9 Ways to Help Your Family during Unemployment
Contributed By Tracy Allen, Welfare Services
- 1. Counsel together.
- 2. Stay involved.
- 3. Don’t let it define your family.
- 4. Make prayer and scripture study a priority.
- 5. Keep a similar routine.
- 6. Network everywhere.
- 7. Include your children in your job search.
- 8. Seek happiness.
- 9. Express gratitude.
Unemployment affects every member of a family. As a mom or dad you might think that you should work through your job search alone, when in reality, your family is an amazing and necessary source of support and encouragement.
You might struggle to know when to include your children and how much to tell them. You might wonder how you can include them in your job search and still help them feel secure.
Here are a few ideas to help:
1. Counsel together.
Searching for employment is often difficult, but it can also be an opportunity to band together as a family. Gather together and discuss the financial, emotional, and spiritual impact of the job search. Make a plan together of how you will move forward and how each individual can contribute. Older children often benefit from understanding the impact employment has on family life.
2. Stay involved.
During unemployment, you might be tempted to avoid social situations. However, isolation can foster feelings of shame, depression, and unworthiness. Stay involved in your ward and social circles. You will likely decide to scale back any expensive hobbies or habits, but maintain as much of your daily life as possible. Make an effort to have regular family activities. It might just be playing in the park or pulling out board games, but spending time together will mean a lot to you and your children.
3. Don’t let it define your family.
Remember that you are so much more than a family that is dealing with unemployment. Help your children see that challenges happen to everyone and that unemployment is nothing to be embarrassed about. Trials are a part of life, and as Elder Jeffrey R. Holland testified, “Bad days come to an end, … faith always triumphs, and … heavenly promises are always kept” (“Lessons from Liberty Jail,” Ensign, Sept. 2009). Teach them through your own example and by emphasizing their divine worth and unique talents.
4. Make prayer and scripture study a priority.
One of the best ways to unite as a family and find peace is through daily family prayer and scripture study. No matter how chaotic life becomes, make this practice a priority. It will be a source of revelation as you make important decisions about the future. Also, don’t forget family fasts and temple trips to invite the Spirit and additional blessings.
5. Keep a similar routine.
Job seekers often have more unstructured time on their hands. Rather than allowing your schedule to change drastically, maintain similar hours. Get up at the same time, get dressed for the workday, and begin your job search at the time you would normally leave for work. These things are not only a great way to find new employment faster, but they also help the entire family maintain a feeling of normalcy.
6. Network everywhere.
Don’t forget that spouses and children have networks too. Even if a spouse doesn’t work in your field, he or she might be connected to individuals who are. Share your job search with parents, teachers, and coaches at your children’s school and extracurricular events. You might be surprised what leads you find.
7. Include your children in your job search.
Let your children help your job search in whatever way they can. You might organize a family home evening activity where your family identifies your strengths and accomplishments or helps you practice for an interview by asking common interview questions. Not only will this help you prepare to be successful in your job search, but it also exposes your children to what is required when applying for a job.
8. Seek happiness.
Having fun allows you to release stress and find joy in the moment. It is a time when your family can focus on something other than the job search and can help everyone stay positive. You know what your family enjoys. Seek out ways to bring some fun into your home.
9. Express gratitude.
Unemployment can be a scary time, both for parents and children. Even when it may not feel like it, the Lord is taking care of your family and will bless you throughout your job search. Look for the hand of the Lord in your life and make recognizing and sharing the tender mercies of the Lord a regular practice in your home.