Moving to a new neighborhood is already a significant life change; what more is moving to a new country? Maybe it’s a promotion at work that led you to this point or a business expansion. You may be moving for the greater benefit of the whole family, but it’s both an exciting and sad thing, especially for your children.
It’s tough, but you have to break the news to them gently as soon as the decision is finalized. There is no guarantee how they will take, but for sure, they will be sad. To help your children cope with the situation, here are some things that may help.
1. Make them understand why the move is necessary
If your kids are at an age where they can understand matters like this, help them see why you need to move. Tell them about the benefits. Maybe you can move into a bigger home where they can adopt puppies as they have always wanted. Or the place you are moving to is close to the beach, so they can play in the sand whenever they want.
Make them excited about what is coming. Normally, they are afraid; the world is such a big unfamiliar place for kids. Reading them stories like The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day by Stan and Jan Berenstain. It’s a classic that has helped a lot of kids deal with the fear related to moving.
2. Make keepsakes
The hardest part about moving is leaving the people you love. Even for adults, it’s a difficult thing to deal with. Your children will start worrying about their friends, the tree house, the friendly neighbors.
Help your child deal with the sadness by making keepsakes. Join them to create a photo album of their best pictures. Hold sleepovers for them. Take photos of the tree house and have custom metal prints of them to bring to your new home. This way, they bring a piece of your old home to the new one.
At the same time, you can ask your kids’ friends and the neighbors to give a little something to your kids. Ask your parents to give your kids a blanket or anything they can use when they miss them. Maybe your kids can make friendship bracelets, so everyone has something to remember each other by.
3. Help them familiarize themselves with the new country
Culture shock is real and will likely happen. And there is only so much you can do about it. However, what you can try is to make your kids familiar with the new place even before the move. Show them pictures of the house. Show them the famous landmarks.
Encourage their participation by asking them what they think about the new place. Ask them if they are excited about something in particular. Making them participate will help them feel like they are involved in the process and not just being dragged into a situation they didn’t like in the first place.
Tell them about the significant differences between the new place and your old one. Do people wear different kinds of clothing? Do they speak languages other than English? Don’t forget to tell them these crucial details.
4. Explore the new place
Once you are in your new home, pay extra attention to your children. This will be hard given the number of things you need to take care of the moment you arrive. However, don’t make the mistake of assuming your children are just fine.
Visit new places with them. Try the food. If you meet the neighbors, introduce your children to the other kids.
Take them to their new school. Ask permission from the teachers or the staff if they can show your kids the same classrooms they will be in. And then, tell your child that you will be back soon once their classes start.
5. Maintain the same routines you had before
If you had a routine you followed every day at your old place, make sure to still do them. This will help the children not to feel like they are suddenly in a new entire world. The sense of familiarity, even in just the little prayers you say before meals, will make them feel less stressed.
Display the photo of the tree house right away. Make them call their friends from back home. Let them sleep with the blanket their grandma gave them.
Children have a different way of understanding the world. Naturally, they have a different way of processing what happens around them. Pay extra attention to them because if moving is tough on you, it’s twice as difficult for them.