Want to move to a new city? Here are some tips how you could prepare your children for the moving.
Moving is no doubt an anxiety-ridden period of time. For the most part, adults tend to gravitate their worries towards practical issues that may arise during the process. For children, however, the move can feel like a more all-encompassing loss, with their thoughts focused on leaving friends, their school, and a neighborhood that is familiar and feels safe. Because the decision to move was completely out of their hands, children can often feel powerless in this scenario.
The good news is, there are many things you can do to mitigate these negative feelings and help your little one feel less anxious about the upcoming move. Here’s how you can provide your child with the support they need to cope with a move to a new home and ensure their experience is a positive one.
Communication is Key
By sitting down with your children and having an open dialogue about the move, you will be able to answer any questions they may have and help ease their fears. They will have their fair share of worries – What school will they be attending? How will they make new friends? What are they going to do in their free time for fun? By coming up with these answers, or a list of ideas, prior to the move, it will help them to feel more prepared and like they have a bit of a plan for a fresh start.
Have some fun with it – grab a laptop or tablet and show them the new house and neighborhood. Thanks to Google Maps and their Street View feature, you can actually take your children on a tour of the surrounding area, giving them a visual picture of what to expect when they arrive at their new home.
You can also begin sparking some excitement by taking the time to browse the internet for local attractions and activities your kids can look forward to. By involving your children in this process, it will give them back a sense of control that they felt they had lost while helping them get acclimated to the new area. Never underestimate the power of transparency and being as honest as possible about the decisions behind the move, so your children feel included rather than ignored during this tough time.
While toddlers and preschoolers may not have built significant attachments to their friends or neighborhood at such a young age, they will still feel a sense of unease that comes with being in a strange and unfamiliar environment for the first time. Role-playing, using books and storytelling, and letting them pick the paint color or location of their toy box in their new room are great ways to provide toddlers with the support they need.
Dealing with Teens
Teenagers will be a bit more difficult to deal with. After all, they’ve built a support system of friends and teammates, and will likely feel frustrated about leaving their comfort zone. Let them vent; it’s healthy for teens to express concerns or even the resentment they may feel. When they open up, you have the opportunity to communicate why you’re moving and work together to brainstorm new clubs they can join or attractions you can visit to reframe their vision of the move into a positive one.
When you take the time to communicate with your children and address their concerns, you can soothe some of their fears around moving. What’s more, we live in a digital world where people can stay connected via FaceTime and social media sites, so your kids can keep in touch with their friends. Being as open with your children as possible and including them in some of the decision-making will help them feel included in what can feel like such a stressful time.