You might feel excited about the move, maybe a better house or area, but do your children feel the same? Children aren’t as used to change as adults and this could be a huge step for them. They may feel worried about leaving their friends behind and having to start again or being the new person at school. Here are some tips from parents who have moved house themselves…
- Change is to be expected. You can’t avoid it, but you can help them to cope with it.
- Think about the impact this is having on your child. Remember that whilst you might be excited about the move they might not be. Try not to feel too annoyed if they don’t share your enthusiasm but try and work out why they feel sad about leaving their old life behind.
- Offer lots of reassurance and take time to talk. If they open up about how they feel don’t put down what they say even if you do think it is petty. Their life experience will be limited compared to yours and this could feel overwhelming for them. Knowing that you will listen to them and be there for them is important for now and the future.
- They may be worried about starting a new school. Be aware of this as the countdown to the new term begins. Children often act out their feelings showing signs of stress or frustration.
- Get the children involved in the new house so they can start to feel like it is their home. Painting their bedroom or giving their furniture a make over can be done without spending lots of money.
- Introducing yourself to your neighbours can give you an idea of what other children live locally, what school they go to and their ages. If your child is shy, you might want to invite a family over for a BBQ rather than try and force friendships for your children. In a relaxed environment children are likely to mix by themselves.
- If children come to play for the first time plan something fun for them so that everyone has a good experience. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself though and remember to keep it simple - a game of football or painting. Activities will help with any shyness or awkwardness at the beginning.
- If possible, invite your child’s old friends round for tea or a sleep over.
- If you have teenagers be patient with them as they come to terms with the changes. They may want to spend lots of time on the computer talking to old friends – remember messaging is just like past generations spending all their time on the phone, only cheaper! As long as they are being safe online let them keep in touch with old friends.
- Schools usually allow new pupils to look round and spend time before the move. If you haven’t been able to do this it may be worth doing a couple of trial runs to school in the holidays so they are more familiar with the journey and the school.
- Most areas have play schemes and clubs in the holidays such as football and drama clubs. Look at different options for the school holidays as your child will be able to meet children and make friends before they start school.
- Once they build friendships take a step back and let them get on with it.
- When your child starts the new term stay in touch with the school so you can get a feel for how well they are settling in.
- Look at ways you can get to know people in your new community too. This will help your child see that you also have to make new friends. This will take some of the pressure off them as they’ll see that they’re not the only ones who have to get used to the changes.