How to make mov­ing eas­ier for chil­dren

Lesotho Times - - Property -

WHILE there are many ex­cit­ing aspects about mov­ing to a new home, the move it­self can be a very stress­ful process, par­tic­u­larly for the chil­dren. A change in rou­tine and pos­si­ble life­style can bring about fear and anx­i­ety in chil­dren, es­pe­cially if they are not fully pre­pared for what is about to hap­pen.

This is ac­cord­ing to Adrian Goslett, re­gional di­rec­tor and CEO of RE/MAX of South­ern Africa, who says in­ter­na­tional psy­cho­log­i­cal stud­ies say a child may be­come sullen or act out in anger, both of which could be signs of de­pres­sion.

Goslett says al­though mov­ing can be an anx­ious event for chil­dren, much of the neg­a­tive emo­tional im­pact can be min­imised by the par­ents be­ing aware of the risks to their chil­dren and deal­ing with the process in a pos­i­tive man­ner.

“It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that while mov­ing can be stress­ful, not all moves are bad moves. Mov­ing can be a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence, pro­vided par­ents can keep their chil­dren’s anx­i­ety lev­els as low as pos­si­ble.”

The rea­son for the move has a lot to do with how much stress is in­volved in the process. If the move is due to the fam­ily up­grad­ing to a larger home or a bet­ter neigh­bour­hood, there will be far less emo­tional up­heaval than if the rea­son for the move is be­cause of a loss of in­come or the loss of a fam­ily unit, says Goslett.

“An­other fac­tor that will have an im­pact on the level of stress caused is the tim­ing of the move. Ac­cord­ing to psy­chol­ogy stud­ies, while young chil­dren and older chil­dren han­dle mov­ing in their own stride, chil­dren be­tween the ages of 11 and 14 years old seem to be more af­fected by a move. This is largely due to the hor­monal changes that this age group is deal­ing with.”

Goslett shares a few ways that par­ents can make the tran­si­tion eas­ier for their chil­dren: 1. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is key. It is im­por­tant that par­ents make chil­dren aware of the move as early into the process as pos­si­ble, as this will give them time to get used to the idea. Chil­dren will have a higher level of anx­i­ety if they feel as if some­thing is go­ing on and they are not fully aware of the de­tails, he says. 2. High­light the pos­i­tive aspects. Par­ents should fo­cus on the pos­i­tive fac­tors around the new lo­ca­tion. In some in­stances the chil­dren might think that mov­ing will mean leav­ing their favourite things be­hind, so par­ents should en­sure that chil­dren know that their beloved toys and pets are com­ing along. 3. Fo­cus on el­e­ments that won’t change. Goslett says chil­dren of­ten feel most se­cure when they have a con­sis­tent rou­tine and el­e­ments that re­main the same re­gard­less of the cir­cum­stances. Par­ents can em­pha­sise aspects that will not change dur­ing or af­ter the move such as play sched­ules, bed­times or the fact that they have a lov­ing fam­ily that sup­ports them. 4. Al­low the chil­dren to say good­bye. This as­pect does not just re­late to neigh­bours and their friends, but also some of their favourite lo­cal places such as the park. It might be worth­while to tell the chil­dren that say­ing good­bye to­day does not mean good­bye for­ever and that they might be able to visit those friends or places at an­other time in the fu­ture. 5. Avoid let­ting the chil­dren see the mov­ing truck. Dur­ing the move it might be bet­ter for the chil­dren to be at a friend or fam­ily mem­ber. See­ing all their pos­ses­sions loaded into a truck and hauled away can be an up­set­ting ex­pe­ri­ence for some chil­dren. 6. The chil­dren’s bed­room should be top pri­or­ity. Set­ting up the chil­dren’s bed­room first will es­tab­lish an area in the home that is fa­mil­iar and safe. 7. Give the child time to ad­just. It will take time to ad­just and ac­cli­ma­tise to the new sur­round­ings for both adults and chil­dren. Take the chil­dren around the new area and ex­plore. This is a great way to find nearby parks and ac­tiv­i­ties for them to do, he says. 8. Get in­volved. Goslett says the only way to be­come a part of a com­mu­nity is to get in­volved. This could be in the form of join­ing the lo­cal church or play­group. Get­ting plugged into the com­mu­nity will help make it feel like home far quicker. 9. Lis­ten. This el­e­ment ap­plies to all stages of the mov­ing process. It is im­por­tant that re­gard­less of the child’s re­ac­tion to the move, they know that their par­ents are lis­ten­ing and pay at­ten­tion to their emo­tions and needs. They may need to be re­minded that there is no wrong or right emo­tion and that their feel­ings are valid.

“An im­por­tant el­e­ment to re­duc­ing the stress on the chil­dren is the par­ents sup­port­ing and help­ing each other to deal with the change in cir­cum­stances.

“As with most sit­u­a­tions that can have a neg­a­tive im­pact on re­la­tion­ships, mu­tual sup­port is vi­tal to en­sure that both adults and chil­dren ad­just to the move as seam­lessly as pos­si­ble,” says Goslett. — Prop­erty24

Chil­dren might think that mov­ing will mean leav­ing their favourite things be­hind, so par­ents should en­sure that chil­dren know that their beloved toys and pets are com­ing along.

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