Explaining a Layoff to your Child or Children

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Determine when your child needs to know. If you are married; you and your spouse will need to discuss the situation first. A good rule of thumb is to tell your child within a couple of days.

Prior to the meeting make a list of the changes that will be made around the household. For example you may you will be responsible for taking them to work instead of your spouse. The purchasing of groceries and a weekly allowance may be decreased or cut out of the weekly budget.

You can start the meeting by advising to your child(ren) they will get a chance to spend more time with you than before. They will usually ask “why”; depending upon their age 0-2. It’s probably not a big deal for them.

Ages over 7: You should provide them with information concerning the layoffs. They are of age in which other kids parents have also been laid off at their school. You can advise them of the basics such as you were laid off due the economy and there will be a few minor changes for the family because of it.

Younger children may take it easier than older ones. There may be concerns about living in the house or having enough food. Children old enough to work may ask if they can get a job to help out the family. This is a decision that will need to be made by you and your spouse. It’s good for children to work and understand the value of budgeting money for their needs. However, they should not be made to feel like their income is required for basic living.

Be honest with your children. Let them know that for now everything will stay the same for right now and if there is going to be a major change, you’ll tell them. If you have a possibly lose your house but have not gotten the foreclosure notices do not bring it up.

*  Try not to provide too much information initially.

*  Allow them to feel comfortable with asking questions.

*  It’s okay to respond that you do not know the answer.

*  Reassure them that things will be alright.

*  End with a prayer. Encourage them to pray that you get another job if they are worried.

*  Take time to answer all of their questions

*  Some children will panic more others.

*  Do not get frustrated.

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