Ease the Transition of Moving to a New Home
Whether you are moving across the country or across town, this can be a stressful time for the whole family. Here are a few things to think about as you prepare for and make your way through this major transition.
Air your own feelings so you can set an open and positive tone for the children.
You need to spend some time talking with a good listener about your own feelings about the move, positive and negative, so that as much of your psychological resources as possible are available to help the children with the transition. Voice your fears, grieve your losses, and take some time to say good-bye to the simple, beloved things you will be leaving behind.
Inoculate them with Special Time
Even the best move is stressful. And it will take a lot of your time and energy to coordinate and bring together your new home. Now, before the chaos is upon you, spend some extra Special Time with the children. Shower them with bursts of your full attention. Enthusiastically enter into play with them. Allow them to take the lead and the more powerful role in the play.
Be open to their core questions and answer affirmatively with warmth and enthusiasm.
Even before children can speak, there are core questions they ask to have answered many times each day. They are the most important and abiding questions of childhood. As they prepare for this transition, be on the look-out for these questions and be ready to remind them of your love and affirmation of their developing selves.
Children ask, “Do I belong?” when they bring us a favorite toy as we talk with another adult. They ask, “Are you glad I’m here?” when they wake at six a.m. and crawl over to us with an expectant look. They ask, “Do you see who I am?” when they make jokes by putting funny things on their heads, or when they playfully dump out a whole bowlful of blocks. They ask, “Will you keep me safe?” as they encounter dogs bigger than they are on the street. And they want to know, “Am I doing all right?” when they climb into your lap as you’re trying to catch five minutes with the newspaper at the end of the day. Your children will benefit from as much extra reassurance on these core issues as you can give them through this process.
Arrange a positive introduction
Before the move, if it’s possible, take your children to visit your new home, their new daycare or preschool, the local playground, the neighborhood grocery store, and other places they will come to know. Arrange ahead of time for them to meet friendly people. Introduce yourself to another family in the neighborhood with children near your children’s ages, and then bring your children for an introduction. Meeting a pet that lives near your new home can be helpful. If you belong to a faith-based congregation, arrange for someone there to introduce you to another family with children. The children need something, and preferably someone, to move “to” in order to balance their feelings about all they will be moving away “from.”
Reprinted with the permission of Hand in Hand Parenting. © 1997-2011 Hand in Hand
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