Post details: Moving with Kids

02/21/05

Permalink 12:41:30 pm, Categories: Articles, 526 words   English (US)

Moving with Kids


A move is an event filled with both excitement and stress -- especially for children. These tips can help smooth the way for the whole family.

Share Info and Listen

Be open with your kids about the moving process. All kids -- from preschoolers to teenagers -- need complete, honest, simple explanations of the changes they will experience.

Tell your kids why you're moving, where you're going, where they'll go to school, and what the timeline is for these changes. Without this kind of information, children are likely to create their own version of the circumstances. Keeping them informed will also make them more understanding of the disruption in their lives. While you may not always have all the answers, promise to investigate your children's questions -- and then follow up. Reassure them that you will be there to help them face new challenges.

Encourage your children to talk about their worries. Don't laugh at their concerns or belittle the importance of their questions. While you may not understand why your kids need to know where the dog will sleep in your new home, your children should receive careful, sincere answers to all their questions.

Try not to take it personally if your child has trouble adjusting to the move and blames you for causing it. Explain that parents must make such big decisions for the good of the family.

Focus on the positive aspects of the new home, neighborhood, school, and community, but don't insist that everything will be wonderful. Even if the new home is better, it may take some time for your kids to let go of their attachment to the old place.

Allow your kids, especially teenagers, to grieve over leaving friends and favorite places. This, too, shows that you take their concerns seriously. Encourage keeping in touch with friends (email is great for this), rather than ignoring the importance of past relationships. You might help compile a video "memory book" of old friends, and take the kids to visit their favorite places one last time.

Infants and Preschoolers

Moving will be relatively easy for infants and toddlers, who are attached more to caregivers than to places.

But children ages 2 to 6 really like life to be predictable. (Who else would want to watch the same movie what seems like 100 times in a row?) These tips will help ease their transition to a new place:

- Minimize changes to the child's routine or the addition of new expectations, such as toilet training, weaning, eating new foods, or caring for a new pet, until the child is settled in the new environment.
- Prepare for the move by using fantasy play with your child to act out the moving process with toys and stories.
- Expect some regressive behaviors, such as thumb-sucking, sleep disturbances, or bed-wetting to appear before, during, or after the move. These will disappear as your child adjusts to the new home.
- Encourage your child to pack at least one box of his or her favorite things. Be sure this box travels with the family, not in the moving van, so it arrives with you in your new home.

Better Homes and Gardens

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