Moving might be one of the hardest things family have to go through at some point in their lives. As hard as it can be for adults, it might be even harder, and take longer, for children to adjust to change. Especially if they don’t understand why they must move. In this article, we make a few points that can help you prepare your kids for an imminent move.
Discuss the move with kids and keep them involved
For families that have gone through major life changes like losing a loved one or divorce, parents might find it helpful to postpone the move. However, in many cases, moving is the last option.
Whatever the conditions that are necessitating your move, keep a positive attitude about it. Consider the changes your kids will have to go through; and create a good environment to talk to them about the move.
Give them as much information as you can. Answer their questions openly and truthfully. Anticipate both negative and positive reactions and be prepared to deal with them. Inform them about some changes that they might have to go through, like sharing rooms or getting their own rooms… Tell them about the arrangements that will be made for them to participate in their favorite activities.
Keep them involved in the process as much as possible. You can let them participate in house hunting or the search for new school. You also can take them to explore the new neighborhood, or visit the new house/apartment (or show them progress if it’s being built). This will make the move seem less forced on them.
Keep their age in mind
The challenge of discussing the move with your kids may be different depending on their ages.
For kids younger than 6, it can be easy for them to move as they don’t fully understand the changes involved in moving and they adjust faster. It is still important to help them transition during the move. Try to hold off any additional changes like training toddlers for toilet or advancing them from crib to bed.
For kids old enough to be in school, there may a lot more to consider. They might need to change schools, make new friends and adjust to the new neighborhood.
To avoid any unnecessary drama, try to consider which is the right time to move for your kids. Some parents may find it better to move during summer because it will not disrupt the school year. Others may find it helpful to move in the middle of the year because the child meets other kids faster and makes friends.
Teens might even be more difficult to approach with the idea of moving. They might rebel against the move. The move might cost them their social activities, their friends, long waited events like prom…
It is important to let them know that you want to know their concerns and that you understand and respect them. Try to make adjustments for them to return to visit if possible. Also, you can promise them to return for their events only if possible.
Help them to see that this move might prepare them for bigger changes in the future like going to college or new jobs.
Here is what you can do for helping child cope with moving:
- Give them as much information about the move as you can and do it as soon as you can.
- Keep your explanations clear and simple.
- Be prepared for both negative and positive reaction.
- Keep them involved in the process.
- Keep their interest like sports and social activities in mind.
- Give them moral support during the transition.
- Let them know that you understand their concerns and that you’re there for them.
After the move, try to keep changes minimal if you can. You can try to maintain regular meals and bed time. Be realistic about the transition.
Even though the move might present some challenges, sometimes good things come from such changes. Families grow closer and learn a lot from each other by going through it together.