Children, however, have a harder time seeing the positives of such a big change. They enjoy familiarity, so the idea of going to a new place where everything is different can be a hard thing to face. Moves usually happen in the wake of other big family changes, which are also sometimes hard for kids to process.
If your child is struggling with the approach of an upcoming move, here are some strategies you can employ to help.
Make Concrete Plans for Staying in Touch
One of the hardest parts of moving for children can be leaving behind relatives and close friends, especially friends at school. If your child is concerned about moving and having to start fresh with all new people, you can help them by making plans to stay in touch with important people to keep the relationships going. You might:
- Buy your child an address book to write down addresses and phone numbers. Emails are a possibility, but children may especially enjoy getting a paper letter in the mail.
- Set up commitments for video calls. You might set aside 30 minutes each week for calling a specific friend or relative back home. That way, your child knows they will see and speak with someone they care about at a predictable time, not just “someday” or “when we have time.”
- Plan an actual return trip before you leave. Maybe you will come back to visit at spring break or winter holidays. Your child can look forward to this concrete plan.
- Play video games with shared players. You might not want your child to game all the time, but some games allow for shared players, so they can still chat and interact with a friend as they play a game together.
Brainstorm ideas with your child to come up with more ways of staying in touch after the move. Just taking the time to make and write down these plans can make a child feel much more secure.
Let Your Child Help
Some children are eager to help with the process of packing up. You might feel like it is faster to do everything yourself, but in some areas, do allow your child to help. You might have your child label boxes for you, and you might ask their opinion about whether something is useful or not when clearing out items to sell or donate.
If your child is enterprising, they might even want to take the reins on a small garage sale. With the money they earn, they might save for an item to bring with them to the new house. You might also allow your child to choose paint colors for their new room, or let them decide where you’ll go out for dinner in the midst of the moving mayhem.
Give Yourself More Free Time
During this time of increased stress and change, your child might need increased attention from you. Unfortunately, moving also increases the demands on your time. You have to worry about packing, arranging the moving truck, switching schools and doctor’s offices, and even calling your new city about getting utilities turned on before the move.
With some many to-dos, your child might feel like the move is taking over the time they normally spend with you. In order to give yourself more free time to meet their needs, you might outsource some of the moving work.
For example, you can hire professional packers to take on time-consuming tasks like wrapping wine glasses in foam and paper. Professional packers can also make short work of storage areas, living rooms, and other similar rooms that don’t need as much attention as your own bedroom or bathroom.
Stick to Familiar Routines
Even with all the changes, you can still try and keep your routine as normal as possible. If packed boxes are getting in the way of daily living, put them in temporary storage to give yourself more normalcy, but allow your children to keep treasured items with them all through the moving process.
Wake up when you usually do. Continue with homework extracurricular activities, and try to find those same activities after you’ve to your new home. Research shows that moving can sometimes affect a child’s ability to do well in school. So keeping up with (or increasing) home support may be a way to help, especially if your child already has trouble with schoolwork.
Keep up with regular bedtimes, and if you read stories and have a bedtime ritual, stick with it. You may be tempted to shove these things aside in the change and stress of moving, but a child finds reassurance on things they can always count on.
For more information on packing and moving services, contact us at Bekins.