As if you don’t have enough feelings of anxiety as it is! When you are uprooting the entire family and going to a new location for a new adventure in life, the people that will feel it the most isn’t you, but your children. Moving the entire family comes with its fair share of stress, and while we can get swept up in the entire flow and excitement of moving, we could neglect our children to an extent. After all, you’re taking them away from everything that they know, and depending on their age, they will react in certain ways.
What can we do to ensure that everybody feels the excitement of moving, but also address the common concerns that come with it?
We are inundated with issues that need to be fixed. Whether it’s dealing with removalists or fixing short-term problems, and tying up loose ends, we can be very busy. And these are all things that we have to do. And all of this box ticking can be somewhat alien to our children. After all, if we focus so much on tying up loose ends before we go, we might not have the opportunity to stop and talk to our children to see how they’re feeling. It’s important to check in on them from time to time and see if there’s anything that you can do to help them.
It’s a very simple thing, but when we are too busy, or we are really working hard at making life easier for everyone when we get there, we can neglect how our children are feeling right now. And when we’re stressed, it can seem like every minute is time wasted. But, if you’ve got children that are desperate for your attention, and they are showing the signs of anxiety or stress, put the computer away, and focus on them. Give them five minutes at the very least!
Allow Your Children To Help In The Preparation
Letting your children help gives them the opportunity to become familiar with the situation. After all, if you are spending so much time calling up utility companies, getting the removal company details ready, and ensuring everything goes like clockwork, doesn’t it make sense for you to give your children some tasks so they are part of the process, but it also makes life a bit easier for you? By allowing them to help lets them become familiar with everything that’s going to happen.
And depending on the age of the children, their duties can vary. But what you can do if you have young children that are quite anxious about the whole thing, is give them a task that’s very minimal, like finding nice places to eat in the new town or city. Or, if food isn’t their thing, letting them find out about family-friendly places where the children can go and play. That way, it minimizes a lot of the mystique. After all, we are fearful of the unknown, so just let them become acquainted with the place by giving them the simplest of tasks.
Hitting The Ground Running
It’s all about keeping as many of the old routines as possible. And while you are moving to a new place, if you can hit the ground running by removing some of the mystique, but also sticking to a lot of what you are used to doing as a family, this makes it far more manageable. Your children will look to you for emotional cues. If you are stressed in the build-up to the move, or there’s just too many things for you to do that you are crumbling under the pressure, what are they going to think? As such, you’d better prepare yourself for an abundance of tantrums.
But by hitting the ground running, and making a big plan that can be stuck to, while also adhering to your old family routines, this will make the shift not so seismic. And this is very helpful if you’ve got young children that are pretty confused by what’s going on. You need to do what you can to stick to what’s considered “normal” for your kids.
A very good example would be your child’s bedding. If they are of toddler age, by giving them their blankets and teddy bears they are used to, this gives them that little bit of comfort that could very well help them go to sleep if they’ve been struggling. We got to think about the shakeup in a routine that can drastically impact younger children. So by being as rigid as possible in our normal routines, as well as making sure that we are positive in our state of mind, this will go a long way.
Giving It Time
Of course, it doesn’t all go smoothly. It’s important to note that you may have tantrums, disagreements, and full-blown arguments with your children and them lashing out at you because it’s your fault, you’ve taken them away from their normal lives, and they won’t see that it’s for the greater good.
It’s important to give it time, and let them vent. By letting them express themselves like this, rather than shutting them down and telling them why you’ve done this in the first place, it’s going to help them in the long run. And at the same time, if you have younger children, it’s common to expect regression. For example, if your child was potty trained around 2 years old and they’re now 4 or so, you may very well expect to see a couple of accidents.
But remember, this is how a child deals with a stressful situation. Just be calm and give it time. These things will pass. And if your children are missing aspects of their old life, is there anything you can do to make them feel a little bit better in the meantime? Old friends can be contacted online, or they can phone their grandparents for a nice chat. These things are very important, and shouldn’t be severed as a result of the new move. But also, you don’t want them to rely on their old life to get them through. But it’s about that comfort blanket situation, letting them do what they can to feel that they can cope with each and every day in this new place. But it’s the same thing for you, you can feel like everything has changed, but what hasn’t changed is that you’re all together, as a family unit.
You’re going to be sticking together a lot more, especially in those first few weeks of settling down in the new place. Your children will be going to a new school, and they will take some time to find their feet. What you can do in the meantime is to reinforce the stability of the family unit. Remember, they look to you for emotional cues. So walk the walk, and maintain positivity.
And the things that you’ve been doing together in the build-up to the move can help to achieve that stability, especially as everyone is going through a major change. And this is important to remember, because everyone is going to have their own ups and downs, yourself included, and while you’re all finding your feet, this is where you can all go on adventures together.
Whether it’s finding a new place to go eat, introducing yourselves to the new neighbors, or just going exploring, you have to remember that these are the prime opportunities for you to solidify your relationships even more. During a stressful process like moving, you can either get closer or become more distant as a result.
Helping Your Children Socialize
But you won’t be this solid family unit for long, your children will have to go to school and make new friends. And this can be one of the most difficult aspects of moving the entire family. We can panic that our children won’t make new friends, and they will be unhappy for a long time to come. But, what might be beneficial would be to give them a few pep talks. It’s easier with young children to make new friends, but when they go to school, it can be a very difficult process.
But children make friends in school because of shared activities. So, do a bit of research and find common interests in the local school, as well as the neighborhood. If there are certain games or pastimes that can help your children to integrate with other kids better, go for it. At least this way, if your child has nothing in common with them, they can at least walk the walk in their own way until they are confident enough to make friends by themselves.
Don’t forget, you will go through a lot of stress, not just because of the admin side of things, or the move, but you will genuinely worry about your children. It’s important to be as calm and as positive as possible. And as making a big move is all about starting again, we can get overwhelmed by the stress, but there’s a reason you’re all moving in the first place. Sometimes it can feel like you have made a mistake.
But you know, deep down, this is for the benefit of everyone.