Advice on preparing and helping children understand having to move or relocate.
Helping Children Understand about moving and having to relocateYou’re readying for a move and you have a million things to take care of: closing the deal on your new house or apartment, anticipating your new job, and scheduling a pick-up, but it is important that you don’t neglect your children. Take some time to discuss the upcoming events with them. Children take their cues from their parents, so make sure that you stay upbeat and positive throughout. Help them see the move as an exciting new beginning.
When is the best time to move? Unfortunately, there is no “best” time to move with your children. Unless you count moving only after you’ve discussed it with your children. Get their input about the timing of the move. Try to avoid making your word the law.
It’ll be very hard for your teen if you decide to relocate during their senior year of high school, right before they graduate.
For your younger children, a move during the school year will allow them to immediately go from one social setting into another. They’ll be receiving more attention from classmates and the teacher as the “new kid.” On the other hand, a summer move may allow your children to become better acclimated with their surroundings. This way they won’t be thrust into unfamiliar territory both at school and at home.
Your children may not like the reasons for the move, but with good communication, they’ll understand them.
Moving with Younger Children
Children of different ages will react to the move differently. It is important that you are attentive to their needs and feelings. More so than with teens, you’ll need to sit down and discuss the events of your move with younger children.
Toddlers will be old enough to sense changes in their environments. Since they spend most of their days with at least one parent, it’s important not to neglect them. Otherwise, when they see the house in disarray and gradually getting emptier, they may worry about being left behind. Quickly allay their fears by keeping their favorite toys around and trying to keep as stable a household as you can during the planning and packing. As long as toddlers are comfortable and are close to their parents, they will not be affected by the move.
Let him pack and tote along some of his special possessions (do not discard any of them before the move, no matter how old and tattered they are).
Elementary school children have developed relationships with people outside of their homes. Leaving their friends will be difficult but the idea of moving to a different place can be exciting.
Since school is the primary place where children make friends, children in this age-range tend to have the easiest time making friends. They spend most of their time in school with the same classmates and the same teacher. Relationships develop naturally.
Children in this age-range should also be active participants in the move. Allow them to pack their own belongings. Teach them your new address and phone numbers right away. After the move, take the time to show them around their new neighborhood.
Moving with Teens
You may give them an inch, but make no mistake about it, they’ll take a whole mile.
They may rebel, complain, and even say they hate you, but when you’re moving with your teens, you must exhibit the patience and serenity of a Buddhist monk. Especially if they have to switch schools. Especially high school! And especially if they have to leave their friends.
Teenagers have had more time to grow and develop an attachment with their social environment. Expect some moping and acting up early on and expect it to continue as long as a month after the move.
It’ll be easy for you to become irritated and impatient but it is important that you deal with your child in the best manner possible. Granted, they may not want to talk to you right away but you should always let it be known that you’re available at any time.
And they’ll never be alone. How can they in the age of instant messaging and wireless phones? They’ll be in constant contact with their friends. These friends, no matter how much you disapprove of their tattoos and piercings, only want the best for your child. They’ll help your kids cope by constantly reassuring them and dishing out advice. Kids understand kids the best. True you were once their age, but that was many, many years ago…
You may balk at this hands-off approach, but chances are, you’ve raised your children right.
And here’s the kicker: Teens are very resilient.
Parents just have to weather a few storms before the realization hits.