As we live this life, we are confronted with decisions every day. Some don’t make that big of a splash in the pond of life, but others can create tsunamis. For a child, moving to another town can be one of those tsunami making events.
Children thrive on having a stable environment. Knowing there is a pattern to people and situations in their life helps them to feel safe and well taken care of. When we, as parents or caretakers, shake things up and change the routine, it creates uncertainty.
Since children don’t yet have the capability to deal with a change like a full grown adult, a situation like moving from one city to the next can cause chaos in their little world. Below are three things you can do that will help make the transition a little less traumatic.
In the months before you actually make the move to your new home, there will many decisions to make. Some of those will be which bedroom belongs to who, where you will place certain furniture, where your children will attend school, and whether or not you might paint the walls in your new home a different color.
These are all decisions you can and should include your children on. Take them with you when you go to explore new school options. This will allow them to meet the principle and appropriate teachers beforehand. They can get a feel for the student body and the layout of the building, as well. Children see things we don’t sometimes.
Listen to them and seriously take into consideration any input they have about the school THEY will be attending. If you decide to do a little painting, allow your child to choose the color. Explore the new home with you them before you move in. All these things will help them to feel their importance in the decision-making process and may help the transition go smoother.
Make A Time Capsule
If there is anything children love, it is to explore pictures of themselves and objects that remind them of accomplishments and important events in their lives. A new home doesn’t mean they have to forget the old one. Create a time capsule to commemorate the move.
Assist them in choosing four or five photos, a couple of toys or awards they won. Then, if your children are old enough, have them write a letter to their future self. If there are any other objects they want to include in the capsule, allow it. While you are helping them, make sure not to forget to choose the things you and your spouse would like to include.
After everyone is satisfied with what they choose to add, bury the capsule in a well-known place on your new property and agree to unearth it at an agreed-upon year. The process will help your children to know how much you value their existence and the part they play in your family no matter where you live.
Let Them Say Goodbye
As adults, we know and understand that having closure in a situation can go a long way in helping us heal from any ill effects that situation had on our life. The same is true for our kids. Think about it. When you move, most of the time, children will see a great loss. They will lose touch with most, if not all, of their friends.
The daily routine they were used to will likely change. Areas they used to play in, such as specific playgrounds, beaches, or laser tag facilities will change. From your child’s point of view, they are losing much more than they are gaining. We know they will make new friends and find new places to play. We know that will eventually be able to handle the new routine with their eyes closed, but they don’t.
Let them say goodbye to the past. Take them to their favorite place to play one more time. Make sure to get the phone numbers and addresses of their closest friends so they can keep in contact. Most of all, let them be sad for a while. It’s ok. We all experience loss in life. Granted, this is not a death in the family, but it may feel similar to a young child.
Moving is often just a part of life. Use the tips above to make sure it is a positive part of life for your children.