The decision to relocate has been made, you have done your research and have picked out the best place for you and your family, the only thing that is left to do is to break the news to your family and planning out the move. Moving with your family is one of the biggest and most exciting things that you can do together, but no matter how you explain this to kids or adolescents they are sure to be doubtful. This is understandable since the benefit the move carries with it a lot of change and stress that kids just aren’t ready for. Thankfully there are some things that you can do to that will make this period over and ease the relocation process. You are their role model in this situation and the way you carry yourself and the attitude you show them along with letting them share the experience with you will have a great influence on their outlook on the move.
We all know that kids do not act logically, I mean we have seen kids get upset at the weirdest things, so it is no wonder that you will want to take steps in order to make them feel as comfortable as possible about the upcoming move.
Prepare them for the move
One of the best things you can do as a parent to be on the same page about moving as your child is to break the news to them ahead of time. This will alleviate some of the stress that they will feel and will prepare them for upcoming changes. Many child psychologists agree that this has to be handled in the right way and that the prospect of moving needs to be presented to the child in a way that seems appealing. The first thing to consider when telling your child about an upcoming move is when to inform them and a good rule to keep in mind is that you want them to know ahead of time so that they are not taken by surprise, but not too far ahead since you don’t want them overthinking the move. Now, this might not always be possible if you have put your house on sale and there are people dropping by constantly to look at your place, you will have to break the news to them earlier. When bringing up the subject of moving to your kids make sure that you do not give them the impression of drastic changes, tell them that things will be the same and that the move will not change them and the family. Console them by telling them how much fun the move can be and how the things the child is used to will remain the same, this includes things like the child’s favorite belongings and hobbies that the child has.
Organize a family meeting
If you have more than one child and want to tell everyone at once why not call a family meeting and make a thing out of it. You can make it a fun occasion by ordering some food and then during the conversation break the news to them by telling them how you have a unique opportunity and how excited you are by it. Make sure that you tell them why you think moving is beneficial for everyone and discuss with them how it can impact the entire family. Make the discussion open and ask them to express how they feel about the move and allow them to voice their concerns if they have any. Don’t be surprised if this isn’t met positively at first or if they are left speechless at first, they will need some time to process and think about what kind of implication a move can have. So make sure that you give them enough time before the move to consider and accept the move as a positive thing.
Allow them to express their feelings
No matter how much watching your child unhappy breaks your heart, keep in mind that it is important that they express in and not keep those feelings bottled inside and pretend that they are ok. It is normal for the child to throw a tantrum or be angry for moving away from the place that they have grown accustomed to, especially if the child is leaving behind people that they have gotten used to being in their lives and love. These emotions are normal even if the child is positive and excited about the move, so don’t worry about your child expressing mixed feelings about the relocation. Explain to your children that the people that they love are going to be alright and that you will stay in contact with them whenever possible. Assure them that feelings between them won’t change. Take into account some time will need to pass for your child to get used to the idea of things being different and to accept the changes and see that they aren’t terrible. Specialist estimate that a child will need about five to six months to get used to the change in environment and life, so don’t get anxious if your child isn’t excited about the change right away.
Be prepared for nostalgia
Once you have settled in your new home and have been there for a while don’t be surprised if your child is still feeling nostalgic about your old home. This is usually more for younger children, they may have changes in the way they eat, sleeping patterns, become a little distant or more clingy or have temper tantrums. As we have said these behaviors are normal and are no reason to be alarmed. Just be sure to stay a strong and certain figure while not trying to change them immediately. Let them get used to the change at their own pace, but if this persists for a longer period or if they begin to seriously affect the child’s day to day activities then seek some assistance.
Including your child in the decision and the move
If you have older children that are older, then a good way to get them on board with the move is to excite them about the benefits’ you can have. Once they are open to the idea of relocation being a good thing they are sure to be at peace with leaving behind some places, things, and people. A good way to ensure that they are open to the idea is to involve them in the moving process. We don’t mean have them move heavy furniture, just have them contribute to some decisions. Allow them to give you insight and help you in picking out a new home, ask them their opinion on places and let them voice their thoughts. Describe the places to them and show them pictures of the house and the neighborhoods to help them imagine what the place will be like.
Make sure that you are decisive
It is ok to empathize with your children and understand why they are feeling sad and unwilling to move. In their minds, they are losing everything they have built up and think they might never see the people again, which is a scary thing for a child. Even though your children feel troubled it is important that you do not show any signs of doubt. Your children will look up to you to see how you feel about things and if you are positive and enthusiastic about the move they are sure to be more accepting and willing to try it. If your child is older make sure that you show a decisiveness in moving, but also have a talk with them. Show them that you want them to be happy and that things will be ok. Show sympathy and help them deal with the emotions in a healthy and constructive way.
Stick to daily routines
During this period it is important that your children feel that things can get back to normal and that moving is not the end of the world. A good way to do this is to have things go on as normal and to keep the family together in the usual activities. Building up this sense of consistency in a period such as moving can build up family trust and will give the children the sense of familiarity.
Once you move into the new neighborhood you are going to have a clean slate and will be able to form completely new relationships with the people around you. This is the perfect time to make new friends and acquaintances since knowing more people will not only help you adjust to the new environment but will also be very beneficial for your children to, especially if your neighbors have children. The more social you are the more likely you will find the right people for you and your family. Don’t be afraid to go out and let your kid try out new activities, the more he is active and engaged in something and the people around the better he will adjust.
Make sure you stay in touch
Since friendships and connections with people play such a vital role in our live its is important to keep the relationships we have strong and meaningful, not just create new ones. Thanks to the modern world and all the breakthroughs in technology it is now easier than ever before for you to stay in touch with people so make sure you take advantage of this. You can use social media or video calls to talk with the people you are leaving behind and show your kids that moving doesn’t mean the end of a friendship. There is a possible drawback to this and that is if you spend way to much time talking to your old friends and not getting adjusted or letting your kid adjust to the new environment and routines. To keep this from happening it is good to limit the amount of time that you talk to people from your old residence and also focus on making some new friends and connections here.
Settling into the new home
Once the move is complete and it is time to settle into your new house it is a good idea to focus on you’re the essentials and your child’s room first. Once you make sure that the important things like bathroom basics, kitchen, and bedrooms are useable then it is a good idea to set up your child’s room first. This will give them the feeling that everything is alright and that they have a secure space to spend their time in during the busy moments of unpacking and organizing.
Getting your child into school
It is a good idea to give your children some time for themselves when the move is complete and not getting them into a new school the day after the move. This period of time spent alone, two or three days, are good to let them adjust mentally and not panic about drastic changes happening all at once. Once your child does start going to school you might want to go along and get to know as many of the teachers in the school as possible. This is recommended for younger children but not for teenagers that much. But no matter the age of your children you should be sure to set expectations that are realistic for their transition. Expect your child to feel comfortable in the teachers class after about seven weeks. Some kids, if they are more social and outgoing, will even get comfortable earlier while others will take their time. If you are concerned about your child after a longer period then don’t hesitate to contact a family therapist, this could be a good way to work out some of the issues and let the children express themselves.
Moves are a normal thing and you shouldn’t feel guilty or responsible for moving. The fact is that in today’s world moving is a current occurrence and even though it carries with it a lot of challenges and stress, it can also bring a lot of good change. Your family can even get more connected and create a stronger bond in the long run by going through these changes together. Just make sure that you give everybody their own space and not pressure them into opinions and activities, but let them adjust at their own pace.