It is important that you make moving easy on your children. If you find moving home stressful, as most adults do, then what is it doing to your kids? They are having to leave all their friends, leave their sports teams, settle into a new school and perhaps have to fit into a neighborhood where the kids already have their own groups of friends and allegiances and yet your children have no say in the matter!
You won’t remove the stress that all this will cause them, but you can help to reduce it by keeping them involved every step of the way. By doing this, you will also relieve some of the stress on yourself, because their distress will also upset you. Here are some tips on alleviating some problems connected with moving home and children.
Talk to Them
If you want to make moving easy, then talk to your kids and explain what is happening. Give them plenty notice so they can tell their friends and make arrangements to talk on Facebook, IM them or even talk by video on Skype. Your children will tend to focus totally on what they will be losing, since in their eyes they are gaining nothing.
You can tell them that they can choose how to decorate their own rooms – get them actively involved in discussing colors and wall coverings. Perhaps even furniture if you are buying new furniture for their bedrooms.
That is one way to get them more relaxed about the move if you have the money – let them become involved in what bedroom furniture they can have: a sofa bed could enable them to have sleepovers – maybe their friends could visit during a vacation or even a weekend.
The way your children react to a move will be different according to their age. Pre-school children tend to accept moving from their regular neighborhood better than older kids. Their security lies in their parents, and they are happy living where mom or dad is.
Their security also lies in what they know, so let them keep the old bed and other furniture that they are used to. You might be able to keep a 12 year-old reasonably happy with new furniture but not a 4 year-old. Young children like constancy in their environment
Once they reach school age it is more difficult because they are going to lose their school friends. Rather than move during the school year, it is best to wait until towards the end of the summer vacation. They can then say goodbye and make contact arrangements, and after the move they can go straight to their new school and meet new people.
Moving Home with Teenagers
If you have teenage children, you may have a specific problem. They won’t be happy at the best of times, but if they have formed an attraction to a young person at school then they may be adamant about not moving.
Put yourself in their situation – when you were young and had a crush on this young guy or girl at school would you be happy to be told you had to leave the area? Particularly if your feelings were reciprocated? There is no easy solution to this and the best thing you can do is discuss it with them.
Saying ‘get used to the idea’ will alienate them from you. You should try to come to a solution that is acceptable both to your teenage children and to you. Perhaps you will get them video Skype, or maybe let them visit their friends now and again. Ultimately, they will meet new friends and the old ones will become a memory.
Finally. . .
There is plenty you can do to make moving home easier for your children, and a great deal depends on your understanding their problems – or being seen to try. Do not ignore their issues, but discuss them and be completely honest at all times. Children ultimately get used to the idea, particularly if they can find new friends quickly. However, the older they are the greater the possibility of it being an issue – just be aware of that and be prepared for it.