Keep kids’ feelings in mind about relocation
An article written by Tilda Moore
As stressful as relocating can be for adults, the process can be even more daunting for the children involved, as they may not fully understand or agree with the decision to make such a change. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of how they are adjusting during this time of transition.
Below are a few tips on how to make moving easier for your children, brought to you by the All Saints Youth Project.
● Take care of everything beforehand: Before discussing the move with your children, make sure you’ve taken care of everything associated with finding your new home. This includes determining how much you can afford to spend, finding your new house, and making sure everything is finalized with the purchase.
● Talk to your kids about the move: If possible, prepare your children for the move in advance so that they do not feel blindsided. Let them know when and why the move is happening and answer any questions. Talk to them about where your family is going and come prepared with information about their new neighborhood.
● Stay positive: Regardless of the reason behind your decision to move (job relocation, divorce, the death of a loved one), it is important to remain positive around your kids. If they see you happy and positive about this change, then that positive attitude can rub off on them and they are less likely to be anxious.
● Involve children in the moving process: Your children will feel better about the move if you involve them in a few key aspects, such as house hunting and purchasing new furniture. Also, allow your children to have major input on how they should decorate their individual bedrooms.
● Keeping in touch with the old: Take pictures of poignant places and people before moving and offer ways to keep in touch with family and friends such as talking on the phone, texting, video chatting and writing letters. Reassure your children that visits can be arranged once you have settled into your new home.
● Exploring the new: Get your children acquainted with the new neighborhood. You can do some research about the area and take them sightseeing.
● Before school starts: Purchase all the necessary supplies and take them on a test run. Visit the school beforehand allowing them to tour the building and see the classrooms as well as the overall layout of the school and even meet some of the teachers.
● Keep up with old hobbies: Children find comfort in the familiar, therefore it is important that you inspire your children to keep up with their old hobbies. If your children were into swimming, basketball or skateboarding in their former town, then find places that offer the same classes in their new neighborhood. Also, getting your children involved in extracurricular activities is a great way for them to connect with new friends.
● Keep communicating: Once you have moved and school has begun, talk to your children often about their likes and dislikes. Assess their attitudes and allow them to express their emotions both negative and positive. Constantly, reassure them that you are confident in their ability to succeed and thrive in their new town.
● Get involved: Get involved in your children’s school by joining the PTO, volunteering in the cafeteria and getting to know the other parents. Being there will help ease anxiety.
● Be patient: Transitioning may take longer than expected, especially if your children feel like they lost something important when they moved (boyfriend/girlfriend, best friend). Be patient with their time needed for adjustment and continue to be their biggest support system.
Change is inevitable; it is all part of life’s journey. However, children thrive on structure and routine, so when there is a shift in that structure (like moving), they may not know how to fully cope or understand it all. It is your job as the parent to guide them with reassurance and constant positivity. They will thrive when you are thriving.
Writer by Tilda Moore.