Moving away or transferring to a new home is quite difficult and confusing for children. They cannot easily understand why they have to leave the home they have learned to love for quite a time, the friends or playmates who have grown up with them, their relatives or families with whom they have shared many happy moments, and the favorite places where they love to visit every so often. Parents have the responsibility to make it easier for children to accept that they have to leave all the things that have been dear and familiar to them.
The following are helpful tips that parents can use in order to help their children cope with moving away:
Prepare the children for moving. Children must be informed about the plan of the family to move to another area months before the actual thing happens. Parents must be honest in telling their children the real reason for moving, e.g., change of job, a divorce perhaps, or for safety or security. This must be explained to them in the language that they best understand.
The move should not come as a surprise to the children. Sudden changes can be stressful and threatening, especially to children. Remember, they are also part of the family, thus, they have the right to know what’s happening to the whole family. Telling them early will prepare them so that they can condition or set their mind on the impending change.
Introduce your new location or home to your children. Even if you have not yet actually moved, the children must already be given hints about the place where they will transfer. So that when they finally arrive at the place, there will be a little sense of familiarity already. This will help them rid of their anxiety or fears of the unknown.
Showing them pictures of your new location, or describing your new home is going to be helpful. Telling them about the fun places (theme parks nearby, museums, lakes for fishing, etc.) they can visit or the different amenities (school, church, swimming pool, gym, malls, tennis courts, etc.) in the area can fuel their excitement and curiosity.
Allow them to say their good-byes. Leaving your old home abruptly, without a chance of saying goodbye to the people and the favorite places you love can be very heart-rending. This is especially true to children. They should be given time to tell their friends and playmates about the forthcoming move; to be able to spend time with them during the last days of their stay in order to collect and store memories that they can keep with them.. These memories will keep them company, especially at times when they will be lonely in their new home where everything and everyone seem to be strange.
It is important also for the kids to make their last visits to their favorite places or hang-outs, to savor the last moments in these special spots. They can always replay these moments in their mind every time they need comfort or the need to belong. Happy thoughts about the past can be a source of consolation when in distress or misery.
Help them sort their stuffs. Packing for the move is a daunting task, especially to children. It is difficult for them to identify what they will need and what they want to bring with them to the new home. This is where you will have to come in. You should assist them in sorting their stuffs by classifying which among them are necessary and useful, have sentimental values, and can be disposed or given away to friends, relatives or charities, if not sold at the garage sale.
However, do not impose; just give some suggestions or guidance to your kids while doing the sorting. Respect also their feelings or attachments toward certain possessions or objects. Also, make a commitment to facilitate communication with friends they will leave behind and support them as they make new friends at the new location.