When it comes to moving, children can be pretty resilient. But an interstate move can be tough on anyone. Long distance moves mean leaving certain parts of your old life behind and experiencing many things for the first time. This can be overwhelming for children who aren’t as familiar with what’s going on and why. The best thing you can do is help prepare them for the change starting right now. Here are a few proactive ways to help them cope with an interstate move.
Involve Them in the Process as Much as Possible
Sit down and discuss the move with them as early on as you can. Give them a heads up of what’s to come, so they have time to digest the information and have their own time to work through it. If that’s not going as smoothly as you’d hoped, make sure they’re as involved in the decisions and planning as much as they can be, so they have the opportunity to turn some of that frustration into excitement.
Ask them to make a list of all the things they want in a new school, new home or neighborhood, and let them know their opinion matters. Have them write down all the things they’re worried about with the move and try to go through and alleviate each one. For example, if one thing on their list is no longer seeing a good friend, set them up on Skype or Facetime and test it out before you leave. If they’re anxious about their new school, show them photos of the building and talk about the various sports and clubs they offer that fit their current hobbies, so they have more reason to get on board.
Get to Know the New Area Before You Move
Another great way to help your kids get excited about their new home and also help you prepare for the move as well is familiarizing yourself with the area as much as possible beforehand.
Research the local businesses, park systems and lifestyle of the locals. Share this information with your kids as something to look forward to. Is their favorite chain restaurant only a couple blocks away? Is there a basketball court nearby that your little baller will love? Tell them! And any similarities between your current home and your new one that you can point out too, the more comfortable they’ll feel.
Get Involved in Their New School
As soon as you decide on the right school, set up meetings with their principal and teachers. Schedule these meetings a week or two after your child has gotten settled into classes, so you can review how things are going. One of the first things you can ask is about strategies the school may offer to make the transition easier on new students. They may have buddy systems or clubs that will help your child make new friends and learn their way around the building.
Then, find out what ways YOU can get involved in their school. Whether it’s volunteering for fundraising events or becoming a classroom parent, the more you’re present, the more comfortable they’ll feel with the new experiences. Plus, it’s a great opportunities to meet other parents who would love to schedule play dates with you.
Allow the Tantrums & Regression
It’s not uncommon for things to not go perfectly throughout the whole transition. Give them the opportunity to adjust at their own pace. Validate their feelings and always welcome opportunities to talk about them. Temporary regression is a natural way for kids to react to stress, which could even lead to sleep disruption, clingliness, appetite change and more. These things take time, but if they persist over a couple of months, talk to their pediatrician for more information on how to help them.
Lead by Example
Your kids are going to look to you first for cues about how to feel during the moving process. If you’re throwing a pity party, they’ll follow suit. Stay as positive as you can, but also don’t fake it. It’s important for your kids to know you may share similar feelings of sadness and see how you deal with them. By masking everything you’re feeling, you’re only creating a disconnect between one another. While you don’t want your negativity to rub off on them, you want them to look up to you for how to see the good in the change and focus on the adjusting to the newness together.
Stick to the Schedule They Know
Follow your old schedule as closely as you can. It’ll help bring a stronger sense of familiarity to a new home. Whether it’s driving and picking up your kids from school versus taking the bus or enjoying certain family rituals like weeknight dinners, consistency is important in a brand new environment. And the younger your children are, the more important this tip will be. Changes to comforting bedtime rituals can be the difference between restful and sleepless nights.
Children are quick to adapt to new things when they’re willing. With a little help, you can make sure they have the best chance at a positive experience with your interstate move. For more tips and help preparing for your move, contact the moving experts at Louderback today.