Moving can be a big challenge for children but it can also be an adventure. By helping your child through this experience with knowledge and patience, the transition can be made easier on not only your kids but you too.
The home you are moving from may be the only one your child has ever known so moving can be especially troubling for children, because of loss of familiarity, not only of their home, but everything around it: neighbourhood, 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, their own room, exploring the new area or meeting new friends.
Easing Kids Concerns
Familiarise 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 suburb. Or take lots of pictures or video to show your child to help them feel more comfortable with their future surroundings.
Contact the local council to get pamphlets on the area you are moving to. Then sit down with your family and get a feel for the new suburb.
Before you move, try to connect your child with a friend that may already live in the new spot so your child will have someone to interact with and learn the great things about the area.
If you’re changing their schools, 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
Get them involved and have them pack some of their favourite things 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 them pick a new paint colour or a bed set.
Create Continuity for Your Child
Ask your children what some of the favourite things are in their life are now and make some those things happen at the new place or start some new traditions.
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 them to look back on.
Help your child make an address book with their friend’s contact details 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 and have a happy family.