Whether your adult child plans to attend the Semester at Sea (SAS) or join the U.S. Navy, preparing for their first time at sea can prove challenging. As a parent, you’ve likely become accustomed to your daughter or son being a phone call away. You’ve resided in the same home for 17 or 18 years, so seeing them often has become ubiquitous. Now, their education or career will take them away to sea for more than three months.

Following the advice of those who went through the same situation before you can help you prepare for this separation. In this article, we’ll explore how to help your adult progeny make the most of their trip and how you can make it more enjoyable for yourself. Let’s explore handling the separation first.

No Parent Is an Island

Most parents in the U.S. devote a significant portion of their lives to helping their offspring thrive. That means hours of helping with homework, meal preparation, doctor’s appointments, and driving them to and fro to after-school activities, such as sports and chorus practices. Once your child embarks on their first time at sea, you will likely experience a vast amount of free time that you’ll need to fill productively and positively. Find an interest like photography or cooking that you adore and take a class or join a weekly meeting group that celebrates it. If you like shopping, you’ll have much more free time to do so.

Enjoy Some Travel of Your Own

A few months at sea might mean that your offspring must miss an important birthday or family holiday. Try celebrating near where they’re docked or traveling. You provide yourself a vacation and show your son or daughter how much they mean to you. Understand that you’ll be largely on your own because they will probably only get an afternoon off to spend with you.

Do Some Joint Financial Planning Before They Embark

If your adult child joined the Navy or took a job on a civilian seafaring ship, help them maximize their earnings. A business owner can contribute up to 25% of each employee’s compensation to a SEP IRA, and an employee can contribute a percentage of their pay to the same retirement account. Help your offspring explore the savings and investment options open to them by shopping around for a certified financial planner who can help them make the most out of their earnings.

Review the Laws of Their Intended Destinations

A young adult from Tennessee likely knows that a person could incur a sentence of between one and 60 years for felony drug possession or possession with intent to sell or distribute in their home state. During their port stops, the laws of the country they’re visiting apply. If your daughter or son knows where they will visit, review that country’s laws with them and how to contact and visit the consulate in each location.

Explore Career Options After the Navy

Depending on their assignment, a job in the Navy or a college semester at sea can provide a firm foundation for a future career. Most coastal states offer a vibrant marine industry with many career options. For example, in Maine, the aquaculture workforce comprises many positions, including farm hands, which comprise 49% of its workforce, and management positions at 18%, according to Workforce Strategy. Help your offspring explore their options so they can plan for what happens after they finish their tour of duty or degree.

Prepare for Your Young Adult’s Seafaring Adventure

By assisting them in planning for a successful oceanic voyage, you parent by helping prepare them for life after sea. While they’re gone, use the time for self-development, devoting your free time to making the most of your own skills or interests. Meet new people and engage in new activities. Take time for a vacation abroad where your offspring can join you for at least a day.