MOVING WITH KIDS

 
Even when parents are excited and happy about moving, children of all ages experience some degree of stress. A positive attitude will go a long way in helping  your children receive the news of a move. Ask them for their feelings and listen carefully to both negative and positive thoughts. Be understanding and patient about their misgivings and hesitations. Try and take the children with you to visit your new neighborhood prior to the actual move.
 
Each age group will react to the move with different concerns:
Infants are probably the easiest to move. Try to maintain their general routine so their schedules are not greatly upset. Ask your agent for a list of reliable babysitters in your new neighborhood.
 
Preschoolers will find the move troubling especially when family routine and surroundings become strange. The idea of leaving familiar people and places will be upsetting, so be patient. Talk with them about moving trucks and boxes and let them help with packing and unpacking. Try to establish a normal schedule soon after the move to make the adjustment easier.
 
Elementary school children will worry most about leaving their friends. Visit your children's new school and if they do not wear uniforms, ask if there is a dress code- take a look a t what other students are wearing. Encourage tem to get involved in after-school activities or sports programs to help them re-establish friendships. Reassure them that they will easily fit into their new neighborhood and that it's  is just a matter of time before they make friends.
 
Take your younger children and show them around their new school. Visit the cafeteria, library, gym and their new classroom. Later, trace the route to and from school and familiarize them with their bus stop.
 
Teenagers are the most difficult because a relocation during adolescence imposes additional changes on an already changing young person. The disruption of a ten's social support system can force him to move back into a position of being more dependent on the parents. For teens, regaining a  measure of independence will be critical , and contacts with accepting peers and other adults will be particularly important. A minister, a youth group leader, another teen with common interests, an older adult who wants help with yard work or other chores can provide important links outside of the family.
 
Unless you can move toward the end of a season, don't worry about moving during the school year. Summer moves can actually be more difficult for children to adjust to because neighborhoods can be deserted while children are on vacation or away at camp. School provides a place for children to make friends, and most teachers will try to be more sensitive o your children's needs.
 
Help your children plan a going-away party. Give each guest an stamped envelope with your new address on it to encourage letter-writing.
 
Encourage your children to exchange photos and addresses with friends with whom they want to keep in touch, and possibly allow  a few long distance phone calls with "best friends" after the move to ease the adjustment.
 
Help arrange and decorate the children's rooms immediately. If you can get the kids settled, everything else will go more smoothly.
 

 
The following special publications are available upon request from our Relocation Resource Center:
 
Kids "on the move". A 32 page booklet which teaches parents exactly how to help their children before, during and after move. Practical suggestions fro kids from kindergarten thru college are provided in question and answer format.
 
Teen Talk.  Straight Talk About Moving, One Teen to Another.
Teenagers are of the utmost concern to relocating parents. This will help  teens and parents with practical advice about new schools, new friends and adjustment in general. The tone is upbeat and shows teens how relocation helps them gain confidence in future endeavors.
 
The House That Waited.  Little Children are often overlooked during a move because of the heavy demands upon parents. This little coloring book is all their own with a delightful story to help them express their feelings so that they can look forward to the move.
 
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 10.8 million movers each year are under the age of 18; 3.4 million of these are preschoolers.

Source: Mobility Magazine