Our recent move left the entire family excited for the new home but also a little sad to leave the home we had lived in for 10 years. I had my own adult perspective on the situation that caused stress. But I had to remember that my kids were also experiencing stress and sadness. Help your child deal with the negative emotions of moving with these tips.
Your child might not need every detail of the move, but don’t keep him in the dark, either. If he doesn’t know what to expect or what is going on, he’s more likely to be afraid of the move. Discuss things like how long until the move, where he’ll go to school and what it will be like to move and live in the new house. Encourage your child to ask questions. Answer them as best you can.
My son was very emotional when we first told the kids we were moving. His initial excitement quickly turned to sadness and fear. Instead of telling him everything would be okay, I let him know that I was feeling emotional about the move, too. I let him know it was okay for him to have mixed feelings about moving. Don’t try to brush off your child’s feelings or tell him he shouldn’t feel that way.
You’re busy as you prepare for a move, but don’t forget to give your child love and attention. He needs the stability and comfort now more than ever, especially if he is upset about the move. There were many times during packing when I found myself lacking patience with the kids or missing out on bonding time with them. Of course the packing had to get done, but I tried to remind myself that my kids still needed mommy to be there.
At 8, my son was old enough to really get involved with the moving process. He packed most of his own belongings from his room. He wanted to help out. It gave him purpose. You probably have a certain way you want to handle the move, and you can no doubt pack a box more efficiently than a child. But don’t take away opportunities for your child to really embrace the move.
Saying goodbye is never easy, even when your new home is an improvement. Find ways for your child to say goodbye to the home he loves. Take pictures so he can remember what it looked like. Leave little bits of yourself in the house. We buried cheap gems in the backyard in the hopes that a child will someday dig and find them. A going away party is another option. Saying goodbye gives your child closure before the move.