Helping Kids Move - Easing the Transition
Although relocating can be one of life's challenges, it can also be an adventure. By guiding your child through this experience with knowledge and patience, the transition can be greatly eased.
The home you are moving from may be the only one your child has ever known. Moving can be especially troubling for children, because of loss of familiarity, not only of their home, but everything around it: neighborhood, friends, parks and schools. A lot of distress can be avoided if parents understand and address their child's concerns and needs.
Kids Concerns about Moving
What are your kids concerned about?
- Preschool children tend to worry about being left behind or separated from their parents.
- Youngsters aged 6 to 12 can be concerned with how their daily routines will be affected.
- Teenagers are concerned primarily with fitting in and having their social life disrupted.
Most kids will have lots of questions - answer them in a positive way and be understanding of the fears your kids are facing. Focus on things for them to look forward to, like a first snow, their own room, exploring the new area or meeting new friends.
Easing Kids Concerns
Familiarize Your Kids with the New Place
Let your child know what the new house will be like. If possible, take them on a visit of the new home and neighborhood. Or take lots of pictures or videotape to show your child to help them feel more comfortable with their future surroundings.
Contact the local Chamber of Commerce to get pamphlets on the area you are moving to. Then sit down with your family and get a feel for the new area.
Before you move, try to connect your child with a pen pal in the new location so your child will have someone to interact with and learn about the area.
Get information on the schools and childcare in the new area. If you can, visit the school with your child and meet some of the teachers.
Involve Your Child in the Moving Process
Involve your child in the moving process. Have them pack some of their favorite belongings in a special box. Younger children can decorate the box however they like. Be sure to keep this special box close at hand during the move so you child has a comforting sense of the familiar.
Make plans with your child on how to decorate his or her new room. This could also be a great time for change: maybe let your child pick a new paint color or a bed set.
Create Continuity for Your Child
Ask your children what some of the favorite things are in their life are now and make some those things happen at the new place.
Leaving friends behind may be one of the harder things your child has to do. Throw a going-away party with their friends, take lots of pictures and create a scrapbook for your child to look back on.
Help your child make an address book with their friendís addresses and give them a stationary set or prestamped cards so they can stay in touch.
Just think, when you relieve the stress your children are feeling, you reduce your own stress and are able to focus more on other aspects of your move.