Explaining the concept of moving to small children can be a challenge. If you’re like most parents, you already know that toddlers and preschoolers have trouble with transitions—and few transitions are as difficult as a move. Older kids and ‘tweens present their own challenges during a move, as well. While they have an easier time understanding the concept, that doesn’t necessarily make it easier for them to accept.
Moving With Young Children
Children as young as two have a good grasp of what’s going on around them, at least on an emotional level. This is a stressful time, and your little ones are surely picking up on that. You can help reduce their stress by explaining the adventure that your family is undertaking. A favorite toy can be a marvelous companion to help provide some continuity through the process of moving. After all, the toy is moving to a new home, too!
Moving With Older Children
No two kids will handle the news the same way. Therefore, it’s important to listen and respond positively to their uncertainties. School-aged children (‘tweens in particular) are likely to have social anxieties about leaving their friends and feeling alone in a new neighborhood and school.
Providing continuity can be key to easing the transition for older children as well. Thankfully, technology can help. By allowing your kids supervised Internet and phone access during and after your move, you can help them ease the transition. They can text, talk and even use video chat to stay in touch with their friends.
“From a teen’s perspective this ‘move thing’ may be sabotaging friendships, not to mention ruining his/her life. This is especially true for the teen that has lots of friends and has found his or her ‘niche’ in school whether through sports, clubs, arts, or other activities. Now, you’re asking your teen to uproot and dismiss all of the work he/she has put into making friends and “adjust” to a new school, new house, new town, and strange people. Really? Yes, really…and this experience can feel devastating and awkward to your teen. In general, teens like structure, consistency, predictability and stability. When these things aren’t present it can rock their foundation,” says Raychelle Cassada Lohmann, MS, LPC.
“Do take your teen’s preferences into consideration when looking for a new place. Of course you’ll have the ultimate say, but if he/she feels that their voice is heard it can make your teen feel like they’re contributing to the decision,” says Lohmann.
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