Moving and Relocating: How to Help Your Child Cope
Moving is a big deal, especially for children. Here's a few tips on how to help your children cope with the struggles of frequent moving.
June 11, 2019
Every move, no matter how big or small is stressful. However, there is a big difference in moving alone and moving with your family. Packing and uprooting your entire life is difficult for all. Above all, it is the most difficult for our little ones. Some might say, why move in the first place? Why would you disrupt your child’s life? Sometimes, there is no other choice. This is especially true for military families. Many times, moving is not their choice. So, here are some tips that can assist you in helping your child cope with moving and relocating.
The most fragile age for kids to be relocated
Experts say that changes of scenery are the most difficult for middle school kids. Younger children tend to adapt more easily. Older kids tend to have a better understanding of the situation. Therefore, they can cope a bit more easily. Middle school kids are already at an age where they are almost in puberty and they are confused and insecure by nature. When you add moving to the equation, it is very likely that your child might experience feeling unbalanced.
Helping your child cope sometimes means asking for help
You might think you know best. After all, it is your child we are talking about. I must disagree. In some instances, this is far from the truth. You know your child from what you see at home and from the way he/she interacts with others in front of you. Sometimes it is important to ask others for help. Your child might display different emotions and behavior in school. Ask teachers how your kids are doing. Also, ask the guidance counselor for advice.
Remember, it is alright to ask for help. This doesn’t make you a bad parent. In fact, it makes you a caring and proactive parent. People in your kids’ school should have pedagogical knowledge. They might even know specific support groups for military families.
Prepare your kids in advance for your move
When helping your child cope with your move, do not forget to prepare them. I like to communicate with my kids. Make them feel like they are a part of the decision making. The better they understand the situation, the easier they will overcome it. Another way to prepare your children is by taking them with you when going to the new location.
For example, you have some house hunting to do, take them with you. Don’t make up some excuse why it is easier to go alone. Take them with you and make sure they have a say in the process. You will make them feel more valued and secure. After that, if you choose your new home, take them to celebrate with ice cream or burgers in the area. This is a great way to connect to your new community.
Make sure your kids stay connected
Helping your child cope with relocation by staying connected is a great tactic. Here are some ideas on how to stay connected:
- Organize a going away party. Invite everybody who is important to them. By doing this, your children can have a proper goodbye. Also, phone numbers can be exchanged with friends. As a result, your child will stay in touch with those who matter.
- Buy your child a smartphone or tablet. I wish all this technology had been available when I moved to college. There are various apps that provide options for face to face chatting. Therefore, your kid can communicate with ease, with all the people you left behind.
- Connecting with your new community is as important as staying connected to your old one. Take your child to local parks and playgrounds. Find new places that you can enjoy. This can be an ice cream shop or a smoothie place. It doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that you start making new positive habits in your new community.
Timing is everything
I already mentioned that military families often don’t have a say when it comes to determining their moving date. Usually, there is pressure to reach a certain city or base by a certain date. As a result, you might have to move your child to a different school in the middle of the year.
Experience has shown that kids are more likely to experience depression and anxiety when transferring mid-semester or mid-year to a different school. Also, there are instances where new kids get bullied, once transferring to a new school. For this reason, if you can procrastinate your move, do it. This is a great method in helping your child cope with the move. They will feel like they have a fresh start if joining a school at the beginning of a school year.
Get support and help
So far, I talked about kids and how much moving can impact their life and mental state. But what about the parents? Trying to juggle moving details and taking care of your family is not an easy task. You don’t have to go through it alone. There are many programs, that offer different kinds of support to military families. Connect to people who are experiencing the same or similar changes. This way you can get support and advice from people who understand your struggles.
I have shared some basic ways that you can use in helping your child cope with your relocating. Make sure you research this topic even more and get prepared. There are many great ideas on the internet on how to overcome relocating with kids. Good luck with your move. Please remember, we are grateful for all the military families. Thank you to our troops and their families for sacrificing their own lives to keep us safe.
Author bio – Amanda Myers
Amanda is a 42-year-old mom of three. Amanda and her family currently live in Boca Raton, FL. She is a military wife and she works as an operations coordinator for Moving Kings Van Lines FL. Moving to Boca Raton was her third move in 5 years. Therefore, Amanda is experienced and knows the struggles of relocating. In her free time, she likes cooking and going to the beach with her kids.