time connecting with them, but if you have a space their friends can also visit with them, it may make your home an appealing meeting spot. As they get older you may enjoy hanging out with them and their friends for a while. As the weather gets nice, consider dressing up your outdoor spaces so they want to spend time there.

4. Cook their favorite meal or plan a night of cooking together. Whether you all love food and cooking or your kids are just learning to cook for themselves, sharing a meal you prepare together can be a great night. Try new recipes, favorite cuisines or old family favorites that make them think of HOME! Dinner together around your kitchen table can still be a great way to spend time with your kids. 

5. Take care of yourself so you have the mental and physical energy to engage with them. This is similar to putting the oxygen mask on yourself first on a plane - you need to be stable to have a good relationship with your kiddos! Do what you can to maintain good outlook on life, practice gratitude, fulfill your life and interests outside of the kids so you are happy and engaging when you’re with your kids. You still have a lot to teach them about life — do it by example! This includes working out your body - maybe in a new home gym? This may also include meditating, journaling or listening to inspirational podcasts to work out your mind.

Isn’t it great to think about the ways your home can build your relationships with your adult children? Of course the main reason your kids will want to visit you is to spend time with YOU, but why not put a little extra effort into ensuring they feel at home in your house — as long as they (and their stuff) don’t stay too long!

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