"But if we move, how can I see my friends?" "That's a really long way away from Granny's house. When do I get to see her?" These are some of the questions kids may ask when moving. They will likely be dealing with many difficult transitions. As a parent who has dealt with this type of scenario more than once, here are some of my best positive parenting methods for helping kids transition during a move.
Be quiet and listen. Before explaining a multitude of things about your move, listen to how your child is feeling. Take him for a walk or relax in the backyard and just let him say what he feels. Sometimes just letting everything out, knowing someone hears you, is helpful. This also gives you some insight into what is needed to help him feel better. It's easier for kids to transition when they know they are heard and that their concerns matter.
Find solutions for keeping in touch with friends and relatives. If you're only moving across town, it should still be relatively easy to keep up with friends and relatives that once lived nearby. But if your child will need to leave them in another state or country, alternative solutions will be needed. Email, Facebook, a cell phone, or messenger apps are just some of the ways to keep in touch. Be creative and figure out what works for your child, depending on age and preferences. It's easier to transition to a move when familiar people aren't out of reach.
Be sure the child knows the reasons for moving. Even if they don't express it, children might feel like a move is their fault. This can especially be true if the move is due to divorce or similar situations. Make the transition more smooth by explaining to your children the reasons for the move. Make sure they know that the move is not their fault.
Remain positive about the move. Regardless of the reason for moving, keep it positive. Represent the good aspects of moving to your child. It's alright to discuss some of the things the family doesn't like about moving. But don't forget to also talk about the good things. Are you closer to a nice, new school? Closer to family? Maybe there is an area attraction the kids would enjoy. It's easier to transition when the good things about it are made obvious.
Be understanding. Sometimes no matter what you say or do, a child is going to be unhappy about the move, at least at first. Lend an ear and an open mind and heart. Even if it isn't possible to go back to the way things were before, your child needs to know that you understand his feelings. You can tell him your concerns as well and how you are dealing with them. You can also just be a shoulder and source of comfort.
In time, your child will very likely transition to the move and before you know it, he'll have new friends to hang out with. The important thing is that you be there for him until he does.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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The Upstream Parenting method will help you learn how to connect with your children, raise them to be independent thinkers, and how to gently guide them to succeed on their self-chosen path. Upstream Parenting is a proven child and growth-focused method that has been put to use with all six of my children, as well as with countless kids I've nannied over the years.
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