These are hard financial times we are living in, and unfortunately foreclosures are rampant and families are being forced to downsize. If you find yourself with a foreclosure notice on your doorstep, the best thing to do is try and remain as calm as possible, at least in front of your kids.
As much as you might feel the need to unravel, you can’t. It is time to figure out game plan B and C if you haven’t already. If you know you don’t have the money, call the bank one more time to try and negotiate something. If that doesn’t work and they won’t budge then think about your immediate needs.
Do you have siblings or parents or friends you can stay with for a little while?
If so, go and talk to them in person and explain your situation. Asking people for help is not easy, however, making sure your family has any roof over their head is the priority.
In the meantime, what are you going to tell your kids? If they are little, then there is no need for a lengthy conversation. But if they are old enough to know something isn’t right, you owe it to them to say something. This doesn’t have to be an entirely negative experience. Take on the perspective that you will be a stronger family if you can explain foreclosure to your kids, and learn how to manage money more effectively together.
Change Can Be An Adventure
There is no “right” way to tell your child about the situation but you know them the best, and this is where your instinct comes in. You probably should spare them all the gory details and specifics about your bank account amount. Maybe you could explain that you want your family to lead the best life possible but to do that, some things have to change along the way for a little while.
Tell them that change is good and moving will be an adventure. Tell them that to keep track of the experience you guys will turn it into a fun book where you write about it and take selfies. Get them involved in packing and taking pictures of the experience as part of their book adventure. Make it fun!
More Quality Time
During a big life change, they need you more than ever. In the midst of figuring out how you will save your family, you might not be in the mood for a walk or picnic in the park with your child, but they probably need it. The more one-on-one time you spend, it will allow you to listen and see how they are feeling about everything. This is especially important if you’re leaving behind a home they’ve been in for a while, that they’re attached to.
Teach Kids About Finances
Once you find somewhere to stay, whether it’s with a relative or in a small apartment, have a family meeting about the things you are all going to do differently.
Everyone can learn from fiscal mistakes and now is the time to create financial goals. And eventually, when you get a handle on it, teach your kids about money and debt. Talk to them about the importance of saving even if it’s a little amount at a time. It will make all the difference.