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Helping Kids Adjust After a Move
|After a move is over, adults can finally begin to lower their stress levels, but for kids (especially young ones), the stress is only just beginning thanks in large part to a strange new environment complete with a new school and new friends to make.
Helping kids adjust after moving is one task you as a parent or guardian will have to take on immediately, all while simultaneously completing your after move to-do list and getting yourself settled into your new community. Some of which goes hand in hand.
Set up their room
In addition to unpacking important rooms first in your home such as the bathrooms and the kitchen, your children's rooms need to be tackled as soon as possible in order to help them settle.
If your child is old enough, have them help you with this task.
If they're not, take on the job yourself and surround these younger kids with familiar stimuli (including their favourite toys) to help them begin to adjust to the strange and confusing place that is their new home.
Children -- along with adults -- are helped after a move by settling into a comfortable routine. Set up a routine for your child similar to the one you had in your old home (such as a familiar eating, bathing and bedtime schedule) to further help them adjust. Feelings of familiarity will help bring on a quicker adjustment period.
Explore the area
One thing that you should do with the assistance of your loved ones is explore your new community, which will continue to help everyone settle after your move.
- Take a walk through a local park and visit a playground
- Choose a nice day and walk around the town center to see what it has to offer
- Focus on a family activity in the area
- Miniature golf
- A local event such as a festival or fair
- Find an ice cream store or other family friendly place to grab a snack
Register them for school
Of age children must be registered for school. Not only will registering help them become adjusted to a regular schedule and routine, but school is a great place for them to meet friends and make connections in their new neighbourhood.
Have younger kids? Look for a day care or meet up group you can attend with your child. Chances are you will make new friends or acquaintances while there as well.
Sign them up for activities
To further help your child adjust to a new area, sign them up for activities that make them happy. As with school, this will assist in building a routine and allow them to make friends in an organic way.
Depending on the proclivities of your child, look into finding preferred group activities in your community like:
- A local sports team/team at your child's school
- An after school program
- Music, arts, sports, science or any other activity they enjoy
- An event at the local library or recreation/community center
- A summer camp (if seasonally appropriate) may also be a good idea
Let them keep in touch
While it's not healthy for your child to have too tight of a hold on their old life, still allow them to keep in touch with old friends as long as they want -- assuming that it does not interfere with the new life they're building.
- Allow them to stay in touch with former friends through email
- Help them mail letters via the Canadian Post
- Arrange for phone time
- Look into setting up an in-between meeting point with friends or a visit to your old area
Talk about their feelings
In order to determine that your child is adjusting well after your move, talk to them about their emotions. Are they feeling happy in their new home? Sad? Do they miss their old friends? Have they made new friends?
Work together to fix these problems in a way that is beneficial to all family members.
Most importantly, give your child time to adjust. Just as you can't immediately adjust to a new neighbourhood or cure your own homesickness, trying to settle in will not be immediate for your kids either. Patience is a virtue for a reason and adjustment will come in time.