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ChristineClees
ChristineCl... asks:
Q:

I'm a single mom moving with my 4 year old son.  Any advice?

I am trying to get all of the information I can about Moving with Children. I am a single mother and will be moving soon with my 4 year old son. Any advise? I loved the information on this page, and have also found some great advice on
http://blog.thebittingerteam.com/
but would like to know if any parents out there have encountered any situations and/or could share their story with me. All help is greatly appreciated!!
In Topics: Single parent families
> 60 days ago

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kat_eden
kat_eden , Parent writes:
Hello!  Our family moved last year with a 2 and 4 year old.  It's a GREAT age to move kids.  I think you have a lot less to worry about than you think you do.  They adapt REALLY well and actually have an easier time making new friends and getting settled in new places than adults do!  My kids stayed really interested in their "old friends" for about 4 months.  Now we talk about them occasionally and we still exchange letters and emails but they're really really settled and happy in their new lives.  

To help ease his anxiety about the move, start "selling" the new location.  Think of things you think he'll be excited about ("We'll live really close to the fire house, you can see fire trucks every day!"  or "There's a really cool playground in our new town...you're going to love it" or "in our new house you'll have a really great bedroom"  "You'll have a chance to make all kinds of fun new friends" etc)

Acknowledge his fears and let him know that you feel nervous too ("I know you feel nervous about leaving our house...I feel a little nervous too!...but we're going to stick together the whole time and have a great adventure together getting to know our new house and town and making lots of new friends.")

One great way to help him is to make a memory book for him of the house and town where you live now.  Just drive around with him and ask him what he'd like to take pictures of (maybe his favorite playgrounds, restaurants, the library, the fire house, any friends houses, his school, etc).    Take lots of pictures of the house you live in including his bedroom.  If you can, take pictures of his friends and other people in the area he loves (his teacher?  a neighbor?)  You can either just stick the photos in a scrapbook or make a "real" book out of them through an online service (I use Shutterfly...www.shutterfly.com).  Let him spend as much time looking at the book as he wants to as you're moving and once you're in the new place.

Also make sure that he knows he'll be able to keep in close touch with his friends.  Tell him he can write them letters, send them emails and even call them on the phone (make sure you collect contact information from everyone before you go).

Packing up the house can be really stressful for kids - seeing all their stuff get put into boxes.  Make sure he understands that all of his things will come to the new house (my kids had a hard time understanding which things would come and which things would stay with the house like their bedroom doors...funny!)  As you're putting things in boxes you can say things like "bye bye dishes...see you in the new house!".  Also, if he has a special stuffed animal or toy, make sure he gets to have that with him all the time through the transition.

When you arrive in the new house, try to make it as special as possible.  I talked to my boys ahead of time and had them decide what "theme" they wanted for their new rooms (one picked trains and the other picked outer space).  I bought new bedding, curtains, wall pictures, etc before we moved so on the day we arrived I could set up their rooms first so they had a new place to call "home" right away.

Then as soon as you can you want to get out and start looking for new friends.  Take as many trips to the playground, library, and museums as you can.  Kids this age are GREAT at making new friends!  You just have to make sure to follow up with the parents to get contact info so you can start having playdates.  Hopefully he'll also make new friends in preschool.


You mentioned that you're a single mom.  If you're currently living near your son's dad and are now going to be farther away, try to give your son as much security about that as you can.  

Be ready for him to regress a little bit in terms of his behavior.  He may become a little more clingy or tantrum prone.  He may start wetting his bed.  He may develop some new phobia - bugs, monsters, etc.  Try to give him a little more leeway than you might usually.  When he feels more secure in his new environment the little boy you know and love will come right back.

Finally, be ready for the fact that the move will be hard on you too.  You'll be more stressed and more exhausted than normal.  As best you can, try not to have that impact your son.  Try to stay patient with him and give him as much of your attention each day as you can.  If he thinks you're falling apart he'll be more likely to fall apart himself!

I hope this helps!  

Please let us know how it goes!

Kat
Education.com Community Team
> 60 days ago

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socialworker
socialworker writes:
You might want to check out the picture book "Harry the Happy Caterpillar Grows: Helping Children Adjust to Change" and use it as vehicle to talk about the impending move with your child.The story centers on Harry,a caterpillar that has a fantastic life full of games, friends, school and leaf eating. He is stunned when, one day at caterpillar school, he learns that he is expected to  build a chrysalis and become a butterfly. Harry vows to remain a caterpillar forever, as his friends build their chrysalises and move on.  Eventually, Harry  learns to accept change as a necessary part of life, and  joins his friends as a butterfly. There are tips in the back of the book to help parents and educators use the story as a vehicle to help kids talk about their feelings about change, and teach them coping strategies to manage their anxiety.
> 60 days ago

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EricaG.
EricaG. writes:
I have been in your position and to be honest it is not a bad experience. You read about the horror stories online and it might sound scary at first, but you can do it.

I moved out of state with my kids and it is the best thing I've ever done! The schools are better and I found a lot of job opportunities. It has been two years since my move and I made some great new friends too. This is the website that helped me
> 60 days ago

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