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Friday, April 22, 2011

Moving to a New Home. Will it Affect Your Children?

In all the hustle and bustle of a big move, parents can lose sight on what kind of impact such a large change has on their children. While a move across the country will have a bigger impact than a move across town, any kind of large change in their life is bound to effect them.


Possible Impact On Children
  • Leaving Their Life Behind - For children, the thought of leaving behind what may be the only home they've known can be incredibly difficult. Even if a child has moved before, another move can still be seen as a major upheaval. Familiar locations such as a school or church will be left behind. More importantly, the many friends that your child may have cultivated will no longer be an integral part of your child's life, and leaving behind all the familiarity of their old home can be very difficult to accept for a young one.
  • An Unfamiliar Place - It may take some time for a new home to really sink in as "home" to a child. The sites and sounds will be different, they likely won't know anyone, and they may experience feelings of loneliness and disconnect.
  • Your Stress Is Their Stress - Children often mimic adult behavior, and if they see their parents becoming overly stressed due to all the details and difficulties inherent in a move like planning ahead, getting the house organized, and dealing with companies that provide moving services, they may begin to emulate that behavior.
What You Can Do To Help
Even the most well-adjusted child is going to go through some anxiety in a move. As a parent, there are some things you can do to help your child adjust to their new home and situation.
  • Social Media - Thanks to services like Facebook, it is very easy to keep up with friends and family that live far away, which may help alleviate some of the disconnect your children may feel. Depending on your children's age and maturity this may be a way to keep up with some of their friends. You can take advantage of other modes of communication such as phone calls or video chat to keep in touch with the people they left behind.
  • Social Interaction - While you don't want your kids to forget about their old friends, it is important to get them out into the community to make new ones. School is the most obvious way to do this, but there are other avenues to take as well. If you are a church going family, then various church functions provide a great way for your kids to meet other children. Communities often have programs that can get kids together like sports or library reading groups.
  • Setting Up Their New Room - Kids need to establish a sense of identity and ownership in their new surroundings, and letting them take charge in setting up their new room can help them establish some roots.
  • Exploring the Town - A new location can be scary and unfamiliar to a child. Take some time to explore your town, either by walking around town or by visiting various shops and attractions in the area. The more your child learns about their new home, the more comfortable they should be living in it.
Above all else, you have to be there to listen to your child if they do have trouble adjusting to your move. Listen to what they say and offer an encouraging voice to help them through the transition. They depend on you to be their point of stability through everything, so don't let them down!

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