Moving can be hard on everyone – especially your kids, who may be facing challenges of their own including changing schools and getting used to new routines – not to mention a new room! Let’s look at some approaches that can help your kids – and you – get through the move with a smile on your face.
It’s All In The Attitude
There are many ways to look at any given situation. If you’re able to communicate this to your kids, you stand a better-than-even chance of getting them to see the advantages when it comes to making a move.
First, though, you need to understand where they are coming from. Permanence and stability are huge to children, who rely on the structure as a measure of safety. A move is often viewed as an upheaval of the norm – and that can make kids feel as though the solidity in their life has evaporated.
Instead of fighting against that, try to understand where your kids are coming from. Talk to them. Ask questions. Listen to the answers. Incorporate their feelings into how you yourself are handling the move.
For example, ask your children what is scaring them about the move. Then use their answers to create a dialogue about how a move is an opportunity – not a disadvantage, and a challenge to embrace rather than a danger or an object of fear. In talking to children about moving, emphasize the positive. Discuss new opportunities, chances for fresh beginnings, and the excitement of discovering a new place. Children love adventure. Let them know that plenty of that awaits them.
Communication is key when it comes to helping your child accept and embrace new aspects of their lives. Remember, moving isn’t easy for anyone, but by talking to your kids and listening to what they have to say, you can help turn negatives into positives.
Getting Through The Sale
The best way to handle an ending is to understand how it leads to a new beginning. In order to do this, help your kids concentrate not on the loss of their former home and community (if indeed you’re leaving your present neighborhood) but rather on the fact that they’re going to be enjoying a plethora of new experiences. The best way to do this is to explore the new community if possible (if it’s too far away, harness the power of the internet to show your child the fun that awaits). Make sure to highlight access to favorite activities – sports, arts, any other recreational hobbies or interests – to emphasize the appeal of your soon-to-be home. This may soothe your jitters as well!
Get involved in your new neighborhood even before you move there. It’s not too early to enroll your kids in their favorite activities or take on a leadership position of your own. The more people you get to know, the less nervous your entire family will feel.
Community centers such as the YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs are a great place to start exploring your new home. They offer plenty of family activities for everyone in the household and are typically very affordable.
The best tactic here is to look forward, not backward. Embrace the challenge that lies ahead. Encourage your children to participate in decisions that affect them. As much as you can, make this a positive experience for all involved.
A Few More Tips
Parents Magazine has a few words of wisdom for those looking to make the move with their kids:
- Stick to your schedule. Keep up rituals like family night and consistent markers such as specific bedtimes.
- However, that doesn’t mean forgetting flexibility. Your children are going through a lot – and you may be as well. In particular, expect some elements of regression and allow your kids their feelings. They’re human too.
- Take the move as an opportunity to improve social skills. Get to know neighbors. Get out into the community. Harness the challenge as an opportunity – it is!
Some suggested reading materials, courtesy of Parents:
- Big Ernie’s New Home, Teresa, and Whitney Martin
- Louis + Bobo, Christiane Engle
- The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day, Stan and Jan Berenstain
Good luck! Before you know it, your kids will be adjusting to their new surroundings – and so will you.