Moving to a new community and school may produce stress and anxiety for your child. Moving away from friends, familiar surrounding and being introduced to a new school can be difficult. The cause of stress can vary according to the age of the children. Younger children who are in the process of exploring their independence from their parents and are adjusting to new peer groups may find themselves returning to a dependent relationship with their parents. Older children have more difficulty leaving close friends and peers and may repeatedly protest the move. Some ask to move in with friends in their hometown to complete the school year.
Signs of depression or distress should be monitored. If deemed necessary, consult with your family physician or pediatrician. They may be able to assist or provide referrals for physicians in your new location.
Some of the following steps may be taken to make the relocation easier for your children.
- Talk openly with your children well before the move takes place, explaining all of the details of the move and why the move must take place.
- Get information on your new town or city, including schools and children’s programs, and discuss them with your children.
- Create a pen-pal package for your children and their special friends with addressed, pre-stamped envelopes, stickers and markers. For older children, e-mail is a great way to keep in touch.
- Discuss advantages of the new location with your children according to their interests, such as nearby amusement parks, museums, zoos, etc.
- If possible, take your children on a tour of your new town or city and home before the move to acquaint them with their new surroundings.
- Discuss decorating ideas for your child’s new room including a memory door. Compile favorite photographs from family and friends from the location you are leaving and plan to decorate a door in your child’s room with the photos.
- Pay attention to what your children have to say about the move and address their concerns.
- Keep to your child’s daily routines as closely as possible.
- Don’t pack your child’s favorite belongings until the last minute.
- Once you have arrived in your new community, visit your child’s school to speak with his or her councilor about orienting your child to the new school and school programs. Advise the councilor of any special interests of the child and ask for recommended clubs or programs.