Moving can be a stressful time for everyone in the family. Children can feel anxious and uncertain just as adults often do. Young children may not even be able to verbalize their feelings, but the evidence of stress may manifest in behavior changes. Parents who try to maintain a positive attitude about the impending transitions will encourage their children to better cope with the move.
- Talk to children early in the process. Children often fear the unknown, so explaining what is happening can help reassure them. Give as much information as is appropriate for their ages. Answer questions simply and honestly. Stick to family routine as much as possible; maintaining continuity is important to children.
- Involve your children in the move. Let them participate in selecting the new home, even if it’s just showing them pictures. The kids can be involved in packing some of their own belongings. A few toys or familiar items should be kept separate and not packed. Children can take these things with them in a small suitcase or tote. A favorite toy or blanket can often soothe frazzled nerves during a move.
- School age children may be concerned about attending a new school, meeting new teachers, and making new friends. These are considerations even when the move will occur over the summer. Parents should collect as much information as possible about the new school and neighborhood. Don’t just talk about what will be different. Also explain the many important things that will remain the same after the move.
- It’s important for the kids to say goodbye to their friends, classmates, and neighbors. Understand that it is normal for them to feel sadness and loss. Help your child to work through those feelings.
- After the move, give children plenty of opportunities to meet new friends. Introduce your family to others in the neighborhood, encourage play dates with new classmates, and let your child sign up for some new activities. This goes a long way toward helping children make a good adjustment after a move.