Helping Children Cope with Moving and Changing Schools

girl with back pack going to school
Photo by Chinnapong/Shutterstock

There are some memories that many of us will never forget regardless of how old we become. Some of them are wonderful memories such as our first sleepovers with friends or finally being old enough to help Mom or Dad with a certain task. However, some of them are more difficult, such as leaving childhood friends and moving to a new school.

Moving is never easy, even as an adult. But as a child, it can be a very traumatic and life-changing experience. After all, they are leaving nearly everything they have ever known, from the safe space they’ve come to call home to the streets they recognize and the friends they have made. On top of leaving everything, kids are thrown into a completely new situation where they have to learn the terrain, make friends, and build a whole new sense of home.

Helping children cope with moving, changing schools, and making new friends is no easy task as a parent. However, working to help your child adapt quickly and effectively can be one of the most important aspects of getting through a move.

Building a Positive Outlook

For many young kids, the idea of moving may be a concept they don’t quite grasp yet. You are likely to get a lot of questions that are meant to help them build an understanding of what is really happening. Try to patiently and honestly answer these questions the best you can.

No, we are not keeping this house too.

Yes, we will take your bed and your favorite stuffed animal.

Grandma may not get to see us every day, but Mommy and Daddy will still be here.

Young children can pick up on all of our anxieties, so strive to keep the idea of moving fun for them and focus on building a positive outlook. For instance, tell them at least three things that will be better because of the move that they can look forward to. If possible, try to take them to the new house before moving in.

Building a positive outlook doesn’t necessarily mean disregarding the very real feelings of sadness your child might feel though. Announce the move as soon as is reasonable so they have time to start adjusting to the idea too. When it comes to getting ready for the move, strive to involve the kids in every part of the process and make plenty of time for some additional comfort when they need it.

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Adapting to Change

Adapting to the change can be a real struggle for many kids. Perhaps the biggest factor is leaving behind friends and starting over. This is especially true if your kid is starting at a new school. Making friends will take time and, for the most part, your child is just going to strive to fit in the best they can. Help your child by familiarizing yourself with the new school district as early as possible and being there to support them as much as possible.

Although moving entails leaving friends and making new ones, it does’t necessarily mean forgetting all about the ones being left behind. In our world of technology, it doesn’t mean they won’t see friends from the old place anymore. For instance, you can help your kids stay in contact with their friends by setting up an email address they can use, allowing them to video call friends, and even setting up online birthday parties.

Helping your child cope with moving isn’t always going to be easy. The big things to remember are to fill them in on relevant information early in the process, keep them involved, build a positive outlook, and support them as much as possible.

positive affirmations
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Sam Bowman writes about families, wellness, and how the two merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the Internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

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