If your children fly the nest, it can be quite an emotional time for you. They likely did not leave with angst or out of anger but simply needing to take that next step. Some parents find this period sad, some find it inspiring. At the very least, you are likely to find it some way. To feel neutral about your children taking their first tentative steps out into the world is relatively unlikely.
As you walk your halls, the home can feel a little quieter. You might not have their car parked in your driveway any longer. There is one less mouth to feed until they return to visit, and their bedroom will now be an unused space. It’s this last scenario that can prove the most interesting for parents. A new room going unused does allow for more space, and the potential for a new room. However, some aren’t too unsure as to how to begin proceeding with changes, or even if they should after a child has left home. A perfectly preserved bedroom might feel like an emotional requirement, but that can only limit you from using the home space you pay for.
To explore your options, consider the following:
Your child has likely left many childhood or adolescent belongings in their room. Have a frank discussion with them either before or after they leave regarding what should be done with them. Having them go through the list and separate items into things to take, things to save as sentimental artifacts, and those to throw away can help them divide well. Then, take the items they were happy to throw away, and consider donating them to an up cycling service such as Habitat for Humanity, as you never know how many people could profoundly benefit from their use or sale. This is much better than storing them in the attic for years to be forgotten.
Feeling Welcome & Changing Spaces
Not all families can afford to simply have unused space in their home, nor might they want to. If your children have flown the nest it’s likely they do not currently require their bedroom space, especially if they live relatively far out. Feel free to change the room, but in exchange always make sure they have a comfortable private space to sleep when they return. It might be you purchase a nice pull out sofa in the living room in exchange for converting their bedroom to a home office.
It might be you retain some of their personal artwork on the walls of the room no matter how much you change the space, in order to remember the history there. Or it might be that moving forward is your main priority, and changing the entire space completely is the most healthy option for your family. There’s nothing wrong with this either.
At the end of the day, there is no ‘correct’ thing to do when tailoring your home space after a child has left. It’s likely you’re worrying about this much more than your child is, as they have many more things to worry about than their home bedroom. As long as you remain a loving and supportive parent, you are free to conduct this new space how you wish.