Tell your children about the move and the reason for it. Tailor your explanation to their age. The youngest children only need to know that a parent has to work at a new office in a new town. Older teens will want, and deserve, to know more.
- Tell them the advantages of moving (new sports, a better school, entertainment)
- Be prepared for negative reactions. Give them a chance to express their feelings and be honest about your own feelings. Gently tell your children about any sadness you may feel about leaving or uncertainty about a new home, job or city. This helps reassure them that they aren’t alone in having worries or concerns.
- Give them some influence and control over some aspects of the move. A toddler can “pack for a teddy bear” or “help” you do serious packing.
- Don’t overload young children with unnecessary details.
- Make a scrapbook containing pictures of your current home, friends, and other mementos of your life together.
- Help older children prepare a list of phone numbers and addresses of close friends, relatives, and other important people in their lives. Knowing they can stay in touch is an important part of a successful move.
- Include children in a preview trip, if possible. Explore the new neighborhoods, schools and town together.
- If the children can’t be included in the homefinding trip, take pictures of your new home, the schools they will attend, parks, and other facets of the new location that will be interesting to them.
- If you can, try to meet families in your new neighborhood before you move. Being familiar with people when you move in will help your children feel more at home.
- Set aside time each day during the relocation to sit down and talk/read/play with your children.
- Allow children to maintain contact with special friends after the move. This can include having friends from the old neighborhood come visit if distances are short, or allowing your child to call friends in your old location periodically. Encourage them to write or e-mail their friends.