Moving is stressful on adults so why would anyone think that it would not be stressful for a child. Adults have a difficult time saying goodbye and dealing with feelings of homesickness; however, a child has an even tougher time because many have not developed the level of maturity to discuss these feelings and work through these issues. Therefore, parents should be supportive during this difficult time. Furthermore, parents should help their child prepare for the move and anticipate that their child will need time to adjust and accept the move.
To help your child prepare for the move, suggest that they decide how they want to say goodbyes. You might want to suggest a sleepover for their close friends and a family party for neighbors, teammates, school friends and others that the entire family can enjoy. Encourage your child to make a scrapbook at these parties with pictures of their friends and personal notes from each friend that they can take with them to their new home. Having a book for names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses is a great way to show your child that they can stay close to their friend and will not loose touch once they are in their new home.
Show your child a floor plan of your new home and point out where his or her room will be in the new house. Give your child paint samples, wallpaper samples and a sketch book so that he can begin to plan his room. This helps him begin to get excited about the new home and imagine himself living in his new room. Making it “his” room is an important step in accepting the move.
Have your child pack a special moving day box with essential items that they will want to keep with them for the trip to their new home. This may include their scrapbook, a favorite stuffed animal or toy that will comfort them when you leave your home. Also, include toothbrushes, combs, retainers, glasses and other items that you do not want to accidently pack in case you need it immediately.
The key to helping your child cope with moving is to make them feel comfortable about expressing their feelings. Explain that anger, sadness and a little anxiety are emotions that are to be expected when you move and that even you feel those emotions at times during the moving process. Allow your child the opportunity to express his or her feelings to you and take time to listen to your child no matter how many times he or she needs to repeat how much they hate leaving their home, friends and school. Your child may need to verbalize these feelings numerous times to work out the complicated emotions they are experiencing.