Moving Anxiety: What are Some Ways to Calm a Child’s Fears about Moving
By Richard Farrell
Special to VanLines.com
When moving, you may notice that your children do not immediately take to the idea - causing them to be anxious and even depressed. Depending on how you handle their fears and expectations, you will have to help them with their moving day fears in order to show that moving is actually exciting.
Moving Blues: The Specific Symptoms to Look for:
You have decided to move and the family has been briefed, the movers have been appointed and the date has been set. No problem so far, except you may have noticed a sudden change in your child’s attitude.
Typically you may notice:
- Disinterest in food
- Listlessness and lack playfulness
- Mood swings and quickness to argue
- No interest in looking for new friends
- Irregular sleeping patterns, and sometimes bed-wetting
- Unwillingness to leave the house
You could probably add much more intensity and many more traits to the above list if you are moving because of a family death or divorce. Counseling may be the only sensible option in such circumstances. In any event, take heed of the signs and control of the situation.
How Can You Manage the Negatives?
When moving with children you will need to continue with positive reinforcement about the families need and/or decision to move. Bring them into the process by giving them a task that will empower them such as having them pack boxes or have them research your new town. You could also ask for suggestions. The younger the kids are, the less resistant they remain, as long as their daily routines are not under threat and are near familiar elements in their lives. Remember that all children like to have their familiar toys and clothes and maybe animals, and that it is wise to let them travel with some of these “feel good” items.
Involve the kids in the selection process when viewing new properties too – let them interact with other kids in their new neighborhood and look for positives as they point out their new bedroom and where they are going to store their toys.
Teenagers will have the hardest time dealing with this and they will need some time to grieve for the old life as well as need closure. “Goodbyes” can be hard for all of us, so when it comes to your teens reassure them that they can still keep in touch with their close friends through email or by calling them over the phone. Maybe even have a going away party where you kids can say one last goodbye and get all of the contacts they need in order to stay in touch with their close friends. Also, assure them that their friends can visit once you are settled in.
The most important thing is to keep them informed (especially for older kids) and to get them involved as well as to get them excited in their new city or town. This involves planning your move ahead of time and expecting set-backs and a lot of questions.