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Children and Moving
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Photo: Studiomill
Summer is a time many families pull up roots and move from one house to another. Moving can be stressful on children. What can parents do to help their kids ease through the transitions of relocating? Here are ten tips to making moves easier on children. 
  1. Talk with your children. Explain to them why a move is necessary, when the move will take place, and where you will be moving. Involve them in as much of the discussion as is practical. If they cannot visit the new home or town, take pictures or show them a map.

  2. Listen to your children. Moving is often thought of as a “gain” by parents. But it can be a loss for all family members. There can be a loss of friends, of neighbors, of church family, of a familiar school and many other social connections. Let your children share how they feel.

  3. Care for your children. Stress and fear of the unknown can exhibit itself in tummy aches, headaches, loss of appetite, or thumb sucking. Some children may start wetting the bed or socially withdraw. Be patient and gentle. Affirm their feelings.

  4. Time your “moving” talk. Because younger children have short attention spans, its best to talk about the move closer to the actual event. Older children will want and need more time to process.

  5. Talk positively about the move. Present the good points of why a move is necessary. Don’t be grumpy about all the challenges of packing and finding a new place to live. Maybe there are difficulties in this change for you as a parent, but don’t unload all of that on your kids. Share realistically (“It’s tough to make a move, isn’t it?”), but in an upbeat way, (“I’m sure going to miss our old home, but I’m looking forward to having a bigger back yard for you to play in.”)

  6. Plan for small children to be cared for on moving day. Loading up all the boxes into a moving truck is very stressful. Have childcare provided for your younger children that feels secure for them. Older children probably want to be involved in the move and that can be a helpful step in the transition.

  7. Allow your children to say good-bye to friends. It’s okay. to cry. It’s okay to say good-bye to friends. It’s okay to hug them and ask them to write. Parents can make it harder on their kids by thinking this is all unnecessary.

  8. Invite your younger children say good-bye to the house. This is an individual step based on your child’s needs. It might be helpful for some, but crushing to others. When everything is loaded in the moving truck, do a final “walk through” with your child. Have them see the empty house and say “good-bye”. Some kids might find it traumatic to see their house empty.

  9. Focus on their bedroom when unpacking in the new home. This is their place of security. Set up as much of their room as possible. It will help them settle in and feel protected and safe. Parents can be so stretched to unload everything that their children are overlooked.

  10. Read the story of God calling Abraham to make a difficult move. It’s found in Genesis 12:1-9. Tell your children that moving can be difficult, but can be part of God’s plan for our lives. Then read to them John 14:1-4 and tell them Jesus has a home prepared for us and someday we will never have to move again.
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By Curtis Rittenour. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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