When families move, it’s the kids that can take it the hardest. Children need stability but sometimes life simply demands a move. This can throw a child’s world into confusion and be emotionally unsettling for them.
In this article, we will go over some ways that you can help your child cope with an impending move.
Tell Them as Early as Possible
It may be tempting to take the stance of “we’ll cross that bridge when we get there” as a parent but when it comes to moving, that may not be the best motto. Giving your kids enough time to process the transition gives them the best shot at coping in a healthy way.
Highlight Positive Aspects of your New Area
When facing a move it can be very helpful for a child to transition if they are sold on the new area they will be living in. Before you begin the moving process, take some time to bring your child to the new city.
Find out what fun things there are for kids to do and take your kid to go do them. Speaking positively about the new area consistently will help your child’s mind equate the move with something positive and exciting.
Explain the Move
This can be crucial for children under the age of five who may misunderstand the process of moving. Explain to them that their belongings and treasured items are not being thrown away but moved to a new place.
Be sure to explain that no one is being separated too and that the entire family is moving together. If you can, show them pictures of the new house so that they have something tangible to latch onto. This will give them more security and help the transit makes more sense.
Color the Move as a New Opportunity
Moves are especially hard for teenagers who are already struggling with finding their identity. Moving away from friends they’ve made and roles they have established can be very jarring. Try to ease their anxiety by presenting the move as an opportunity.
You can paint it as an opportunity to reinvent themselves, make even more friends or gain valuable experience and perspective by living in a new city. Sell them on new cultural experiences and lifestyles. If your teens have been struggling socially or academically, let them know that a move is an opportunity for a fresh start.
Involving your kids in the move will make them feel like they are contributing which can spur positive feelings. Let them help with packing before the moving company arrives and field all of their questions and concerns. Maybe even allow them to have a going away party with their friends and family.
Help to Maintain Ties
If possible, help your children maintain ties with their old community and friends. Let them visit every so often. Be sure they know before the move that they can visit from time to time. Explain to them the many ways (phone, text, email, video chatting) they can keep in touch with their old friends even if they are far away.
Moves are always a stressful time. Both children and adults alike can be nervous about heading into a new situation as no one likes breaking their comforting routine. Hopefully, with these tips, you can make the move that much easier and let your children know this is an exciting time.