About Change and Moving
Moving can cause children to feel:
- Insecure because they do not know what is going to happen to them in the new location, school
- worried that they won't like living in their new home,
- sad at having to leave the people and places that are familiar to them,
- frustrated because they feel as if they cannot control what is happening to them, and
- Overwhelmed because they have to start over, make new friends and develop a new life for themselves.
Moving can cause children to think these kinds of thoughts:
- Why don't I get to decide whether I will stay of move? It's not fair that other people can make decisions for me!
- Will I ever see my friends again? What will I do without them?
- I feel comfortable and secure in this house and neighbourhood, because I know them so well. How will I learn everything I need to know about the new place, school and neighbourhood?
- What if I don't like the new place, school?????
How can you adapt to moving?
Someday it might be necessary for you to move. If this should happen there are things you can do to help yourself adapt to the change.
Try to follow the six steps below:
Step one: Face it
Face the fact that the change is taking place!
Step two: Accept it
Give in to the reality that you will be moving. Do not resist it. Fighting the change will only make things harder for yourself and the people around you.
Step three: Learn all you can about it.
When you do not have enough factual information about something, your mind often makes up its own thoughts about it. Sometimes these thoughts are frightening. Even though the thoughts might not be true, they can cause you to feel uncomfortable.
It is important to find out all the information about your future move. Try to find out
- Why you have to move
- Where you will be moving
- When you will be moving
Also, learn all you can about
- Your new home and the new neighbourhood,
- The school you will attend,
- The church, temple, or synagogue you might attend,
- Parks and other areas where you can play and
- Community programs and activities available to people of your age.
Step 4: Decide what you can do about it.
Determine what you can do to make the move a positive experience for yourself and the people around you.
You might decide to do these things before you move:
- Before you say good-bye, get the addresses and telephone numbers of your special friends and neighbours so you can keep in touch with them
- Collect photographs and mementos from the community you will be leaving. Store these items in a scrapbook or special box.
- Help your family pack. Ask your parents to let you pack your own belongings.
- Make an effort to be kind to other members of your family and remember that moving can be hard for everyone.
Step 5: get into action
You might decide to do these things to help yourself feel better after you move to your new home:
- Unpack your own belongings and set up your own bedroom.
- Make new friends and get involved in your community as soon as possible.
- Concentrate on finding things you like about the new community
- Telephone or mail/write to your special friends and neighbours
- Look over your photographs and mementos from the community you left
- Talk to your family about how you are feeling about the move.
Do the things you have decided to do! This will give you a sense of control over the move.
Step six: Continue to talk about the change until you have adapted to it.
Talking about a change makes it easier to adapt to it. Make sure that you share your thoughts and feelings with a person who understands enough to respect and honour them.
It is important to remember this:
The changes you experience, whether they are wanted or unwanted, are a part of living. They make it possible for you to grow and live a healthy, productive life.
Tips for Parents
More than 40 million people move every year. Of that number, more than 10 million are school-age children who must leave behind familiar friends, schools and neighbourhoods to start over someplace new. For many of these children, moving can be a fun and exciting time, but it can also be lonely and unsettling.
Here are some suggestions for easing your children's transition from the old to the new.
Before the move
Tell your children about the move well in advance. School-age children need six to eight weeks notice to get used to the idea while still in the security of their old home.
Share as much information as you can about the reasons for your family's move and how it will take place. The more your children understand about what is going on, the less anxious they will feel.
Empower your children by allowing them to have some control over the move. For example, encourage them to make decisions about which of their things to keep or discard, and suggest they pack their own room.
Allow your children to express both positive and negative feelings about the move.
Encourage your children to find out as much as they can about their new home.
Knowing what to expect will help put them at ease.
Read stories about moving, or encourage your children to read them on their own.
Find out about the school systems, Call country or state departments of education for results of standardized tests.
Transfer school records to the new school as soon as possible so there will be no delay in starting your children after the move.
Try to arrange a tour of the school before the classes begin so your children have chance to become familiar with the layout.
After the move
Celebrate your arrival at your new home. Let your children know that this is a special occasion.
Try your best to maintain important family rituals during the first few weeks. For example, if your family eats by candlelight every Sunday, do so - even if it means setting out paper plates and using cardboard boxes for tables!
Give your children a sense of ownership over their new home by involving them in decorating decisions, especially about their own rooms.
Get involved in your children's new schools. Meet with their teachers to find out how your children are adjusting to their environment.
Find out if there is a parents' club of play group in your new area. Ask what kinds of things they sponsor, such as baby-sitting, social meetings, etc… Even if you don't attend group events, members are a great source of recommendation on everything.
Help your children make friends by letting them know that they are welcome to invite other children over. Encourage them to get involved in extra-curricular activities.
Don't forget to let them know that you care about their feelings. Invite them to talk about their activities, their friends, their fears and their concerns.
Share some of your own concerns so they will know that they are not the only one feeling unsettled by all the adjustments.