Moving is exciting but for children it can be unsettling and scary. Regardless if your move is local or out of the area, knowing ahead of time the concerns your children are dealing with will help you help your child transition more smoothly into your new home.
What are your children feeling anxious about?
- Preschool children are preoccupied with being left behind at the old house, moving away from their parents and leaving their toys and special items behind.
- The 6 – 12 year old group is more worried about their daily life will be disrupted
- Teenagers worry about fitting in and not being able to maintain their social life.
- Generally kids of all ages feel stress about a new neighborhood, making new friends, a new school, loss of familiarity, and the unknown.
I recently helped a friend and her four year- old son move from a small two bedroom apartment to a bigger house with more space and a big back yard for the child to play in. Mom had never considered that the apartment had been the only home her child had ever known and even though they were moving to a bigger and better place he wanted nothing to do with it. He wanted his old house and arrived at the new house kicking and screaming.
Here are some helpful tools to help your child feel better about a move:
- Let you child know about the new house and if possible visit the new home. If that is not possible take some pictures or video recordings so your child becomes familiar with their new space.
- If your child will be attending a new school, visit the school with your child.
- Get your child involved, have he or she pack a few of their toys and special items and mark the boxes with color markers or stickers so the child can easily identify that boxes of theirs.
- Have your child help decorate and set up their new room.
- Talk to your child about some of his or her favorite things about their current home and try to incorporate some of those elements in the new home.
- Allow your child to ask questions and voice and fears they may be feeling about the move.
- Help your children to stay in touch with any friends they may be leaving behind.
- If possible join some play groups in your new area to help your child make new friends.
- When move day rolls around, set up your child’s room as soon as possible, this will help them feel more settled and comfortable in the new space.
- Sticking to routines helps your child feel secure, if you always had game night on Thursdays stick to that.
- Sign your child up for sports, clubs or school activities.
- Get your child outdoors to meet new friends in the neighborhood and invite those new friends over
- Get out as a family and explore the new area, making discoveries about your new area together helps you all make the transition together as well as become familiar with your new surroundings.