Moving is always stressful - whether across the country or just across town. If it is stressful for adults, you can bet its stressful for children. Change is hard and moving to a new home and/or town is a big change! Here are some ideas to make moving a little easier for your child, from someone who has done it more than once:
Give lots of information. Your child wonders where her toys are, where her clothes are, where her bed is. It is a big deal and deserves as much explanation as possible.
Your toys are in these boxes safe and sound. We will unpack them as soon as we get to our new house and have a place to put them.
Don't dwell on different. What will say the same? Will your child have the same bed? The same clothes? Assuming you are moving all of your things to your new house, much will stay the same. make sure the emphasize what will remain the same as opposed to what will be different.
Make a memory book. When I moved with my 3 year old, we made a memory book with pictures of our house, our neighbors and his preschool. It was very helpful to be able to reflect back on our old house as we were settling into our new one. Our favorite thing was finding the similarities.
Be ok with big feelings. When we moved to another state, I had big feelings and so did my children. We missed our friends. We questioned the move. We mourned the loss of our old community. All of this is completely normal. Just remember that your children will look to you for stability during a move. It is a BIG DEAL and it will take some time. Remember to give a name to feelings and validate them.
It looks like you feel sad. I miss our old home too. Let's walk to that park we saw down the street. That playground looked like fun!
Find the fun in your new town or neighborhood. Is there a library near your house? A park? Find some fun festivals or restaurants. Pretty soon, you be feeling more acclimated. Have your child weigh in on what he or she likes.
I sure liked that park near our street. What has been your favorite thing to do in our new town?
A move is a great way to become closer as a family. Your child is very capable of handling it well. That being said, be prepared for some transitional angst and lots of questions. Remain positive ( even if you don't feel that way) and your child will too.
Let Them Fly!