When there’s a big move on the horizon, it can be a stressful time for the whole family. As an adult, you may reason with yourself — there are several positive things about picking up and moving your life to a new place. Your child, however, may have a harder time dealing with the impending changes. Here’s how to soften the blow and help them adjust as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
Children may feel anxious about adjusting to a new school and finding new friends. If they have a strong attachment to their current home, it could be difficult to adapt to a new environment. A brand new bedroom or a bigger house can bring on anxiety for young children. Psychology Today reports that children who move frequently are more likely to perform poorly in school and have behavioral problems. Luckily, there are several things you can do to make the move easier —even exciting.
Involve Your Child
Talk — and listen — to your child’s opinions about moving. When they know their parents are listening, it instills a sense of confidence and understanding. Their thoughts and feelings about the moving experience might surprise you, or at least give you some insight into their little world.
By empathizing and relating to their concerns, they will feel they have a voice that matters and the power to alleviate anxiety. Take the extra step and involve them in the process of finding a new place to live. Discuss apartments or houses and research together on a site like ForRent.com.
Provide a Perk
In addition to conversing with and including your child in the decision-making process, get them excited for the big move by providing a perk, such as giving them their own room and allowing them to decorate it themselves. This will not only provide them with a safe space they can call their own, but it will give them a chance to express their creativity as well.
Let them help unpack — putting books onto the bookshelves, or organizing the kitchen drawers can give kids a sense of ownership, making them more likely to accept the new place as home.
Get Them Excited
Among the biggest worries of moving for your child will be dealing with the unfamiliarity in environment and people. To ease their discomfort, you can team up with your child in exploring the new city and making definitive plans to get plugged into the community. It can be tough for kids to be plucked from their existing social circles and be expected to instantly thrive. That’s why it’s important to support them and walk through this process together.
Explore nearby parks, museums, sports complexes and gardens. Download Walkit, an app that maps what’s within walking distance of your new place. Make the effort to enroll them in an after-school program or a class with the nearby parks and recreation department. Here they can meet other kids who share their interests. Each and every effort to make the move more comfortable for your child will pay off in shortening their adjustment period. Moving may not always be easy, but it can definitely be more than manageable for every family.