Moving to a new city can be a traumatic experience for children. They have to adjust to a new home, city and school. Children tend to feel apprehensive about moving because of facing new challenges like leaving behind friends, adjusting to new teachers, and having to meet new friends. Parents should understand that certain situations are stressful for children, which can be hard on a child of any age. However, there are certain steps that parents can take to make the transition easier.
Discuss the Move
The best way to prepare children is to discuss the move. Parents should give as much information as possible and truthfully answer questions. They should be prepared to receive negative and positive reactions. Most children do not understand the move may mean an improvement in family life, but may focus more on the negative aspect of the change.
Allow the Children to Participate in Making Decisions
Parents should involve children in the planning process as much as possible to allow them to feel like participants instead of being forced to move. For example, you can allow them help with the house hunting process or with the search for a new school. Allowing your children to make decisions makes them feel like they have a voice and that their opinion matters.
If the family is moving within the same city, then parents should take their children to explore the new neighborhood. This allows them to get familiar with the schools, their neighbors and surrounding businesses. If you are moving closer to the local mall or video arcade, then these factors may make your child feel better about living in a new neighborhood.
Distant moves are harder because of not knowing anything about the new city. Parents should do research to find out more information about the neighborhood, school and community to share with their children. Most real estate agents are willing to provide pictures of the house and surrounding areas for clients. Pictures may make the child feel more comfortable about the decision because of having a visual of their new surroundings. If your child participates in a sport or have a favorite activity, then you should find out where he or she can participate in those activities in your new town.
After the Move
Parents want to keep the same schedule after arriving to the new house or city. This can be hard because of having to unpack boxes and getting the house organized. Children need a sense of familiarity because of the challenges they are going to experience over the next few weeks. Many new experiences at once can be overwhelming and may cause the child to act out. Parents can maintain their regular routine by scheduling the meals and going to bed at the same time each day.
Meet the Teachers
For the first day of school, parents should go along to introduce their child to the principal and to meet as many teachers as possible. Many teachers expect new students to settle into classes after six weeks, which means that parents should have realistic expectations about the transition. Most children will not need the entire six weeks, but others may need more time.
Moving can present negative and positive changes. This transition is one of many challenges that a family faces and it usually makes them stronger. Children can cope with living in a different community with the help of supportive parents.