Over the years, many studies have been conducted to define and rank which typical life experiences use the greatest amount of stress for the average adult. For anyone who has had to make a move, it probably comes as no surprise that moving ranks within the top 10 of the most stressful events, and once you add children to the equation, the stress level only increases.
We have compiled the following tips to help parents prepare their young children for a move and help them adjust to their new home and community once the move has taken place.
1. Tell your children about the upcoming move as soon as possible. Waiting until the For Sale Sign appears on your lawn, or having your kids find out about the move from neighbors, will only leave them feeling left out and most likely, angry.
2. Discuss with your children, in an age-appropriate manner, some of the pros and cons of moving. Most children get great comfort simply being heard, and by being assured that their parents are committed to helping them adjust to a new environment.
3. Encourage your children to help you investigate your new community. Most cities or town have their own website, which they use to advertise and promote like in their community. In addition to finding information on the area lifestyle, you should also find a list of the local amenities, such as schools, places of worship, recreation centers, community sports associations, and parks. Most community sites will also include locations of the nearest shopping malls, movie theaters, and special attractions such as water parks, horse stables, and public beaches.
4. When packing, resist the urge to throw out all of your children’s old, unused toys. Instead, ask your children to help you prepare for packing by separating their toys into three piles. Plie 1 comes with them to the new house. Pile 2 is for donating to a local shelter or community center, and Plie 3 is only for those toys that they understand are beyond repair, and for safety sake, should be thrown away. Allowing your child to decide what to do with hi/her worn toys provides them a feeling of control in a situation that is largely, out of their control.
5. Pack a young children’s belonging last; allowing them prolonged access to their familiar possessions reduces their anxiety. Ask your children to help you pack some of their belongings into boxes; and be sure to explain that the boxes, and every item that goes into the box, is going to be unpacked at the new house. Assemble some fun packing materials, a variety of brightly colored (washable) markers for writing their name on each of their own boxes, bubble wrap for swaddling their dolls and soft toys, and a selection of stickers to decorate, and easily identify what is in each of their boxes.
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