Typically, someone suffering from empty nest syndrome is a mother sending her youngest child off to college, but associate professor Keith Herman at the University of Missouri said they’re not alone anymore. The empty nest for some comes much sooner when their child starts kindergarten.

"When it’s taking most of your thought during the day, when it’s hard to do anything else but think about your child being in school, when you know it’s disrupting your sleep for periods on end," Herman said.

Above all else, both sending a child to college and sending one to kindergarten are normal parts of life, he said.

"They’re both important developmental transitions that everyone goes through and I think that’s a part of coping with it that a lot of parents learn is just to remind themselves that everyone goes through these experiences and everyone survives them," Herman said.

Parents having a hard time with empty nest could find a hobby or social group to fill the time while the child is at school.

 "I think the key thing is to find something else to fill your time that is meaningful and interesting to you," he said.

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