Anyone who has children and has had to move already knows that kids often have a hard time of it…moving, that is. Many children feel as if their entire lives are being uprooted, and in some ways, that is exactly what is happening to them when parents decide to move. But, moving does not have to be a traumatic event. Here are some thoughts on how to help your kids make the adjustment.
If a move is in the future, parents can help their kids by being positive about the move themselves. Many parents, like it or not, go through their own drama when a move is being planned and they often show their emotions in a negative way. Kids pick up on this and those negative feelings or drama outbursts by adults can make kids feel unsure, upset, and confused about how they should feel and behave.
Talk About It
The last thing parents want to do when a move is in the works is ignore conversations with the children. Kids want to know what is happening and talking with them about the move will help them to prepare emotionally for the move. What you talk about with the children will depend on how age and mature each child is and the questions that each child will have.
Get Them Involved
If the move is local, take the kids over to the new location before the actual move happens and show them around the new neighborhood. If the move is not so local, see if you can find photos online about your new location and share these with the kids. Try to get your children involved with the planning and doing of the move. Don’t leave them out of the process, and encourage them to ask questions about those things they are not sure about.
Different Ages, Different Needs
Younger children often have less stress when it comes to moving. This is especially true for preschool kids. As children age, however, and they have a stake in their environment (school, friends, clubs, sports, etc) the more resistant they are likely to be toward packing up and moving.
Teens are often the most stressed when it comes to moving and this stress can be revealed as outright rebellion. Keep in mind that your teen has a real-life stake in this move. He or she is being asked to leave what amounts to “everything” in their life and this can be truly upsetting to them.
It is important to let your teen speak about his or her feelings, even if their feelings come out as anger. Let them know that you understand how they feel, but also let them know that moving is a normal occurrence in most family lives. Remind them that they can call their old friends and may even be able to visit them in the future.
In all age groups, the key is communication. No matter how old the child is, try to talk to them and reassure them that this move is not a bad thing, just a new and different thing.