5 Tips for Those Relocating with Children to the Daytona Beach Area
Relay for Life of Port Orange (2015)

How to Help Your Child with Moving


How to Help Your Child with Moving
by: Jacqueline Bodnar


Every year millions of people move and as a result many children have to change schools. Moving and starting a new school can be a very stressful experience for a child. There are some things that you can do before, during and after making the move to make it a smoother experience. 

Address Fears. “Try to get your children to tell you their concern about the move,” explains Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore, a psychologist and co-author of “The Unwritten Rules of Friendship: Simple Strategies to Help Your Children Make Friends” (Little, Brown, 2003). She explains that some of the worries and fears that they have may be something that you can easily address. Even if there are issues that you cannot offer an immediate solution for your child will feel better knowing that you have listened to them and care about their concerns. 

Give Details. The idea of moving brings about a lot of uncertainty for children. Let them know as soon as possible so that they have time to adjust to the idea. Try to give them as much detail as you can about why they are moving and what the new place will be like. You can always help them explore the new city on the internet so they are familiar with some of the things they will see when they arrive. Children feel better when they have an idea of what to expect. 

Join Play Groups. Check into area play groups. Many neighborhoods have play groups that you can join that will get your child started on making friends and getting involved in activities. If your child is little reserved when it comes to inviting kids over to play, you might want to invite one over until they feel more comfortable. 

Keeping Old Friends. Talk to your child about their current friends and encourage them to find ways to stay in touch after the move.  Let them know they can still maintain relationships with them. You might want to also suggest ways that they can keep in touch by getting them some nice stationary, post cards or a prepaid calling card. 

Meeting New People. Once they get to the new home encourage them to make new friends and get involved. “Many children have trouble joining a group, either because they hang back, waiting for an invitation that never comes or because they barge in, disrupting the group activity,” explains Dr. Kennedy-Moore. Many young children need a little help in identifying who is open to new friendships and how friendships are formed. 

Getting Them Involved. They will be more open to the experience if they feel like they are part of what is going on.  A great way to get them more interested is to let them help pack things around the house. Once you arrive at the new house let your child take part in helping to decide how their room will look and be arranged. Make sure that the whole family is involved in giving a positive farewell to the old neighborhood. 

Starting School. Probably one of the most daunting things about moving is for a child to start a new school. Before school starts take your child to the school to show them around the campus and meet their teacher, that way they will feel a little more comfortable on the first day. Dr. Kennedy-Moore suggests that if the new school does not have a welcoming club ask the administration about finding a student guide to help your child get started. 

Stay Optimistic. Children often pick up on how a parent is feeling and will exhibit those same feelings. So keep in mind that if you are feeling stressed about the move your child will likely also start acting the same way. Maintain a positive attitude and show excitement and they will most likely follow. “Empathize with your children’s concerns, but also let them see that you are confident they can handle the move,” says Dr. Kennedy-Moore.

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