What empty nesters must never say to those who left the nest

He won’t “be back for the summer” anymore.

You may have a little difficulty with your recent graduate out of the house and on his own, but at some point, you’ll need to embrace this new chapter in both of your lives.


Avoiding these questions, when you do have the honor of seeing him or her, will give you a little assistance during this transition and help develop that adult relationship with your darling offspring.

1. “Are you really wearing that?”

By the time she’s reached her 20s, your daughter has developed her own style. She probably doesn’t like your clothes either.


2. “I miss you… Can we be friends on Facebook?”

No. (And if you’ve already coaxed your daughter into being Facebook friends, don’t comment on how ‘hot’ she looks in all her photos.)


3. “Can you empty the dishwasher after you walk the dog?”

Your son didn’t visit home for the weekend to do your chores. At least say “please.”


4. “I was looking through your bookshelf when…”

When what? Why were you doing this?


5. “Do you miss home?”

Translation: “I am miserable with you gone. Any chance you’ll move back?”

{Gift Guide} The 8 Top Toys for Tots

Want a gift that the kids will play with long past Christmas morning? Here are 8 toys and games to GIVE this season, recommended by FOFs who are serious about play.


FOF Sarah Baldwin spent 20 years as an elementary school teacher before opening Bella Luna Toys in 2002, an online shop specializing in Waldorf toys. The Waldorf method emphasizes the role of imagination in learning, and the toys are designed to do the same, from modeling clay and “dress up silks” to a gorgeous wooden dollhouse fit for faeries. Sarah blogs about parenting, education and play at Moon Child.

1. Waldorf Rocker Board, $129.95
“Rocker Boards are extremely popular in Waldorf classrooms for their developmental benefits and great open-ended play value. They can ‘become’ a boat, a bridge, a slide or a cradle. They also help develop a child’s sense of balance and core strength, but kids just know they are fun!”


2. Play Silks from Sarah’s Silks, $14.50
“Large squares of colored silk were a staple in my classroom. It may not look like a ‘toy,’  but children play with them in so many ways! They become capes, headdresses, belts, skirts or a baby blanket for a favorite dolly. A blue silk can become a pond or a lake for a child’s small toys; a green silk may become a grassy meadow. The possibilities are endless!”


3. Modeling Beeswax, $21.95
“Sweet-smelling, colored beeswax makes an ideal modeling medium for children. It never dries out and is reusable. After warming up the wax in your hands, it becomes pliable and can be molded into people, animals, trees, butterflies–you name it! As it cools, it hardens, but can later be warmed up again, and molded into new forms.”


4. Twig Studio Wooden Doll House, $299.95
“With multiple levels and a variety of charming details, it makes a home for a dollhouse family, or a hideaway for gnomes, fairies and wooden animals. It also comes in a smaller version.”



FOF Mara Kaplan is a mom and an advocate for children with special needs.  Her consulting company, Let Kids Play, makes sure playgrounds and toys are accessible and fun for all kids. You can find more recommendations on her blog, LetKidsPlay.

5. Tegu Blocks, $110 and up
“These beautifully-made wooden blocks have magnets in them, making it easier for a child to build without knocking the blocks down accidentally. Perfect for children working on fine motor skills. Plus, Tegu donates a portion of their proceeds to plant trees in Honduras or fund a day of school for a child in Tegucigalpa.”


6. Green Toys’ Sandwich Shop or Pizza Maker, $22.04
“Sandwich Shop and Pizza Maker are the newest additions to Green Toys’ eco-friendly line. Each toy comes with over 15 realistic pieces, made in the USA from food-safe, 100-percent recycled plastic milk containers. While serving you lunch, your child is working on writing, memory, speech, and many other cognitive skills.”


7. Brain Noodles, $14
“Brain Noodles are fluffy, fiber stems that resemble jumbo pipe cleaners. They bend and twist anyway you want, are easy to hold and manipulate, and provide a unique sensory feel which many children love. Your child can make simple or complex sculptures without making a huge mess.”


8. Rubbabu Toys, $11.95 and up
“Rubbabu makes vehicles, balls, shapes and blocks that children can easily grip and catch. All made from 100-percent biodegradable, all-natural rubber. They also bounce! Perfect for improving motor skills and hand-eye coordination.”

Enter to win a Waldorf Rocker Board by leaving a comment below.

One FOF will win.
(See all our past winners, here.)
(See official rules, here.)
Contest closes December 18, 2011 at midnight E.S.T.