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Moving to a new home can be overwhelming for the whole family, however, your children are at the greatest risk of concern.  Whether they are teenagers in high school and have to leave behind where they grew up or a preschooler who is saying goodbye to their favorite hiding places, all ages go through various emotions.  Parents, of course, want the kids to feel comfortable throughout the moving process.

It is crucial to ask you child to open up and and to really hear their concerns. We know our kids, but we may not know exactly what it is that’s bothering them about the move.  It could be as complicated as leaving a childhood best friend or as simple as them worrying about whether the dog is going to move with the family.  When you listen to your kids, it will help you focus on what is specifically bothering them rather than bringing up other things they may not have worried about otherwise.

In order to listen, it’s important to sit down with your kids and ask questions.  By asking questions, not only will they know that you are thinking about their feelings, but it opens the door for them to respond and explain precisely what their fears and worries are.  When responding to their questions, always be enthusiastic and positive about the move with your child.  Moving from a home is hard on adults too, so sometimes we don’t think how they may internalize our venting.  Make sure they know they aren’t alone in having some worry, but focus attention to the great things that are going to happen because of the move.  Age appropriate books are always a great way to figure it out together and open up communication.

By visiting your new community, multiple times if possible can be a tremendous help,  this way, the area doesn’t seem so foreign, and at the same time, shows them that it really won’t be all that different from the neighborhood you live in now.   Find the new gym, a similiar restaurant, or the new park to ease your child into a new comfort zone.  Signing up for a new dance or karate class would provide something to look forward to when you get to the new house.  Let your child lend a hand in the decision making process for things that directly affect them can also be very beneficial.

Social Media today can enhance the relationships the family is leaving behind, it is critical that children know that they can still maintain contact with their old community. With this age of technology, it should be easy for your teenagers to keep in touch with old friends while they make new ones and for the little one to know that their old familiar babysitter can still send them a card or visit.  Most significant of all, is that your child knows that you’re in it together.  It’s a family event and everyone is going to do it as a family. This can actually be a phenomenal time to bring your family even closer together than before.

Rick Raanes
Keller Williams The Woodlands
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Helping your Children to Cope with a Move

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