Though it may be a wonderful opportunity for you, moving to another city can be traumatic for your children. After all, they’re being suddenly uprooted from their neighborhood and taken to a strange new place while their friends get to stay put. Fortunately, kids usually adapt quickly to new surroundings. Help make their transition as carefree as possible by using these ideas:
- Tell them about it. Keeping the move a secret until the last minute will only shock and frighten kids. They’ll be better prepared to move if they have lots of time to handle the emotions of the coming change.
- Be a know-it-all. Kids learn from you. Let them see that you’re looking forward to living in a new spot. Answer all their questions honestly. Let them share how they feel, too, and be supportive if they’re anxious.
- Share your vision. Quell fears by taking the kids to your new house before you move. Show them their new bedrooms. Walk around the yard. Point out where their new swingset will go. Seeing is believing— and comforting.
- Travel around. If possible, let your kids see their new school and new place of worship. And ask your real estate agent for a mini-tour of the area so your kids can see playgrounds, ballfields, movie houses and ice-cream stands.
Remember, too, that no matter how hard you try to prepare your children, they’re going to miss their friends and the fun of the old neighborhood. It’s normal for kids, especially those in elementary school, to need an adjustment period of up to eight weeks before they feel accepted.
No two kids adjust at the same pace, and some siblings may take longer than others—especially if one child is naturally quiet or shy. But if any child starts exhibiting real or imagined ailments, seems depressed or irritable, languishes in school or becomes defiant, seek your (new) doctor’s help.