Your family’s move can be an exciting time for your children and for you. It can also be a stressful and sad time. Your child may have different feelings about your family’s move: scared about going to a new school, excited about your new home, sad about leaving old friends or angry with you about moving.
There are several things that you as a parent can do to support your child through this tough time.
Below you will find a checklist provided by Jennine L. Moritz, Ph.D. & Ann V. Deaton, Ph.D. of Coping Kids, to remind you of some of the important things to do before and after a move (and tips on what to do to help your child cope with this life event). Remember, if you are going to be available to help your child, it is also important to support yourself during this move.
Before Your Move:
- Get information about the new place. Gather information from the local Chamber of Commerce, Welcome Wagon and Board of Realtors.
- Tell older, school-age children about the move several months in advance, if possible.
- Share information about your new home, town and state with your child. Give him/her brochures and postcards. create a fun project that offers information about the new place (e.g., make a map or draw pictures of the new house).
- When possible, take your child to see his/her new town, house and neighborhood.
- Visit your child’s future school. Schedule time to meet the principal and some of the teachers and future classmates ahead of time.
- Plan a goodbye/moving party for your child. Involve her in the planning. Help her get addresses and phone numbers of friends and family they will be leaving.
- Request that your child’s school records be sent to his/her new school. Obtain medical and dental records for you and your children.
- Pack some of your child’s essentials for the trip: toiletry items, snacks, games, pillows and special comfort items.
After Your Move:
- Help your child decorate his/her room making it a special place in your new home.
- Make some exploratory trips into the community with your child such as visiting neighborhood parks, nearby restaurants or a skating rink.
- Take your child to enroll in his/her new school and meet teachers and classmates.
- Discuss extracurricular options with your child and sign up for some activities such as piano lessons, gymnastics, Girl/Boy Scouts, sports, clubs at schools, library programs.
- Encourage your child to call or write friends and family to let them know about the new place.
- Listen to your child’s feelings (sad, scared, excited) about the move and offer extra support.
- Help your child take pictures of your new home to send to friends and relatives.
- Get to know some of the other parents and find out about their activities and their children’s interests.