Moving to a new area can be a disruptive experience for the whole family. Even if the move promises greater financial gains and better schools, the emotional repercussions can be experienced in different ways in each individual in the family. Preparing your children for the coming changes can help to make the experience more tolerable. Here are some ways to talk to your children about the upcoming move to help smooth the transition:
Deal With Your Own Emotions First
Some moves result from good circumstances, but others come from negative events that cause changes you may not have wanted. Settle on a suitable home for your family’s needs as quickly as possible to provide a solid plan for the move. Read this article for information on home purchasing and rentals. In order to help your children deal with a move, first examine your own emotions regarding the change in location. If you hope to project a feeling of optimism and excitement to your children, you will have to overcome your own ambivalence about the changes. You may be feeling insecure about moving away from family or long-time friends. You may have questions about fitting into the new environment. Take a close look at these issues and discuss them with your partner and close associates. When you have found a reasonable way to think and feel about the upcoming changes in your life, you will be better prepared to answer your children’s questions and help them through the process.
Let Your Children Know As Early As Possible
Children benefit from knowing about the upcoming move as soon as possible, so they can begin the process of learning about the new place and their place in it. Early warning will allow kids to process details about the new location and work through their fears and anxieties. Advance warning will also allow them to learn about the good aspects of the move, so that they can begin to look forward to the change in residence.
Let Children Be Emotional
Be ready to accept whatever emotions your children must express about the coming move. Reactions can range from deep fears about the change, to excitement about living in new surroundings. Each of your children can react differently, and you should be prepared to help them work through their emotions on an individual basis. Teens may become angry about leaving their familiar school and friendships. Younger children may have many questions. Be open to their feelings and help them to find ways to express themselves.
Practice the Moving Experience
Experts recommend that parents talk about the experience of moving with their children and get them involved in the planning and packing. You can help younger children understand what moving entails by allow them to pack and unpack their toys and favorite items, then unpacking them so that they can understand that the items will still be available for them at the other end of the move. Older children can help to plan decorating their rooms, choose paint colors and plan activities in the new location. Research the new area as much as possible to have topics to discuss with each child.
Visit the New Location in Advance
If possible, you should visit the new home with your children, so they will have a concrete idea of their new location. Take some time to explore the area, noting places of interest to children, such as schools, playgrounds, parks, movie theaters, shopping venues and skating rinks. You can have children help calculate commute times to work and school. Take a long walk near your new home to allow children to become familiar with their new neighborhood. They may come across other children living close by.
Plan A Welcoming Ritual
You can prepare for your arrival in the new location by planning a special ritual in which the whole family can participate to create a feeling of stability after the move. This action can be planting a tree or filling a wall with special family photographs. This ritual will help to calm fears about being in a new place and will create a feeling of solidarity in the family group. Children can help choose the type of tree that will be planted or help pick out photos to go on the wall.
Moving to a new area can be a time of excitement and new experiences that can benefit your children’s viewpoint on the world and their place in it. These tips can help them put the upcoming changes in a favorable light.
Jennifer Pollard works in education and has also relocated on a number of occasions as part of her career progression. She likes to share her ideas and suggestions on a range of family topics with an online audience and writes regularly for a number of websites.