Buying a new house is super exciting! It’s the biggest purchase most people will make in their lives, and there are a lot of emotions involved in that event. Parents may be experiencing stress related to all the work involved in a move, perhaps the large investment they’re making, there might be a job change in addition to the move. However, for the kids, a move is a big deal, and in some cases, stressful too. Here are some tips to helping your kids adjust to the move.
Let’s face it, change can be scary. It’s a pretty human reaction to be nervous or anxious for change, and it isn’t any different for kids. Your children may look at the move and only see the negative or the scary things. Try to direct their attention to positive changes. Perhaps they’re currently sharing a room and will get their own room. How exciting! Maybe they can choose paint colors and new furniture, decorations, etc. If you yourself have experience of moving around a bit in your childhood, share those stories and your experiences.
It’s important to let your child discuss their feelings surrounding the move. Even though focusing on the positive, overall, will help make the transition smoother, it isn’t a great idea to dismiss the negative altogether. If you talk through your child’s feelings and help them to recognize that their feelings are valid, it will help them deal with them. This can also be a great way to find solutions to potential “problems” that they bring up. For example, if they’re sad or upset that they’re leaving behind friends, perhaps buy them some stationary and pens to help continue that friendship. Maybe they have a device where they can video chat that friend after the move.
As stated above, the unknown can be scary. If you can do some research about the community you’re about to make your home, that might help make the transition easier. Find out what you can about the schools your kids will be attending. See if there are any groups you can get involved with to meet other families. If you’re making an international move, definitely look for communities where your children can ‘fit in’. For instance, maybe you’re moving to a country that doesn’t speak english. If your children don’t speak the native language, that will be an additional obstacle. But if you can find an english-speaking community, that will help. Another thing that will help your child(ren) adjust is getting them involved in activities where they can meet and make new friends.
Goodbyes are hard. But the absence of them can be even harder. Be sure to make time to say goodbye to the people that are important to you and your family. Even making an event out of it is a good idea. This will help your child move forward to new adventures and new relationships.
Everyone and every child is different, there’s no manual to this thing called life. What works for one of your kids might not work for the others. Be sure to reach out for support during this time in old and new communities. Make sure your children know that you’re there for them and support them. In the end, moves help us build life skills that are very important for adult life, but it is a process.