How Parents Can Make Moving Easier for Kids
Stories and evidence tell us that moving as a child can have effects that last into adulthood, and these changes are often not for the better. The New York Times found that children who move frequently tend to perform worse in school and exemplify more behavioral problems. They also cite a study from the American Psychological Association that finds that children who relocated frequently may have related problems that persist into adulthood. So, there’s no doubt that moving to a new town, city, state, or country – especially more than once – should be avoided if possible. However, a move may be inevitable, and if it is, parents should do all they can to make the move as smooth as possible for the children’s sake.
Selling and Buying a Home
The first step in easing the transition for your kids is not springing the news on them – take care with both the timing and approach when you tell them about the relocation, advises RedFin. Have an open conversation where they’re free to share how they’re feeling and ask questions. If they aren’t able to go with you on house-hunting trips, make sure that your children are able to see the house you want before you put in an offer. Their happiness and comfort during and after move can be much greater if they love their new abode.
When selling your home, find a right bid but do not be too picky. Avoid these mistakes that are commonly made by home sellers. The for-sale sign out front can be a constant reminder to the children that their life is about to change completely, and getting your home off the market as quickly as possible – without sacrificing significant value – can be the first step in moving on to a new life.
The Trouble with Moving
The reasons for moving are many. A better job opportunity, financial limitation, divorce, and natural disasters are just four of the countless reasons why a family may need to relocate. Moving is tough on parents, who are likely to find comfort in the routine, familiar sights and friendly faces of their previous life. But it is children who are far less emotionally-equipped to cope with the lost friendships and sense of upheaval that comes with moving. Psychology Today notes that children who are introverted and already prone toward anxiety tend to be most affected. If parents do not take steps to mollify the natural anger and/or anxiety these children will feel after being told that they will have to move, adulthood problems could result in difficulty forming meaningful relationships. Fortunately, there are steps that parents can take to make moving less traumatic for their children.
Steps to Ease the Stress of Moving
Parents.com offers advice on helping kids cope with a move from the perspective of a parent who knows that they did not do it perfectly the first time. Sometimes, knowing what not to do can be just as valuable as knowing positive ways to help ease the burden of a move. This parent recommends breaking the news of a move about a month in advance. This will allow the child time to say goodbye to their friends and come to grips with accepting life in a new location. But it will not provide too much time so that they dwell on just how much they will miss their old life. PsychCentral recommends keeping the kids involved in the details of your new hometown, drumming up as much excitement as they can garner. Read up on their school, local youth sports teams, and other positive features of a town that will help them realize moving is not all bad. Allow children to decide, within reason, what they want to keep and what they can give or throw away as you pack your belongings. This will allow them to feel some sense of control amidst greater feelings of helplessness.
It is hard to fathom how military children cope with the seemingly constant upheaval that their parent’s career necessitates. Even one move in a child’s life is stressful, traumatic even, and going through this process repeatedly can garner a sort of numbness that can cause issues into adulthood. We must accept the sacrifices which moving necessitates, but parents should also do all that they can to expose their children to the positive side of moving.