Top tips for when you're home alone
•Prepare yourself by making plans, treats for the week after your child leaves, weekends away and long-term projects.
•Face your feelings. Have a good cry, go through the family albums and talk to someone you can rely on to be sympathetic, who won't just tell you to cheer up.
•Allow yourself time to adjust to the notion of not being needed on a daily basis. It's fine to cling on to comforting routines for a while at least. Find new things to nurture -- but don't get a dog just yet.
•Don't expect to speak on the phone every day.
If they only ring when they want something, be positive; see it as a good excuse to talk about other things.
•If you're married or with a partner, don't wait until the nest empties completely to discuss plans for the future and doing more together.
•When your child comes home, acknowledge that the relationship is now on a different footing. Be flexible.
You can no longer expect them to say where they're going or when they'll be home.
The Empty Nest, How to Survive and Stay Close to Your Adult Child by Celia Dodd is published by Piatkus