When a parent gets the call that they have received the new promotion or a job in a new city, it brings up the possibility of moving. Sometimes that possibility becomes a reality. It can become a very difficult time for a child to cope with change. A move can signify several things to children, depending on their ages. To a small child, if they realize that there has been a change at all, it would be like a new adventure. For the child, this means new places to explore and new people to meet.
However, as a child gets older than the novelty of the idea of change becomes more frightening. A school aged child may become more clingy or withdrawn; they may have a hard time at first with making new friends. An older child in middle or high school may also be withdrawn but may strike out at the parents either verbally or even in extreme cases physically.
If a child does not adjust to the changes within a month, it would be best to seek help for the child, or a friend for them to talk to. It may be in that instance that the child is feeling as if what they think or feel doesn’t matter, because perhaps it was a quick decision. In a case like that it is either make a hasty decision or lose the promotion. If the child is old enough then sitting them down and discussing with them, what is happening, before they move, is the best way to go about it.
As with everything else in life, the way you discuss the upcoming move with a child will depend on how old the child is. For a young child, you probably won’t have to do a lot, because they may not even notice the change as long as their toys and furniture are there for them when they arrive. As a child gets older than they will need more explanation as to why it is happening and some positive reinforcement on what will happen when you get there and how the changes will affect the child on a personal level.
Perhaps the child is nervous about the new school; if that is one of the issues then maybe take a trip to spend a few hours at the new school so that the child can meet some of the teachers and students. If there are friends or family in that area, perhaps you may have the child stay a day or two and accompany the cousin or friend to school as a visitor (check with that school’s principle) so that the child can learn his/her way around the school before the first day.
When it is time to start packing, ask each of your children to help, set aside a couple of days where they are “packing days” and that way the entire household can complete their packing, which can be an activity that everyone can participate in, rehashing old memories about items being packed and what the time in that house meant to everyone. This is also a great time to get rid of the junk that has accumulated over the years, broken toys or toys no longer being used, clothing that nobody can wear, and other papers and artifacts of spending time in one dwelling. After the sorting is done, and things that are being kept can be packed into boxes, then you can order a pizza, watch a video and spend some quality wind down time as a family unit.