Sunday, August 17, 2008

Impact of Moving on Kids

I am sad to say I am moving right now, but I am also excited about a new adventure. No, I am not leaving the area, just moving a few miles up the street. Still, it is difficult for me. I will really miss seeing my neighbor's everyday. They are terrific! Counselor and Psychologist Dr. Lori Russell Chapin from Bradley University says the way I am feeling is normal and I shouldn't hide it from my kids. I know my almost five-year-old is devastated. He has told me several times he likes the new house, but he doesn't want to move. "Momma, can we just keep this house too?" he said. It breaks my heart. I am sure I will be in tears most of the day!

Dr. Russell-Chapin gave me some great tips for preparing my little one for the big move. I do think they will help!

  1. Ask your child how he/she feels about moving. "Most kids and adults will go through the process of grief and loss because the house and neighborhood are something you've become attached to," she said.
  2. Let the child be part of the moving process. Russell-Chapin said, "Let them see the new house before you buy it. Maybe even show them two houses and let them sort of pick. Let them pick their new room and let them help pack some boxes."
  3. Use attachment by finding a transitional object or two. "If you have a transitional object like a security blanket, a certain picture your child likes, a plant that you can take from your old home to the new one use that. Maybe you can take a picture of their favorite room and put it in their new room. If they have a favorite piece of wallpaper or rocks from the old house, bring them to the new house. That's how we help our kids go from one transition to another," she said.
  4. Set-up a play date with old friends before you move out, but still work to meet new ones.
  5. Create a ritual. Say goodbye to your old house and welcome your new house. You might even want to have a cake or little party for both events. "We are going to go by and talk about all the fun times at the house, even the sad ones. You need to create a new normal. Continue doing the old traditions and then make new traditions," said Russell-Chapin.

Dr. Russell-Chapin says even though moving is hard, you are teaching your kids a good life lesson. She said, "They need to learn how to deal with change and this is a good step. When we moved, I made sure the one thing they had was their beds were made at the new house. The children's rooms I worked on first. I started there the first night. You want them to feel good."

That is my plan! I hope to have the kids rooms ready before we go to sleep tonight! How did your kids react when you moved? Do you have any more tips for us

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Rachael said...

No add'l tips from me, my oldest son was only 11 months old when we moved and he didn't even seem to notice. Of course, he'd been to the new house several times while we were building, so he was familiar with it. I just wanted to say GOOD LUCK! ;o)

Rixblix said...

We did an inter-state move in '05. The boys were in 2nd and 4th grade and it was very difficult. We had wonderful friends, neighbors, schools. This move put us closer to family and in a better insurance situation, but the transition was difficult. There are lots of difference between this community and Oshkosh, WI and it's been a huge learning experience for the boys. My husband and I were both born and raised in the communities our parents still live in and we have friend that we've known since grade school; our boys had a hard time leaving friends they'd had since pre-school. They communicated via email, snail mail and telephone. We talk often about the things we miss and I'm also conscious of including the things we've gained with the move.

Diane Vespa said...

Dr. Chapin is wonderful. She summed it up pretty well. I think the most important thing is to help them verbalize their feelings and give them validation. Let them know it is OK to feel loss and grief, but together as a family you will get through it. said...

Diane, I can't believe I forgot to give you credit for everything you have done! Thank you for a wonderful job and for letting me know about Dr. Chapin!

Shannon said...

When we moved to this house 2 years ago, we took the time to go through the old, empty house before we left and to thank it for everything it had given us - safety, shelter, a happy place where we created many wonderful memories. We included the kids in this and they really seemed to enjoy it... "thank you, house."

Our kids were sad but excited too and there was a transition. We let them sleep together for probably the first month - mostly out of necessity but I think it helped them too!

I think it was hardest on me though, I'll never forget standing in the "nursery" - the room I had brought all 3 of my babies home to, and crying as I said good-bye.

SallyN said...

I am an expert mover, sad to say. When I was young, we moved around from apartment to apartment very frequently. The most significant move, however, was when we moved cross-state just before the 6th grade. It was awful. I wasn't allowed to tell my friends we were moving. And after the move, I wasn't allowed to contact them. I had a horrible time adjusting to the new town (not helped by the boy in my class who lived next door and tormented me, or by the fact that my (single) mom was going back to school so wasn't really around to help me adjust.) said...

Sally, it has been such a sad couple of days for me. My son was hugging the walls the at the old house as we said goodbye today, but leaving in the 6th grade and not saying goodbye to friends, that is a huge deal. I feel guilty now for being sad about our little move down the street.

The boys have already adjusted and seem to be doing just fine. What a relief!

SallyN said...

Oh dear Jen! I didn't mean for you to feel guilty! I guess I needed a closing statement on my op!

I meant for my point to be that it's very important to talk with your kids about the change, acknowledge their feelings about it, and take steps to smooth the transition. Sounds like you're doing a GREAT job!


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