Preparing Your Child for a Move
Sooner or later, many families face the prospect of moving. Disruptive as moving can be for parents, the experience can be even more traumatic for kids, who may not be a part of the decision to move and might not understand it.
Some children may need some extra time and maybe even some special attention during the transition. Here are some tips to try and make the process less stressful for everyone.
The Decision to Move
Many children learn to depend on familiarity and routine. Change can be difficult for them especially if it comes with other big changes such as divorce or death. If possible give kids time to adjust and keep a positive attitude about the move even if you aren’t happy about it yourself.
Talking About the Move With Your Kids
No matter what the circumstances, the most important way to prepare kids for a move is to talk to them about it.
Give children as much information as possible. Answer their questions completely and truthfully. Respect the childs reactions to your answers. Change can be frightening especially if they don’t understand it.
Involve children in the planning as much as possible. This will make them feel like they are participating in the process and less like it’s being forced on them.
If possible, try to take the kids to visit the new house and explore the neighborhood. If it’s not possible, show them on a map, through photos or use a program that they can see it through the internet.
Provide as much information as you can about the new home, city and state. Learn about the community together and find activities the kids can participate in.
After the Move
When your child is ready to start school it may help to go along to meet and introduce to your child his/her teachers or principal.
Have some realistic expectations about the transition. Generally, teachers expect new kids to begin feeling comfortable in about 6 weeks.
A move can be challenging as well as rewarding. The moving process can help families grow closer, build stronger relationships and provide family members with a chance to learn more about each other. Moving can give anyone, especially children, the opportunity for personal growth if approached with understanding and love.
For more information, age specific tips or additional resources visit: kidshealth.org