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How should I prepare my child for a move?

Michele Borba
Psychology
Here are some tips to help you prepare your child for a move:
  • Remain upbeat and calm
Keep your concerns to yourself, and remain as positive about this venture as possible. Your kids will pick up on your moods and their outlook will be greatly influenced.
  • Accentuate advantages
Explain the benefits to your child so he has a more positive outlook as well as an explanation to give friends: "You'll be able to play hockey like you always wanted!" "We'll be living in a bigger house." "We will be closer to Grandma."
  • Give a timeline
Explain the move step-by-step tailored to your child's developmental level. Younger kids have shorter attention spans, so don't offer too many details at once. Older kids want specifics: Where are we moving? How are we getting there? When are we moving? What does the new house look like? When do I start school? Provide details and make sure they come from you or your parenting partner.
  • Anticipate concerns
Be prepared for resistance and some acting out. Be patient. Answer those questions calmly. The right children's book can be wonderful in helping your child open up and discuss her concerns.
  • Research the new location
Ask the realtor to send photos and floor plans of your new house. The Chamber of Commerce can provide maps of the community and pamphlets of children's activities. Subscribe to the local newspaper so your family can scope out what's available. Log onto the school and city website for your kids to check out.

Go online with your kids to check out the new school, soccer club, and even see an aerial view of your house and neighborhood. Your child can view his school curriculum, swim center, park and recreation program, plus web sites for the new area Boys and Girls Club, scouting opportunities, high school football team, and local weather forecasts. All this can help her start to feel more settled about the new location even before the moving date.
  • Include your child in the moving process
Allowing some choices will help your kid feel more like a participant with control in the process.

"What kind of bedspread would you like? Where should we put the swing in the backyard? What color should we paint your room?"

Provide an older child with a floor plan of the house (and especially his bedroom), so he can arrange in his mind how he wants his furniture placed ahead of the move and even give directions to the movers.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.