Page header image

Moving: Help Your Child Adjust

________________________________________________________________________

KEY POINTS

  • While moving can often be exciting, it can also mean leaving a familiar home, school, and neighborhood, and saying good-bye to best friends and schoolmates.
  • You can help your child by preparing before the move and helping him or her get more comfortable after the move.
  • If your child doesn’t seem to be adjusting after a few months, talk with a healthcare provider or school counselor.

________________________________________________________________________

Most children will move at least once during their childhood. While moving can often be exciting, it can also mean leaving a familiar home, school, and neighborhood, and saying good-bye to best friends and schoolmates. Even a short-distance move can be hard for your child. If you have more than one child, each of them may react differently to the move.

The following hints can help make the move easier for your child.

  1. Involve your child in the move as much as possible.

    Talk about the move ahead of time so he or she can get used to the idea. Your child gains control over the scary unknown by helping with move-related activities. For example, have your child help you pick out new wallpaper or the color of paint for his or her new bedroom. Have your child pack and label a box of favorite belongings. Pack your child’s things late in the moving process. Let him or her open the box as soon as you arrive in your new home.

    Set up your child’s room first. Spending the night in his or her own bed helps your child feel more comfortable. Try to keep a normal schedule for usual activities like meals and bedtime.

  2. Help your child get to know the community before you move.

    Distance permitting, drive to your new home and neighborhood a few times before you move. If you can’t visit, show your child where you’ll be living on a map or read about it on a website. Subscribe to a local newspaper. Call the Chamber of Commerce for pamphlets about your new community. Make a video or start a scrapbook with pictures of your new home, yard, child's room, school, and playground.

    Visit the new school and meet the teacher before your child’s first day. If your child will ride a bus to school, drive the same route the bus will take so it feels familiar. If you live close to school, walk with your child to and from school several times before the first day of school.

  3. Hold on to some links to the past.

    Help your child create an address book for friends. Encourage him or her to call, email, or send cards to old playmates. Arrange phone calls or play dates. Skype or FaceTime can be a good way to stay in touch with friends and family who are far away.

    Host a farewell party and take lots of pictures.

    Invite friends to visit over school vacation. If your child is a teen and will miss the prom or homecoming, see if he or she can return for the event.

  4. Read books together about other children who have moved to a new house.

    Ask for help finding books about moving at your local bookstore or library. As you read the book with your child, talk about the problems and concerns of the book's main character. Some moving companies also have special pamphlets and coloring books for children.

  5. Talk over family feelings about the move.

    Openly talk about feelings of sadness and loss as well as what is good about the move. Ask what worries your child and what excites him or her about moving. Be a good listener and let your child talk about his or her feelings. Let your child know it’s understandable to feel nervous about meeting new kids, attending a new school, and becoming familiar with a new environment. Point out the positives. Also let your child know you will be willing to help him or her deal with any concerns and problems that arise.

    It will take a while to adjust and feel settled again. It helps to spend time together as a family, do things together, and support each other. Be sure to give your child hugs and tell him or her, "I love you." During all the changes of a move, your child will feel more secure knowing your love has not changed.

  6. Once you move, get involved.

    Moving can be a great chance to learn about a new neighborhood, city, or even a new country and culture. Get to know parents with children the same age as your child. Join a family-oriented community center. If your child is interested, let him or her join a scouting group or sports team. Explore museums, amusement parks, or other fun places. Search out music, sports, or dance programs. Look for ways to help your child feel comfortable and accepted. Encourage him or her to bring new friends home.

If your child doesn’t seem to be adjusting after a few months, talk with a healthcare provider or school counselor.

Developed by Change Healthcare.
Pediatric Advisor 2019.4 published by Change Healthcare.
Last modified: 2019-09-17
Last reviewed: 2019-09-16
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2018 Change Healthcare LLC and/or one of its subsidiaries
Page footer image