Eventually most families face the prospect of moving.The experience can be very disruptive for parents and even more traumatic for children, who may not be part of the decision to move and might not understand why.
Children will need some special time and attention during the transition period. The following few ideas may prove helpful.
Making the Decision to Move
Most children thrive on routine and familiarity. As a family you need to consider the move, weigh out the benefits of that change against the comfortable surroundings, school and social life your children have now.
This decision may be out of your hands, perhaps due to a job transfer or financial issues. Even if you are not happy about the move, try not to show it to your children.Try to maintain a positive attitude. At these times parent's moods and attitudes greatly affect the children, who are likely looking for many types of assurances.
Discuss the Move with the Children
I can't emphasis enough how important it is to talk about everything involved in the move.
Try to give them as much information as possible and as soon as possible. Answer questions as completely as you can, of course taking into account the age. Even if the move means an improvement in family life, chilfren don't always see it that way and may be focusing on the negative aspects only.
Involve children in as much of the planning as you can. This will make them feel like they have a say and are active participants in the house hunting . this will make them feel like the move has not been forced on them, but they have a say in the decision too.
For distant moves, give them as much material as you can about the new City, home, community, schools etc., by looking it up on the Internet, getting photos of the home and area and a special photo of the new school they will be attending.
Toddlers & Preschoolers
Here are 6 easy ways to assist with the changeover for young children:
- Keep explanations clear and simple.
- Use a story to explain the move, or use toy trucks and toy furniture to act it out.
- When you pack their toys in boxes, don't forget to tell them you are not throwing them out or giving them to friends.
- If you get a chance and have possession of the home before the move, take a few of their things over to their new room.
- Avoid changes like toilet training or moving a toddler from a crib to a toddler bed.
- Make sure you have arrangements in place for a babysitter on moving day.
School Aged Children
At this age children are open to moving, but serious consideration and help is necessary throughout the transition.
There are 2 schools of thought when it comes to the "perfect time to move". Some experts say that summer is the best due to the fact that it avoids disruption in the school year. Others say that during the school year is better because it gives the children a chance to meet other children their age immmediately.
To avoid hitches that would add stress, gather as much information on the new school as possible and get as much information from their present school as conceivable.
It is very common for teens to actively rebel against moving. Your teen has likely invested a lot of time and energy in a social group and might be involved in a romantic relationship.
It is acutely important to let teens know that you want to hear their concernsand that you respectthem. While blanket assuraces may sound dismissive, it is reasonable to suggest that the move can serve as preparation for future changes, like college, or a new job. Make it clear to them that you hear their apprehensions.
After the move consider a visit back to the old neighbourhood, if it is conceivable.
After Moving Day
- Get your child's room in order as soon as possible before the rest of the house.
- The first few days of school, take the time to meet as many teachers and staff as possible.
- Set realistic expectations about the transition time.Generally, teachers expect a new child to feel comfortable in the classes in about 6 weeks.
- If, after you move and things are not going well with your child, a family therapist might provide some guidance.
As you can see a move can bestow many challenges,but good things also come from this kind of change. As a family you will grow closer and learn more about each other and their feelings. The main objective is to remember that you can do anything if you do it together!