Moving is a major life transition full of mixed emotions for parents and children. Here are 10 tips your transferees can use to help their children through this “roller coaster” period.
- Share the news of your move as soon as you can. Be prepared for a variety of responses. Listen and acknowledge your children’s feelings. Acknowledge your own feelings, too, and explain why the move has to happen.
- Invite your child’s participation in the preparation and plans. Buy blank labels and let your child decorate them for his/her own cartons. Have a yard or garage sale with clothes and toys that have been outgrown. Together make posters to advertise the event.
- Plan some farewell activities with friends and family who will be left behind.
- Set aside some time to talk about what’s been special about your present home and how those things can be replicated in your new home.This might be a good time to prepare a family capsule. Fill it with artifacts of your lives in your present home and bury it in a favorite outdoor or indoor place. Sample time capsule treasures might include pictures and drawings, a favorite audio tape, lyrics to a song, recipes from special meals and celebrations, and jokes or special memories.
- Reach out for resources about your new community. Send away for information and maps from the local Chamber of Commerce or City Hall. Or, write to the new school principal or PTA president for news about the school.
- Get pictures of your new home to “preview” if your child is unable to visit prior to the move. If possible, include your child in a pre-move visit. Begin choosing bedrooms and planning decorations.
- Make moving day an adventure. Have a bag packed full of fun activities — games, books, stuffed animals. Make a journal or collage of the move, including taking pictures, writing feelings and anecdotes, and saving mementos of the trip, such as menus and maps.
- Reach out in your new community once you are settled. Plan a get-together with new neighbors, and contacts from work and school. Encourage your child to advertise to do odd jobs around the neighborhood. Support your child in joining a local boys/girls club or community group. Enjoy the neighborhood together: go to the park, walk the dog, take strolls, do yard work — you’ll meet new people that way.
- Start traditions in your new home. Sunday can be movie rental day or story read-aloud night.
- Encourage your child to keep in touch with family and friends back where you used to live. Offer a long distance call as a present or treat. Take pictures of your new home.
10 Tips to Help Kids Survive a Family Move