Making Moving Easier for Children

More about the Moving Experience

Helping Kids Cope with Moving

Moving Your Family Abroad

Moving is a major upheaval for everyone in the family, but the transition can be hardest for children. Just thinking about moving often prompts sadness, fear and denial, as well as excitement and happiness.

When preparing to move, parents make long mental lists of things to pack, things to throw away and logistical details to attend to. Children, on the other hand, tend to focus on the “big picture” and wonder, “Will I make new friends? What will my new school be like?”

Here are some tips for making a move easier for your whole family. These suggestions come from family psychologist Kalman Heller, Ph.D., and authors Thomas Olkowski and Lynn Parker, who wrote the book Moving With Children.

Expectations and Preparations

Parents can help children prepare for the transition by putting themselves in their children’s shoes and taking the time to talk about what changes to expect. Children may need to talk repeatedly as they explore their feelings. Let them see that you too are concerned about what daily life will be like in the new home. Involve them in some of the “small picture” chores by giving them a list of things to put in a box, errands to run or address labels to make.

When you talk about the move, do not assume to know your children’s concerns. Ask questions and listen. You don’t need to have all the answers.

Moving is a balance between the old and the new, try to give equal emphasis to each. When talking about your new home, be careful not to infer that things weren’t good at the old one or that it isn’t worth cherishing. When mentioning the many things you’ll miss and remember, be careful not to instill fear or anxiety in your child about the new home. Reinforce the idea that the whole family will work together and support each other in your new life.

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