The recent mass job layoffs in the tech industry have forced many individuals and families to figure out what to do next. If your company is laying off employees, you might wonder how to prepare and how you may be affected. If you manage to keep your job, you may face more work than before due to the lack of employees. If you lose your job, finding new employment might feel daunting and challenging in this economy.

Talking about being laid off is an especially difficult subject to bring up with your kids because they depend on you to provide. If you’ve been laid off from your job, it’s in your family’s best interest to be open with them so they can support you however you need. 

For your kids, keeping the information from them might seem like a good way to protect them. However, children can pick up on your stress, worries, and fears. It’s best to be honest with them while keeping the information age-appropriate about how life might look a little different until you can find a new job. 

Here are some more tips on how to talk to your kids about being laid off in a safe and assuring manner. 

Be Direct

When kids see you feeling stressed or anxious, and you try to cover it up with something else, they can see through it even if they don’t know exactly what it is. For example, if you say you’re on vacation from work or are taking a little break, they’ll soon notice your anxious feelings aren’t matching your relaxing words. 

However, when you’re direct and honest with your kids about being laid off, they will feel more secure in their understanding and be able to trust your words not only now but in the future. Being honest about your emotions allows kids to see you as human and learn healthy coping skills.

It’s crucial not to rely on them for emotional support, and you don’t have to go into depth about how you feel. Instead, focus on how you as a family can get through difficult times together and the practical steps you will take.

Share Age-Appropriate Details

Though it’s essential to be honest with your children regardless of their age, how you share about it will differ depending on how old they are. Teenagers can handle more information, and you can lay out your step-by-step plan for looking for a new job. You might even be surprised by some of their suggestions and ideas. Try to avoid making the talk about finances because they will inevitably worry about you not being able to provide for the family. Instead, focus on your job searching process, what adjustments will have to be made in the family, and finding the silver lining together in this situation.

For younger children, it’s best to use the appropriate terminology and simple language. You can tell them you won’t be working at the same place and let them know what you’re doing with your time now. You can compare it to a transition, which even school-age children will understand. Transitions happen when they move from kindergarten to 1st grade, change activities, or go from riding a tricycle to a bicycle. Don’t let their imagination get the better of them, but do your best to address any questions, such as “Can we still order pizza?” or “Do we have to move to a smaller house?” and reassure any fears they may have about the change. 

Teach About Long-Term Resilience

It can be hard to talk about this process with your child while dealing with your personal emotions about being laid off. However, it’s a great occasion to show your children how to stay resilient and positive during this difficult time. See it as an opportunity to teach your child valuable lessons and bring your family closer to support one another. As your kids watch you work through this with grit and perseverance, it builds their adaptability and resilience. Modeling these traits for them may help you feel more motivated and might even help you land your next job.