Should You Tell Young Kids About a Job Loss?


Last Fall when Husband was laid off, one of my primary goals was to “protect” the kids. I didn’t want them exposed to the stress and fear we were feeling or the safety of their family shaken. At two and four years old, they can’t quite grasp what a job loss means, so why bring it up?

So, we didn’t really say anything. Husband left most days to “work” on his job hunt at the library. And when they asked where Daddy was (as they tend to do throughout the day anyway), I’d simply say, “He’s working.” While I think they appreciated that he was indeed around the house more and helped out with them when I needed to run out, they never said, “Why is Daddy home more?”

When he was fortunate (very) to land a job after a couple months, I wondered what to tell them. I feared transition issues when Daddy stopped being home. Especially after the oodles of hours we spent together over the holidays.

One day I mentioned this to Great Grandma over the phone. “Why tell them anything?!” she exclaimed, with her particular flair for sharing crisp Jewish wisdom. “They don’t need to know he’s going back to work. He’s going to work, like any other day. That’s what you say.”

So, the transition from a job and back to a job went by for the children with little fanfare. The transition issues I feared never came to pass. Probably because we didn’t make a big deal of it and the January back to school routine was a good starting point for a new job, too.

The truth is young kids probably won’t get a “layoff” so why bother them about it?

(Although Son did manage a stray comment this week when I responded that Daddy would be home after dinner. “Oh, is that because he started a new job?” Yeah.

Read my full tale of Husband’s job loss.

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