Post details: Moving with Kids - Part 2

02/21/05

Permalink 12:52:48 pm, Categories: Articles, 650 words   English (US)

Moving with Kids - Part 2


School-Age Issues

School-age kids, particularly adolescents, are often quite attached to their friends, and their own lifestyles. A major change, like moving, threatens their feelings of control and independence and can trigger strong emotions, and sometimes even behavioral problems.

Talking about uncomfortable feelings can help your child handle them and move through the transition more easily. Older children are capable of assuming a responsible role in the moving process, which helps them feel more in control, and offers the family some real support.

Involve your children in decision-making as much as possible. Ask for ideas, opinions, and suggestions -- but make sure to do so only when the child truly can have a say in the process. Even if it's as simple as deciding how to arrange the furniture in their new bedrooms, being involved in the process will help your children feel less overwhelmed by all the changes taking place.

Don't send them away. You may be tempted to send the kids to Grandma's or another caring relative during the hectic packing and moving process. Though removing the kids may seem like a great solution, it won't necessarily make the process easier for them.

Instead, include the children in the excitement of decorating and arranging their new rooms. Arrange children's rooms first -- they'll feel more secure if surrounded by familiar things.

Do your best to maintain a few of your family's rituals even during the move. Every family has its own traditions or habits that give its members their unique family identity. It may be eating waffles on Saturday mornings, walking around the neighborhood, or enjoying a favorite TV program together. Whatever your family does to distinguish itself should be maintained as much as is practical to ease the stresses associated with moving.

Getting Settled in

As soon as you know you'll be moving, begin giving your children information about the new community. What recreational opportunities exist? If your kids are interested in sports, tell them about the Little League or soccer program. Look into opportunities to continue their music, dance, or swimming lessons.
- Use any contacts you have in the new community through employment, real estate agents, professional organizations, and churches to gather information useful to your child.
- Make contact with club or sports-related organizations to encourage those interests in your family's new community.

If possible before the move, visit the new community with your children and take time to drive past places they will find interesting and important. If you can't take your children to the new town or home before you move, be sure to bring home photos for them. You may even be able to find library books describing the history of your new town, state, or region and the points of interest. This will help them become more enthusiastic about the move and less fearful of the unknown.

Ask your children about the favorite things in their lives -- the big backyard, the smell of brownies in the oven after school, taking the dog to the park -- and discuss ways to duplicate those things in your new home.

Try to time your family's move to coincide with the beginning of a new school year or term. Making new friends is easier when a new session is just starting.

- Contact your child's prospective school for information on registration, sports, clubs, extra-curricular activities, and any testing or health requirements for enrollment. Ask if copies of the most recent yearbook and school newspaper are available to help your child get an idea of the student population and what to expect on the first day of school.
- To reduce stress and uncertainty, visit the new school with your children while classes are in session. Meet the teacher. Pay attention to the styles of clothing, shoes, book bags, etc. With younger children, practice walking the route to school or riding the bus.

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