Home Life: Telling Your Children You Lost Your Job

If you are thinking about telling your children you lost your job and wondering how this news will affect your home life, you can make it easier by taking the following steps.

Be Calm

Once the initial shock of being unemployed has worn off, you need to prepare yourself to discuss what has happened with your kids. You should wait long enough to be able to talk to your children about the situation calmly. Discussing the matter too soon after it happens could be too emotional for you, and could upset your kids more than they would otherwise be. Waiting too long to talk about losing your job will leave your kids speculating about what is wrong, possibly causing them to jump to unwarranted conclusions.

Do not to tell them before school or dinner, in case it really upsets them. The ideal time to tell them would be on a Friday evening after dinner, since this will give them plenty of time to get used to the idea before they go back to school on Monday.

Be Honest

When you talk to your kids about losing your job, be honest. Explain what happened as simply as possible. So if you were laid off, tell the kids that your boss wasn’t making as much money as before and couldn’t afford to keep you. Make sure you discuss it at level that your kids will understand based on how old they are.

For very young children, it may be enough to say that Mommy doesn’t have to go to work for awhile. Older children will understand more and will probably want a more detailed explanation about what happened.

Answer Questions

When you tell your kids the news, they will probably have a lot of questions about money and finances. Answer their questions to the best of your ability. So if they want to know how the family is going to pay the bills, you can explain your plan. Maybe you have set aside an emergency fund; maybe you will be collecting unemployment; maybe you are going to get a loan. Whatever your solution is, share it with them. Doing so will help comfort them and let them know that you have the situation under control.

Let them know that you will be doing things like cutting down on eating out and buying only the essential necessities, and see if they have any suggestions as to how they can contribute, like turning out the lights when they leave a room, taking shorter showers, cutting out chips and cookies, etc. Even if you have to go to drastic measures like selling your house in order to make ends meet, be sure to tell the kids, so they can prepare themselves for the changes ahead.