Moving – Make it Easier on the Kids

Unless you’re moving to a new home within your current Alexandria neighborhood, this transition can be both exciting and terrifying for your school-age children.

In addition to leaving a home they just might love, they’re leaving their friends, their playgrounds, their school, family members who lived nearby, their favorite ice cream shop – everything they’re familiar with except for you and their siblings.

How can you make this transition easier?

First, by creating a sense of adventure. Get them excited about what they’ll find in their new community. Do a little on-line research to see what attractions await them.

Find out about day-trips the family can take once you’re settled in your new home.

Next, if they’re old enough, get them involved in choosing that new home. While it’s true that you may live there for the next 20 or 30 years and the kids will probably move on to their own homes in a few short years, do listen to their input.

Once you’ve moved, make it a point to get acquainted with others in the neighborhood – especially those who have children in the same age group as yours. Invite people over so the kids can get acquainted in a non-threatening environment.

Find activities that your kids will love. Whether it’s an organized group such as Scouts or weekly trips to the pool or water-slide, put them in places where they can make new friends.

Involve them in decorating and arranging their new rooms, so they’re creating a space that’s truly “theirs.”

Go to school ahead of time and let them meet the teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, and others who will play a part in their daily lives.

Lastly, let them feel free to vent their feelings. Telling kids to “Get used to it” or “Get over it” when they’re mourning the loss of their friends, community, and old home is a sure way to cut off communication between you and make them feel even more miserable.

Instead, let them know that the move is a bit scary for you, too. Let them know that you also miss old friends and old places – and that it’s normal to feel the way they feel. But now is the time for the new adventure.

At the same time, don’t let them wallow in their despair. Push them to make the effort, and help them as they learn to love living in their new community.

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