How to Help Your Children Cope with a Big Move
Both parents and children may experience stress when moving to a new house. Even if the purpose for the move or relocation is a good one, it still takes time and patience to adjust.
Here are some suggestions for easing the changeover.
Why children and adolescents find moving so painful
Children who move experience stress due to loss of familiarity and dread of the unfamiliar.
The feeling of distance from friends and family with whom they have grown close over the years is another factor. While most youngsters adjust with little difficulty, others could have a harder time than others.
Dr. Ehrin Weiss is a licensed psychologist that has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Houston Family Psychology said:
“Children who already struggle with high levels of negative emotion – children who are often sad or mad or who have a lot of fears and worries – are at a higher risk for developing problems related to a move or an increase in those existing emotions.”
Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to ensure a smooth transition to a happy life in your new home.
1. Look at the transition from your child’s viewpoint
Change your perspective and reflect how your youngster perceives the move. Will they be abandoning the house they have known all their lives? Do they have to say goodbye to relatives and friends they are accustomed to seeing? If so, that might be terrifying.
Toddlers thrive with structure and routine, so in addition to feeling the loss of their home, they could also feel confused by all the changes happening around them. They are expected to act in an unusual or frustrated manner at this time.
2. Allow your kid to go through his or her moods
When a youngster realizes there is nothing they can say or do to stop them from moving, they could feel powerless. When faced with a significant shift, many toddlers physically act out, so it’s important that they feel heard and appreciated even when they are acting out.
Be patient with your child while they process their feelings because only by understanding the cause of negative behavior will you be able to address it and assist them. Be prepared for this because they can require a bit extra consideration and comprehension, which will increase the demands on your time.
3. Before moving, bring your kids to the new neighborhood
You can start the excitement about the move after your child is aware that nothing negative will occur. Take them to your new neighborhood, if you can, and show them around.
Is there a park nearby? There, take them!
Your youngster will perceive the move to the new place as an adventure rather than a setback if you begin to associate it with positive things.
Get to know the kids in the neighborhood, arrange a playdate there or go to the playground. Get them fired up about the new friends they’ll make. Or, bring your kids along for a visit to their new daycare or play school so they can meet the teachers and get a sense of what to anticipate on day one.
4. Is it too far to drive? Take a virtual tour of the area
If you’re moving long distance and can’t bring your child to the area before you move, check out your new town online. Wander the streets of a whole new city, soaking up its character and exploring its hidden wonders on foot.
Simply load up Google Maps, switch to Street View, and start your virtual adventure.
5. Maintain old friendships
Another factor contributing to adolescent trauma is the loss of long-term friends and neighbors. You can make this easier by assisting your teen in maintaining those relationships. One idea is to invite their friends over for pizza and bonding on the night of the move.
Not only will it help your teen adjust to their new surroundings, but it may also reassure them that just because they moved doesn’t mean they’ve lost their friends.
Make sure your teen has regular get-togethers with their friends, even if it means driving them back to their old neighborhood frequently.
Bottom Line: You Can Make the Transition Easier
The overarching idea behind these suggestions is to empathize with what your teen is going through during this transitional period.
Even if they appear unconcerned about the move, check in with them anyway. Inquire about how they feel in general, whether they like their new room, school, neighborhood, and so on.
Keep an eye on them for a few months because emotions can get bottled up. Your teen may express them in unexpected ways, so be prepared, vigilant, and, most importantly, be present for them.