09 Sep A Guide to Moving with Kids
Moving with Kids
For adults, even though stressful, moving to a new home it’s usually filled with anticipation and excitement. On the other hand, children need the support and understanding of the family to avoid seeing the move as a traumatic experience.
Moving is considered by many experts as one of the most stressful experiences of family life, and one of the most disruptive events in the life of a child. With one in five families moving every year, it’s important for adults to understand what the younger members of their family experience when moving and learn how to help them cope with their fears and anxieties.
Families with young children usually move for the benefit of the kids: larger house, yard, better schools and neighborhoods. But for kids, leaving everything they know behind, including friends, teachers, the house, the yard, and neighborhood, stirs up strong feelings. They may experience feelings of anxiety, fear, poor school performance, or have problems sleeping and other stress related symptoms.
To get past those feelings, and ensure the move will not affect them negatively, kids need not just reassurances from adults, but they need their families and schools to understand the challenges they are facing as they try to adapt to all new surroundings and the new people in their lives.
Here’re some of the things that can help kids adjust to a move, and overcome moving anxiety.
1. Break the news gradually and gently – while it may seem exciting to you, “we’re moving” it’s not the sort of news kids like to hear. They may feel angry and betrayed. If now they are soccer team captains, or just made it into the competition team at dance school, their accomplishment will vanish when they move. They may feel sad to leave their friends and school behind, and the prospect of a new school may seem scary. Letting them know you are considering moving well in advance of moving day, will give them time to adjust to the idea and not perceive it as an imminent threat.
2. Make them an “accomplice” rather than a “victim” – when kids actively participate in the house hunting, moving preparations, and feel part of the decision making, they will feel more empowered and in control of the situation. Let them help with packing, or decide which toys go to charity, take care of the dog or mail out the “we’re moving” cards.
3. Introduce them to the new neighborhood, it will make a huge difference. Visiting the new neighborhood in advance, and doing some things they may enjoy, will help them see the positive side of moving and mitigate some of the moving angst. Making a friend at the new local playground, visiting the new school in advance, hunting for the best ice-cream in the new neighborhood, and other fun things, will help your kids have something to look forward to when they have to say goodbye to all the similar things they presently are accustomed to. If you are moving out of town, you can search the new neighborhood on line.
4. Avoid moving during the school year – it may not seem like a big deal to parents, but for kids it can be stressful and disruptive. Being the “new kid” during the school year negatively affects school performance, can lead to bullying and poor school performance.
5. Avoid being the insensitive parent – most of us can’t remember what it’s like to experience certain events as a kid. We may feel “kids are resilient” and “they’ll get over it”. And they do. However, it’s not in our or their best interest to put them though the stress and anxiety of moving without our support, or using our own worries and stress as an excuse for ignoring the most vulnerable family members – the kids.
6. Help your children get accustomed to the new house – if visiting the new home is not possible, show them she pictures of what their room will look like. Discuss where their things will go; if you plan on repainting the new home, involve them in choosing the color. Discuss the benefits of the new home, if it’s larger, sunnier, or has a bigger yard. Go see it a few times before you move if possible.
7. Hire a reliable mover – Moving with a reliable company will help take some of the stress out of the moving process for you, and your children. From helping plan your move, to expert packing services, to reliably moving you across town or across country, an experienced mover will be there for you to help save time, reduce anxiety, and guide you through the moving process to free up some of your time so you can be there for the ones that need you most.
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