Whether across the city or the globe, change can be scary for adults and children. These tips will set your family up for success.
- How do you feel? Children take their cues from their parents. If you feel anxious, scared or resentful, they will too. Work through your baggage. It will help everyone involved.
- Talk clearly. “Our family is moving to a new city!” rather than “How would you like to move to a new place?” If it’s not a choice, don’t pretend it is.
- Present age-appropriate facts. How will this directly affect them? “You will have a new room. We are taking your old bed and your stuffed animals. We will live really close to Grandma.”
- Accept all feelings. Don’t expect your kids to instantly love the idea. They may need time to adjust and might vary between excitement, fear and nervousness. Empathize with them: “Wow, sounds like you are feeling unsure about this – that’s pretty normal. Different people react differently to change. Take your time and ask me whatever questions you need to. Do you need a hug right now or do you want to think about this on your own for a while?” Just because your child feels one way right now, doesn’t mean it will be like that forever.
- Give control where you can. The kids can’t decide whether you are moving, but they might choose paint colour for their rooms, new towels for their bathroom or which books are coming with them from the old house.
- Thanks for the memories. Create a picture book of the old house, familiar places and old friends. You could also make a picture book of the new house so that it becomes known and predictable.
- The big day. Move your child’s bedding, stuffies and favourite books in your own vehicle if possible. That way, upon arrival, what’s needed for a familiar bed routine is easy to find.
Julie Freedman Smith and Gail Bell provide tools for real life parenting through their company, Parenting Power™. Using over 40 years of combined experience, they work with parents across the country through telephone coaching and teleconferences to ease the stress and guilt of parents while providing practical solutions to everyday parenting challenges. Visit www.parentingpower.ca
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