Helping Kids With Moving
This morning at 2:30 I found my 7 year old daughter Jocelyn quietly crying outside her bedroom. I asked her what was wrong and she broke down saying "Mom, I miss my old friends so much. I miss our old house and our old neighborhood." It broke my heart. She had been watching videos on her iPod Touch that she had created with her friends just prior to moving here.
I snuggled her up as she shared a couple of the videos with me and in the dark hours of the early morning we talked about how hard it is to move.
Even when you love the place you've moved to, change is hard. New teachers, new neighbors, new house, new friends. We lived in our old neighborhood for 8 years. It's all my kiddos had ever known.
I wanted to say all the right things to her. I wanted to take away her pain, but all I found myself saying was that her feelings are completely normal and that it's completely OK to cry. Sometimes that's the only thing that helps get the hurt out.
I know she'll be OK. My 9 year old son will be OK too. Someday they won't ever want to leave the neighborhood we are in now, and the Treasure Valley will feel like home to them. We've tried a few different things to help the pain of the moving process and I thought I'd share some of the things that have worked.
1. Find the fun things to do in your new area. Even if you are simply moving neighborhoods, find the cool park nearby or a new place to eat.
2. Break out of your shell and meet your neighbors. I am extremely shy, but my kids were bored to tears by day 3 in our new home. We decided to be brave about meeting the new neighbors. Turns out they have girls right around my daughter's age!
3. Throw a welcoming party. We haven't done this yet, but I think it's a great idea. Once you meet your neighbors, invite all of the kids over, throw a simple party and give them a chance to meet your kids.
4. If you can, let your kids have their own special place. In our home there is two bedrooms and a loft area. We've told the kids this is "their area" and they've deemed it their "club house!" The best part is, they have to keep it clean! I also think allowing kids some freedom when it comes to decorating their room or their special place helps them get excited about a move.
5. If your kids will be attending a new school, try to visit it beforehand. We took our kids to the playground of their new school weeks before they actually started going there. They even met a few friends on the playground that day and it helped ease them into transitioning.
Bottom line, moving is tough. It's tough on adults and it's tough on kids, but I also strongly believe it makes us more adaptable, resilient, and grateful people. If you have a move coming up in your future, good luck!