One of the biggest concerns for many families when it comes to moving to a new community is how the children will react to the move.
It can be a very traumatic experience for a kid who is just starting to establish friendships to have to start all over again in a new community.
This is especially true for military families who have to move more frequently.
However, with a little bit of careful attention from their parents, most children can survive a move without issue…and many will actually benefit from the experience.
The big question on every parent’s mind is how to get to the other side of a major move with the entire family intact. At some points during your move, that might seem impossible.
Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for helping your children adjust to their new surroundings.
Understand and Discuss Their Concerns
It is perfectly normal for your children to have negative feelings towards the idea of moving. If they do, the best way to handle that is to have an open conversation with them about their concerns and formulate a plan to alleviate those fears.
It is important for your children to feel like they are being heard. So even if their fears are unrealistic, it is still worthwhile to sit and listen to them.
For many children, the biggest concern is the fear of the unknown. Taking them to visit the new community before the move and showing them around can be a big help in this department.
Emphasize the Positives
As you do things like show the kids around the new community, you will want to place plenty of emphasis on the positive aspects of that community. Keep them focused on the good stuff.
Think about the reasons that you made the decision to move and relay those reasons to the children in terms they can understand. Even if you are just moving because of work, kids can understand that if it is framed in the right language.
For military families, it’s likely you’ll settle in a community with other military families around. This is a great opportunity to show your kids that they’re not alone and that there are plenty of other kids and families that have to move frequently.
Treat Different Age Groups Differently
Depending on the ages of the kids in your family, they are going to have very different reservations about moving and will respond differently to the positive aspects as well.
Younger children tend to fear things that they don’t know, but will likely put up little resistance to the move. Teenagers, on the other hand, have likely already begun to establish stronger friendships and will definitely fear the idea of having to make new friends.
Schedule Activities to “Come Home From”
Once you have made the move and are getting acclimated in your new home, every time you “come home” to the new house you will be reinforcing the idea that this is home now.
Scheduling more family activities than usual is a great way to keep your tribe on the same page with each other and all “coming home” to the new house more frequently.
Get Active in the New Community
No matter how many times you “come home,” nothing is going to make your new community feel like home more than getting involved.
Sign your kids up for sports or other activities that they enjoy so they can meet other kids their age outside of school.
Volunteer at a local school, church, or non-profit and you will quickly meet new friends and neighbors and establish your position in the community. Volunteering this way as a family can really help everyone establish roots in the new community.
Maintain Contact with Old Friends
Just because you left your old community does not mean that you have to leave the relationships your family had there. It can be very helpful for your children to keep in contact with friends from their old communities, and because of technology its easier to do today than ever before!
Make sure you provide ways for your children to call, email, or visit with their old friends to keep those friendships intact.
Moving to a new community has many pros and cons that each member of your family is going to have to deal with. The most important thing about the entire process is to keep open lines of communication so that everyone is on the same page.
Over time, your family will become more and more comfortable in its new community.