Your family may be accustomed to moving or it may be your first move. Regardless of how many you’ve been through, it’s never easy. Still, you learn from experience what to expect and how to help your family deal better with the transition. Here are some ideas that will aid you:
1) Talk About the Move: As a family, talk about when the move will happen, where it will happen, the pros and cons of the move and why you are moving. Allow everyone in the family a chance to ask questions, voice concerns and discuss them. In the end, the parents make the decisions, but letting the kid(s) express themselves shows them that they are important.
2) It is OK not to be OK: Moving is a transition that can be difficult for both children and adults. Allow a time to grieve and go through the emotions of leaving the familiar behind. Don’t expect yourself or other family members to be happy about it the whole time. Cry and be upset for a time. Try not to stay that way for an extended period of time, but give yourself a day or a week or so to process the change in your life.
3) Find the Familiar: Many areas and even countries have similarities. It might be a restaurant, a store, a church, or an amusement park that is the same in both your old area and your new. Often those places give a sense of continuity and familiarity.
4) Look for Adventure: There are so many amazing things to discover, no matter where you live. It can be a new park, zoo, museum, amusement park, landmark, etc. Make a bucket list of all the things you want to do there. When you have an adventure to look forward to, it makes the whole experience something to be excited about.
5) Stay Connected: In this day and age, it is not difficult to stay connected to those you leave behind. You can use Facebook, Skype, texting, phone calls, letters, e-mail and so much more to stay connected with your friends. You can also make a friend scrapbook for yourself or for your children, to remember all the good times you had.
6) Remember Character Strengths: If someone in the family is outgoing, remind them of that strength. Maybe your child is shy; you can point out reasons why people would want to get to know them and encourage them to try to push themselves to open up. It doesn’t have to be drastic – maybe a simple smile to someone new. Moves can be challenging on self-esteem and trying to accentuate the positive traits in everyone (including yourself) helps give the needed boost.
7) Connect to the New Community: Get involved in sports, exercise groups, theater, a service organization, church, etc. Find a group that has common interests and get involved with them. It makes transitioning to a new area much easier when you find at least one friend. Getting involved in a group that likes the same things as you is a great way to find a friend.
8) Bring Comfort Items: For a child, it might be their favorite stuffed animal or toy that they want with them when moving out. An adult might like a book that makes them happy or a favorite outfit that makes them feel good, or simply a favorite game that helps them relax. Whatever helps each person in the family to escape and find their happy place is important enough to bring during the move. We all have something that helps us in difficult times.
9) Prize: Whenever you do something challenging, it helps to have a reward at the end. Maybe you could promise the kids a trampoline at the new place or a new game. Whatever will provide something to look forward to; a prize to mark the end of the move and the beginning of the latest adventure.
10) Attitude: This can be the hardest part of moving, especially if you do not want to move. Yet, trying to have a positive attitude and finding things to be happy about, really helps. When you focus on the negative, it is hard to overcome that downward spiral of emotions. Instead find something new each day to be grateful for. If you need to, write them down and watch that list grow along with an improvement in your attitude.
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