So you’ve got that new job that you have been waiting for, but it means the family has to move to a new city. If you have children, it’s likely that they will not take the news well. To them, this simply means being uprooted from familiar surroundings, friends, teachers and even the local ice-cream vendor.
Here’s how you can make things better:
- Try to have a positive attitude. Talk to the kids more regularly to help ease the stress and help them through the transition.
- Make it clear that they’re not the only ones adjusting—you’re doing it too. According to parenting coach, Elaine Taylor-Klaus, it will help to have them see you thinking about it, wondering what your new friends might be like, and being curious about how the new community works. It’s perfectly normal to be a bit nervous, excited, and confused. Let them see that they’re not alone in this.
- Look at this as a great opportunity to bond with the kids. Be transparent with them about the changes and the challenges you might face as a family.
- Provide them with the necessary assistance and knowledge to stay connected with old friends. “Kids don’t realize that maintaining relationships from a distance takes a little effort, so support them in learning that—without making them feel stupid for not knowing it,” says Klaus.
- As a parent, you will have to play this one by ear. If your child hasn’t taken well to change in the past, then you may want to slow down the process. Taking a breather might be good for you as well.
- If possible, take them to visit the new neighborhood before you move there. Introduce them to some of the friendly neighbors, even their enthusiastic puppy, if they have one. This will take away from the fear in the child’s mind. Also, this way, they already know a couple of people before they move, considerably lowering their anxiety.
- On moving day, involve them in packing their belongings. In case of younger children, Klaus suggests putting them on special ‘boxing’ duty so they are in charge of packing and marking their own toys.
- It would be a good idea to help them say goodbye to their friends before leaving your old home. Keep a dialog with your son or daughter open, so you are in the loop about their feelings.
- When you move into the new place, set up the child’s room first, then tackle the rest of the house. Try to maintain the same structure or layout of furniture in their room. Don’t introduce too many other changes. Instead, try to maintain the routine that they are accustomed to.
Psychologists say that it takes approximately six weeks for a child to break into their new surroundings, and for it to grow on them. Don’t be impatient. Give yourself time to ease into the new environment, and share your experiences with the child, so that both of you have a smooth transition.
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