Preparing Your Children for Goodbyes

Goodbyes are so hard!! Saying goodbye with two babies is hard, but probably not as hard as some of you with older children. When we left, Bub was 21 months and Honey-Bear was 2 months old. On their parts, they don’t remember much about goodbyes. But no matter their ages, we want to do a good job of taking care of our children and their hearts.  Here are 4 tips for saying goodbyes with children.

4 Tips for Preparing your Children to Say Goodbye

First—Know your children

How do your children cope with goodbyes & changes? Do they cry, do they act out behaviorally, do they need comfort? It is important to know how your child handles their emotions so you can take care of their sweet hearts.

Bub is a sensitive boy. He can read emotions better than a book. As we got closer to leaving, Bub would act out when he felt our emotions escalate. So in taking care of his heart, we tried to be as calm as we could.

Second—Tell them in good time

As a one year old ‘tomorrow’ was the same as ‘next week’ or ‘next month.’ With no sense of time, we would tell him the morning of when we were going to do something. When we took down the crib to send off, we told him the morning of. He didn’t need lots of time to process his bed leaving.

If you have an older child, the morning of would not work for them. You have to know your children’s understanding of time and their need to process the emotions that come with that change.

Third—Make goodbyes meaningful & happy

Children are very emotional creatures. When they say goodbye to someone/something we can help them by making those last moments happy and short. The meaningfulness of a goodbye will depend on the person and your child. Our most meaningful goodbyes were with family and best friends.

The Sunday before we left, we had a picnic with both sides of our families. We did it at a park so all the kids could play and we were out there for hours. It was enough time that Bub got time to play with each uncle, aunt, cousin, and grandparent. And those were fun memories for him and the family.

**This part is just as much for taking care of your children as it is the family you are leaving behind!!

Fourth—Make the final goodbye short

Because children are so emotionally in tune, it’s best that the final words and hugs of a goodbye are short. Each child processes emotions differently. But one thing is sure, that after 40 goodbyes of sad, crying people any child would be exhausted!

If you have a lot of goodbyes to make, maybe schedule them out so their not all at once. If you do an event (party, dinner, etc.) wait till they are walking out the door to have the final goodbye words and hugs so it doesn’t drag on for another 10 minutes.

Do you have any tips that were helpful to your children?

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