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Moving Tips – Helping Kids Cope With the Stress of Moving (part 2)

By: Sean Zharfati

Last week we looked at some of the issues which can arise when children move home; how this can be an unsettling experience and how you can approach the subject and minimize the upheaval.

In this week’s entry we look at specific strategies you can employ which will help your kids with the impact of moving. We’ve split these moving tips into three sections; before, during and after to make matters as straightforward as possible.

Before You Move

1)      Sometimes as a parent you have little control in when to move. An office relocation, financial strain or familial break-up are often down to circumstances beyond individual control but regardless of external circumstance, the element within you power is to show children that your love and concern for their welfare remains. Of course, how you choose to demonstrate this is down to you as an individual.

2)      It can be tempting to assume that the best time to move is during the summer break from school and for some children this is the optimum time. However, it’s important to remember that this is not true for all children. Some will adjust better to moving mid-term, giving them time to adjust before the start of the new school year (this can be particularly so when a move takes place in the context of a divorce).

During the Move

3)      Its tempting to throw stuff out before moving, but don’t throw out old toys prior to a move. Losing a one-time favourite toy, even one now discarded may upset your child. Better to wait until after the move when a child is beginning to settle. Asking children after a move which toys they want to keep will give them a greater sense of control. This can be true even of older children, who may lack the maturity to fully express their genuine concerns and instead load all their frustrations onto the absence of a toy they haven’t looked at for years.

4)      For younger children and toddlers its best to pack their stuff onto the truck last. This way it can be unloaded first and their surroundings will more quickly gain a sense of familiarity as their new bedroom will be speedily furnished with recognizable items. In general try to set-up the children’s rooms before focussing on the rest of the house.

5)      Make sure your kids pack a separate bag of essential items, especially if there are a few days between your move-out and move-in dates. Comfort blankets, or other “can’t do without” items are no use to you if they’re being held in storage or somewhere in one of dozens of boxes to sort through.

After the move

6)      In general, planning family visits to attractions in your new locale can be a good strategy. This can create a sense of “coming home” to the new house or apartment.

7)      Whatever it was that you did as a family, where possible, keep up the routine. If for example, you used to grab ice-cream once a week find a new place as a venue for this family activity. This is also a good way to explore your surroundings as you hunt for the best ice-cream, hamburger, etc in your new hood.

8)      Allow children to invite friends from the old neighbourhood to come visit. This not only gives your kids the chance to cement existing friendships but also enables them to explore their new surroundings with a familiar face.

9)      Of course you’ve already done the research but actually signing your kids up to sports teams or other leisure activities can help them settle more quickly. Whether your child is in hoping to be a star quarter-back, a prima ballerina, or musical maestro, joining suitable clubs will assist your kids in making new friends and feeling positive about their new surroundings.

10)  Don’t judge your child’s reaction to a move only on their at home behaviour, rather, monitor your children in the months after a move. Stay in touch with their schools or with clubs they are signed up to. A child’s behavior at home may be markedly different from that in the outside world; indicating that they are progressing in making the transition. Conversely, it may reveal problems they are encountering thus enabling earlier intervention to resolve any issues.

Regardless of where you are moving to or from, it’s possible to make an easier transition for children moving home, especially if you make use of our moving tips

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