Being a kid is complicated work!
As a child grows, they must learn to balance their family, school, homework, friends, chores, and anything else that comes their way. At many points during their life, a child will finally feel as if they have the hang of it all, despite obstacles here and there. However, their cycle can be disrupted completely by a family's decision to move to a new home. No matter the distance of the move, moving to a new place can be one of the largest challenges a child may have to face in their early life. Of course, that does not mean it is something that should not be done, but it does mean that parents should be thoughtful about how to make a move easier for a child to cope with. While moving is stressful for everyone in the family, here are a few ideas that can make your big move easier for your child, which will make it easier for yourself as well!
Keep Kids Involved As children grow, so does their independence. This can often cause conflict between parents and children, due to the fact that parents naturally want to protect their child, while the child begins to make more of their own decisions. Especially during a move, a child feeling like they have lost control of their life can be devastating. You can keep your child involved in their big life change by asking their opinions on the decisions you make, whether they are big ones such as what house will be your new home, or little ones such as what color to paint a room. If you ultimately do not go with their suggestion, instead of rejecting it outright, tell them you have acknowledged their idea and truly appreciate their help. You can also show them brochures and other documents you might collect during the moving process. Even if they don't completely understand it all, they will feel amazing about the fact that their opinion matters to you.
Encourage Kids to Keep In Touch One of the hardest parts of moving away from home for a child is having to leave their group of friends. Although it is a fact that they will eventually make new ones, the idea of new friends is not always comforting right away. Instead, reassure your child that moving away does not have to equal losing their current friends. While you may not want your child texting all day, try different ways of communication, such as setting up video chat dates for them on FaceTime or Skype. Another fantastic way for a child to keep in contact with their friends is to write letters and cards. You can purchase beautiful children's stationery and even get them customized labels with their new address on it. Along with the stationery, you can teach your kids different ways to write like using calligraphy or cursive, so that their hand written letters will be even more personal. Not only will your child enjoy writing letters to their friends, but they will be elated when they receive letters from their friends at their new address!
Go on Adventures Once you have arrived in your new home, the first few months are hectic. You and your family must acclimate to entirely new surroundings and unpack dozens of boxes. While it might feel urgent that you get the house put together perfectly, remember that moving isn't just about the home, but about the entire environment. Kids can feel lonely in a new city or town, and that loneliness can quickly become overwhelming. To get used to your new surroundings, go on adventures with your child. You can walk around the neighborhood and talk to your child about the houses you see, and what makes them the same or different from the ones in your old neighborhood. You can research parks, museums and other places that locals regularly enjoy as well. While tourist attractions can also be fun, going to places that are frequented by locals rather than tourists can make a child feel more at home, rather than an outsider. You can even go to restaurants that are locally known; even if you end up not liking the food, you can experience something unique to your new hometown, and it will give you a much-needed break from the craziness of trying to get your new life in order.
Talk to Kids About Their Emotions While this one may seem obvious, this is a step that is often overlooked when parents are busy with packing, phone calls, and everything else that a move entails. Kids cannot always tell you exactly what they are thinking; communication is something learned over a lifetime. However, it is extremely important that you talk to them about their feelings during a move. Even if it is not exactly what you want to hear as a parent, especially if they express sadness or anger, be patient and hear them out. You may not be able to make them feel happier right away, but many times, rather than a quick fix, a child simply needs someone to listen to them and let them know that they care, and that their parents support them on not just good days, but on the rough days, too. You can talk about your emotions as well; being a parent is also complicated work, and can be emotionally tasking. Although you constantly feel that you must be strong and flawless for your child, telling them that they aren't the only one that feels anxiety about moving can actually connect you to them even more, and make them feel like you are on this wonderful journey together. We wish you all the very best on your adventure to your new home!