How to tell a child they are moving
12th April, 2019
As adults, moving house can be both exciting and daunting. There are logistical issues to deal with and practical problems to be solved. Research shows that in terms of life’s stressors, moving home is rated as greater than losing one’s job and even more stressful than divorce!
It is understandable then that we may be too preoccupied to understand the impact which moving may be having on our children. Without understanding the ‘big picture’ they can often be left feeling powerless and confused about moving out of the comfort of the familiar, into the unknown.
While appreciating that sometimes moving house is unavoidable, it is important to broach the subject with your children in such a way as to provide them with the reassurance and confidence to mentally cope with the upheaval naturally associated with moving away from the security of their familiar surroundings.
Try to avoid uncertainty as this can be destabilising. If you are unsure whether you are moving or not, wait until you know for sure before upsetting them unnecessarily.
No matter their age, kids will take their emotional cues from you so begin the discussion as something positive and exciting.
- Make time to sit down and tell them. Turn off the tv or other distractions so you can give them your complete attention. This will provide the opportunity to fully talk through any questions they may have.
- If they express distress or worry, listen to their concerns. Tell them you can understand why they would feel that way whilst providing reassuring feedback.
- Avoid focussing on statements which infer you are powerless such as ‘we have to move’ or ‘there is nothing else we can do’. Instead concentrate on promoting the positive aspects of moving such as being closer to loved ones, greater access to facilities such as a local pool or perhaps having space for a pet.
Children are perceptive and will likely be aware that something big is on the cards. To avoid unnecessary speculation and worry, keep them in the loop as the moving plans progress. Allow them time to adjust to the idea of relocating. If possible, provide the ability for them to acclimatise to their new surroundings before moving in.
This may include:
- Taking them to visit their new kinder or school.
- Visit local parks and take walks around the neighbourhood. Point out highlights and make plans of things you can do together.
- Sign them up for local footy or similar social activity.
Dealing with resistance
Pre-schoolers generally base their security on wherever you are so providing them with extra love and assurance can go along way to mitigating any distress they may feel. School-aged children, however, can be another matter.
Once they begin school kids are forging their own identities and their social group becomes paramount to their sense of inclusion and belonging. Disrupting this can be one of the biggest hurdles for families moving, particularly in instances where children are not naturally social and may have taken time to build a friendship group.
It is not uncommon for kids to declare ‘I’m not going!’ or even worse ‘you’re ruining my life, I hate you!’. In these instances, you may feel helpless but try to address their concerns with understanding and support. Provide opportunities to transition between the new and old by encouraging children to retain their social contacts with old friends while creating opportunities for them to meet new ones.
The decision to move house when you have a family should never be taken lightly but sometimes these things are unavoidable. Wherever this exciting new opportunity in life takes you, remember Kent Removals and Storage are an Award-Winning family-owned company who can take the hassle out of moving, allowing you to concentrate of the most important thing in life – your family.